In search of Bath chairs.

In search of Bath chairs.

The return – after conservation work –  of at least one of the original sedan chairs to its usual resting place in Bath’s Assembly Rooms has prompted some of you to set me looking for others in the city.


The newly conserved sedan chair is positioned just outside the ballroom.

Sally Helvey tells me she remembers seeing one at the Royal Crescent Hotel – which l did manage to find tucked under a staircase – and was kindly allowed to photograph. No one seems to know much about its history.


The sedan chair at the Royal Crescent Hotel.

The hotel has changed hands several times and this now rather faded example of Bath’s Georgian glory – sort of came with the furniture. It would be nice if it could be restored.

Bath’s much-loved Mineral Water Hospital – now better known at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases – has its own example – according to Bath Newseum follower Elizabeth Davies.

sedan chair

The sedan chair at the Mineral Water Hospital

It’s a surviving example of the hospital sedan chairs designed and built in the early 1700’s to ferry patients to and from the bath sites.

As if these were not enough, the relatively new Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel has a beauty of it’s own.


The Turin-made sedan chair on display at the Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel.

It’s a Turin Portantina and one of around 50 known to exist of this shape – the fourth most common style surviving in Europe. The chair – made in Turin around 1745 – has a low pole height to help increase  ground clearance to help negotiate flights of steps and hills or mountains.

This chair is on permanent loan from Mr Stephen Loft-Simpson who is a sedan chair specialist based in Bristol. Check out his website on

Please let Bath Newseum know if you spot another sedan chair somewhere else!


Show your support for the Georgian lido.

Show your support for the Georgian lido.

A end of year plea now for Bathonians to get behind a local project that will revive an important part of the city’s history and a once much-loved public facility.

cleveland pools

Cleveland Pools

The Cleveland Pools Trust in Bath has now applied for planning permission to finally restore its 200yr-old heritage swimming pool in Bathwick. 


A spokesperson told me that it is vital that both the local council (B&NES) – and the Heritage Lottery Fund – see evidence of support, so the Trust is appealing to people to please get behind them today (or ideally before Christmas) using the whole of this link to log on direct:^refval^=’16/05632/FUL’&history=f40718c794554c9fb49c4e6007f70d33&SearchLayer=DCApplications

Bath Newseum was told:

‘It takes one minute to fill the form and will make a HUGE difference. (Addresses only asked for to distinguish individuality).

Progress will be posted via the Trust’s Winter Newsletter on the website in the New Year.


Thank you very much in anticipation.’  

Sparkling end to Bath Rotary year.

Sparkling end to Bath Rotary year.

Members of Bath Rotary Club  are celebrating ending 2016 in style – raising £34,000 for charity in the last few weeks of the year – including a record breaking £21,000 from the annual rotary firework display.


A ‘Defeat Polio’ supper and auction of restaurant discount vouchers raised over £11,000 – the most the Club has ever raised from a supper event – and the retiring collection at the largest-ever Rotary Community Carol Service in Bath Abbey raised over £2,000.

President, John Vickery, said:

“We’re delighted to have been able to end the year by making such a difference to charities locally and internationally.  Our polio fund-raising will mean over 20,000 children in some of the poorest parts of the world will be innoculated; money from the Fireworks will be going to Bath & District Samaritans, and the Jessie Mae childrens’ charity; and the carol service collection will be shared between the Samaritans and Bath’s outstanding co-eductional special school, ThreeWays School.”

The Rotary Club’s final activity for the year is their traditional City centre street collection.  Members are supporting Father Christmas in Stall Street until December 23rd, collecting for local charity, the Southside Families Project. 


Several local groups are providing musical entertainment alongside the Rotarians, including the Bath Jubilee Waits, Park Lane Big Band and ensembles from Beechen Cliff, Hayesfield, Royal High, Monkton Combe and Weston All Saints schools.


Did you bathe with a friend?

Did you bathe with a friend?

Just received Wessex Water’s autumn/winter magazine through the door. There’s an article reminding people that it’s forty years since the company had to impose a hosepipe ban.


That was the great drought of 1976 – when parts of the region went 45 days without rain.


We were invited to share a bath to save water. The drought came to an end on 27 August. The driest period some parts of the country had seen in a thousand years was followed by the wettest September since 1918 and the second wettest since 1727.

I thought that was the day l was hit by a low flying aircraft – but can’t find the cutting from the Bristol Evening Post to prove it – but l loved the photo in the Wessex magazine of me, Mike Hastie ( who was at Weston filming me when l was hit) and Graham Alford on sound (also down at the parched old airfield) doing an interview about the drought. Somewhere near a bonded warehouse on the Cumberland flyover into Bristol?

Views on parking policy sought.

Views on parking policy sought.

Bath & North East Somerset Council is asking local residents to complete a parking survey. 

The results will help the Council review existing parking policies and practice as part of developing a long-term strategy for the management of parking within the Bath and North East Somerset area.


The online survey is now open and will run until 5pm Monday 19th December 2016 at

Cllr Anthony Clarke (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “This survey covers all aspects of parking policy, including on-street and off-street parking, as well as residential parking, and will help us in developing an approach that balances demand and availability of parking both now and in the future.

“The Council is keen to hear the views of residents, as well as visitors to our area, as we look to establish a balance between the social, economic, cultural and environmental needs of the whole community. I would therefore like to encourage residents to take a few moments to complete the online survey.”

If you have any further questions about this survey please contact Parking Services at, or call 01225 477133/4.


Come sing a carol.

Come sing a carol.

The Rotary Club of Bath’s traditional Community Carol Service is once again taking place in Bath Abbey this year, on Tuesday 6th December.

Arranged by the City of Bath Rotary Club, and supported by Bath Building Society, the evening will see people from across the City gather to sing traditional carols and listen to festive music from the Abbey’s own Melody Makers Choir, made up of children aged 6-11, and the thrilling Bath Community Gospel Choir.


The service, to be led by the Revd. Claire Robson, will include readings by the Right Worshipful Mayor of Bath, Cllr Paul Crossley, and Ali Vowles of the BBC.

The emphasis on community is central to the Rotary carol service: the carols will be broadcast to all the hospitals in the Bath area, and the readings will be accompanied by sign language, to allow a group of deaf attendees to feel part of the congregation.

 The Rotary club will also be providing transport to enable 120 disabled residents from local nursing homes to attend.

“Our Community Carol Service is a little bit special,” said John Vickery, the President of the Rotary club.  “It’s one of those rare occasions when our whole City, people from all walks of life, can come together. We always enjoy arranging it, and we’re very grateful to Bath Building Society for supporting us this year.”

Proceeds from the collection will be shared by two local charities: Bath & District Samaritans, and Threeways School, Bath’s Community Special School.

Free entry to this popular Service is by ticket only, and the last few are available in the Bath Abbey Shop and Bath Building Society.

Have you seen our Bath ‘by-pass’ ?

Have you seen our Bath ‘by-pass’ ?

As a journalist l spent a working lifetime – within ITV and the BBC – being impartial and balanced in news gathering and presentation.

I still consider myself a journalist, but l am off the fence and seeing red.

Forgive me for now turning to a subject very close to my home but l am sure it is an issue repeated elsewhere in our region.


I sent off an email, a couple of days ago, to Cllr Anthony Clark. He is the cabinet member responsible for transport with Bath and North East Somerset Council and someone who l have been exchanging correspondence concerning the road in which l live.


I happen to be at the end of a terrace of houses that line one side of a rat-run. It’s a narrow, badly-surfaced slope of a street that allows traffic to avoid the London Road and take a around-the-houses route into town – or out via the A46 to the motorway.


At the top it forms one side of a dangerous cross roads – with a sharp turn down the hill into our road. A cross-roads with parked cars  often right up to the turning – obstructing the view.


The route down hill involves a bend to the right so you cannot see what is coming up. Many drivers speed down – hoping to get far enough to make traffic coming up give way.


There is a meagre sign at the bottom end to show its not suitable for wide vehicles but nothing more.


The narrow pavement side of the road is lined with bollards – but only because a mother campaigned for them after she and her baby in a push chair had to leap into a garden to avoid a  recklessly driven car.


Our next door neighbours – who have since moved – told me of running out to see an upturned car in the road and – since we have been here – our garden wall has been knocked down and bollards at the top and bottom hit by vehicles.


I have taken many pictures over the months of huge lorries and coaches using the short cut and have included a selection.


For the last couple of years our local councillors have done their bit to try and get council action. One described his efforts as being like having to push water up a hill.


The latest ‘leak’ from B&NES indicates that there is no money left in the budget to do anything and that is after being promised that traffic calming and other safety measures would be introduced by last summer!


We need yellow lines at the top, a safe crossing point at the bottom, a decent road surface and speed bumps – top and bottom.


I leave you with the email l sent to our friend Cllr Clark.

‘Dear Cllr Clarke,

I am informed now that there is nothing left in the highways budget to do anything for the residents of …………. Road. We are not surprised. I have lived here for five years – come February – and this dangerous road has been a constant hot potato throughout that time.

However, l am informed that particular ‘spud’ has been gently ‘baking’ for something like 20 years!

If B&NES could see sense and abandon the ridiculous east of Bath park and ride they would have cash to spend on the district’s roads. Never mind little ………. – have you seen the state of Great Pulteney Street?

Here’s hoping a Metro Mayor can shift up through a million gears to get this region moving again. We live with dinosaurs.’


I have yet to receive a reply.