In Bath, we rust.

In Bath, we rust.

There’s a good chance those rust-covered and expensive planters may stay on the London Road after all.

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The irony of moving the container when it clearly bears a message referring to the London Road – supreme gateway to Bath – is not lost on me.

Took B&NES a couple of years to take action on a safety audit that had suggested the trees planted in some of them obscured the vision of motorists pulling out from side roads.

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Will the planters now be allowed to stay?

So – suddenly – the trees are ripped out or sawn off – and the artist-produced containers – that were designed to rust and which bear poetic quotes – seems destined for scrapping or replacing some of those unattractive (but necessary) concrete blocks in the city centre.

However, l hear there has been a softening of attitudes in that – as long as the safety issue is addressed – the planters can stay where they are or be moved slightly to new sites on the London Road where there is no obstruction to worry about.

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Crouching down to car driver level. I can still see what’s coming.

Have to say l crouched down to car driver level to take some pictures this morning and – as long as they are re-dressed with low growing plants – l cannot see any problem.

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The traffic lights into Queen Square from Old King Street. The one nearest the pavement has had new wiring added – it seems – to make way for CCTV.

Elsewhere in town today – l am told they have been wiring up a set of traffic lights on the corner of Queen Square and Old King Street for a CCTV camera. Not sure if that’s to monitor motor traffic or human  – but it’s a good idea.

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Is this the new wiring for the CCTV camera.

We need another one in Laura Place to deter the constant addition of liquid soup to the fountain. It’s so boring and not good for the fountain’s pump.

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They’ve just put in a new one. Why or why can’t the people who live around there take an interest too. Is it really all hotels and offices in that area?

 

Bus gates and London Road planters.

Bus gates and London Road planters.

Be warned there is a new camera being installed to catch those illegally using the ‘bus-gate’ outside of Waitrose in Bath city centre.

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The men in the cherry picker are installing a new camera.

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It’s to catch anyone illegally using the bus gate!

Could do with something like that for the ‘light jumpers’ down where the London Road meets the old Gloucester Road.

While we’re talking about the London Road – those artist-produced and expensive planters that are now minus their trees are supposed to be heading for scrap or replacing some of the concrete anti-terrorist concrete blocks around town.

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A planter minus its tree!

The trees were taken out following a report – published several years ago – saying that they blocked the visibility of motorists waiting to turn onto or cross the London Road.

Why not just leave them where they are and plant them up with some colourful flowers or let the local plant cabbages or carrots in them.

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The newly-installed planters being filled back in April 2015.

Enough fuss was made when they arrived back in April 2015. They belong to the London Road community.

Jenny Pollitt, Director of Lane House Arts – a business on the bend between Walcot Street and the London Road – copied me into an email she sent to the London Road Partnership.

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Jenny Pollitt, Director of Lane House Arts.

“I was shocked to read that the London Road planters will now be removed. This much needed regeneration project cannot simply be sent to scrap. The recent removal of the trees was the first nail in the coffin but to think that the planters will also be removed seems a dreadful waste.
As Richard suggests below, can they not be planted up with other plants which will not restrict the view of cars coming out of the side streets? Could they be used by the wonderful community project Wild Walcot in partnership with Avon Wildlife?
As we have been saying for a number of years now, the London Road is an important gateway into the city of Bath – the planters could enhance the visitor experience let alone improving the area for the local community. Might they perhaps be used in projects with the towns and cities with which Bath is twinned?
Thoughts please. Do not let the Council waste even more money removing these artist-designed planters. “

A spokesperson for the LRP told her:

“London Road Partnership are doing there best by raising awareness which is why the meeting was arranged last week.

It is Cllr Mark Shelford (Transport & Highways) who you should be talking to who wants to move the planters..

I believe that there have already been offers by residents and businesses to maintain them with low growing plants. The only one allegedly where sight line for motorists are a problem is at the bottom of Snow Hill outside Ripples.

It is quite ridiculous for our specially designed ‘street art’ items for London Rd should be stolen and ‘planted’ elsewhere as has been suggested.”

 

In all honesty, there is nowhere else for the planters to go. In the city centre, they will quickly fill with empty bottles, cans, takeaway coffee cup and fast food boxes.

Let the people of London Road care for them and replant them. Encourage people to come together and foster pride and community spirit. It doesn’t cost anything!

Bath building​ firm wins Abbey contract.

Bath building​ firm wins Abbey contract.

Bath Abbey’s awarded a multi-million-pound contract – for its Footprint Project – to a local building firm.

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The West Front of Bath Abbey

Work will be getting underway very soon to repair and stabilise the Abbey’s collapsing floor, provide modern meeting, catering and toilet facilities and even use energy from Bath’s natural hot springs.

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The pews in the nave will be for sale next year!

There will be a Discovery Centre telling the story and history of the Abbey and a new Song School for choristers.

The most controversial side of all of the planned work – totalling nearly 20 million pounds and including a hefty grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund – will be the permanent removal of the nave pews.

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Work will begin to the left of the great east window.

A decision contested recently by the Victorian Society who lost their Church Court battle to save them.

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Charles Curnock, Project Director

Do click on the following interview in which Project DIrector, Charles Curnock, talks about the contractors, the fate of the pews, the design of their replacement chairs and his own future.

 

 

Julian Emery, managing director of Emery, said: “As a locally based company, we are delighted to be given the opportunity to work on the Footprint project. It is a fantastic project not just for the Abbey but for Bath as a whole. It has really captured everyone’s imagination, especially the prospect of having an eco-friendly heating system using some of the energy from Bath’s famous hot springs.

We’re also pleased to be able to support the local economy by using businesses from the area whenever possible during the build programme and look forward to bringing to life the Abbey’s vision to make it fit-for-purpose for future generations.”

Wessex Water will be digging and laying pipes that will carry hot water from the Roman Baths into the new eco-heating system. The Abbey has also appointed Wessex Archaeology from Salisbury to work alongside the building contractors to document and interpret any objects that may be uncovered by the excavation.

To find out more about how to support Bath Abbey’s Footprint project, visit www.bathabbey.org/footprint. Your donations will be generously matched by the Brownsword Charitable Foundation. This means that any donation you give to the Footprint project will automatically be doubled: if you donate £10, the Brownsword Charitable Foundation will also give £10 – your £10 donation is worth £20 to Footprint! Simply use the reference ‘FPBF’ when donating.

About Bath Abbey’s Footprint

The £19.3 million Footprint project aims to carry out essential repairs to the Abbey’s collapsing floor, install a new eco-friendly heating system using Bath’s unique hot springs as a source of energy and enlarge capacity by creating 200sq metres of new facilities to fulfil the Abbey as a place of congregation, equal access and hospitality. A programme is also planned to record and interpret the Abbey’s 1,200 years of history and this iconic church for millions of visitors including educational visits. Thanks to a grant of £10.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, additional funds from private individuals and trusts, as well as the Abbey’s own congregation and visitors, the Abbey now has just over £1 million left to raise. www.bathabbey.org/footprint

 

For further details about Bath Abbey, please visit www.bathabbey.org

About Emery

Emery is a family-run building contractor located in Bath, established as a business in 1947 by three brothers, George Arnold Emery, Lewis Emery and Brian Emery. The firm is now owned and operated by a further two generations of the Emery family and has been trading for over 70 years, carrying out the majority of our work in Bath and the surrounding areas.

The company has slowly expanded over the past 70 plus years, and employs many experienced and skilled craftsmen and tradesmen. In 2016 we relocated our main offices from Darlington Wharf to Bathford Works where we recently completed the construction of our new office space along with three separate industrial spaces. http://www.emery.co.uk/

About SSH Conservation

SSHConservation are leading consultants and conservators of historic buildings, monuments and sculpture. We offer a unique combination of the academic and the practical, underpinned by over 30 years stone conservation experience. http://www.sshconservation.co.uk/

About Wheeler’s

Wheeler’s (Westbury) is a major regional and national provider of electrical, mechanical, plumbing, fire and security services for both the commercial and domestic sectors. The Wheeler’s Group has a reputation for professional excellence and reliability, built up through more than 30 successful years of operation in the UK. Our organisation comprises:

  • Electrical and mechanical contractors Wheeler’s (Westbury)
  • Electrical and mechanical contractors Head & Robins
  • Electrical contractor Avron Electrical
  • Fire detection system specialist Wheeler’s Fire Protection

http://www.wheelers-westbury.co.uk/

 

Stop idling

Stop idling

 

Gillian Risbridger writes to ask if Bath Newseum could give ‘Bath living Streets’ a shout and also mention their role in a campaign to help cut pollution and improve air quality in Bath.

She would like people to come and support the anti-idling initiative aimed at encouraging drivers to turn off their engines when parked. The next action day takes place on Saturday 28 April at 10.15am at the YMCA in Bath.

Gillian – who is the campaign organiser – writes; “Idling – running a vehicle’s engine when the vehicle is not in motion – increases the amount of exhaust fumes in the air. The anti-idling initiative is organised by Bath Living Streets, a UK charity for everyday walking. 

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The first action day in March was a great success. After a short training session, volunteers – called Bath Clean Air Champions – went out to engage with drivers in the centre of Bath.

Fifty percent of the idling drivers that volunteers spoke with turned off their engines. Many were surprised to learn that idling their engines needlessly contributes to air pollution, and that idling while parked is actually illegal.”

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Local parent Lily Hughes, a member of the Living Streets group, joined the first event, which was held in March. She explained that: “As a mother of two, I’m hugely concerned about air pollution in our beautiful city. When walking with the children we are frequently aware of breathing in fumes from both moving traffic and parked cars with engines running needlessly. We all have a responsibility to do something about this and so I’m joining the Bath Clean Air Champions.”

 

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A group of Bath Clean Air Champions – including Rachel with her arm on the post!

 

The campaign to cut pollution and improve air quality is also supported by local business owner and top vegetarian chef, Rachel Demuth. Rachel, whose cookery school is based at Terrace Walk, said: “I’m joining the Bath Clean Air Champions as we must all help reduce air pollution in our beautiful, heritage city. The more volunteers we get on board, the greater the momentum and success of this incredibly important campaign.” 

Bath and North East Somerset Council (BaNES) has been monitoring the air quality in Bath for several years. It currently operates seven continuous monitoring sites, providing live data on various pollutants. The city has been identified by government as an area where nitrogen dioxide levels are projected to exceed national air quality objectives beyond 2021. Current pollution levels regularly exceed EU legal limits by 50% or more.group photo terrace walk

Gillian continues: “Now is the time to act. We’re thrilled local businesses are backing us, but we need lots more volunteer champions to help spread the word.

Idling your engine for longer than 30 seconds wastes fuel, is detrimental to your health and unnecessarily adds to pollution levels in Bath. Our campaign will help raise awareness in pollution hotspots, and by engaging with people help to change behaviour and improve local air quality.”

If you’d like to get involved with the Bath Clean Air campaign, why not attend one of the group’s anti-idling events? They’re taking place at the YMCA, Bath on Saturday 28th April at 10.15am and Thursday 24th May at 10.15am and 2pm.

For more information, and to sign-up, visit www.idlingactionbath.org or send an email to bathcleanair@gmail.com.

For your further information.

Living streets is a UK-wide organisation that wants to create a walking nation, free from congested roads and pollution, reducing the risk of preventable illness and social isolation and making walking the natural choice. Find out more about them: https://www.livingstreets.org.uk

 

The No Idling campaign in Bath was inspired by similar campaign set up in London. Vehicle Idling Action is a London-wide behaviour change campaign which is helping to reduce localised air pollution caused by motorists who leave their engines running when parked. This campaign is supported by the mayor of London. Find out more: https://idlingaction.london 

Floral cut-backs

Floral cut-backs

Reacting to the Bath Newseum story about flower beds in Parade Garden being grassed over to save money on maintenance, Barry Cruse writes to tell me:

“I gather there will only be one carousel in the city centre and that will be in Milsom Street. Also no baskets on Grand Parade.”

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Last year’s carousel display in Union Street

As former Chairman of the Bath in Bloom committee Barry says he is ‘very disappointed. I understand the carousel in Milsome Street is being sponsored by Bath BID.’

 

In loving memory.

In loving memory.

While l am pleased B&NES have managed to get the Laura Place foumntain working again, regular followers of Bath Newseum will know l am criticial of this pathetic celebration of the ‘waters of Bath.’

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While the present ‘ashtray’ manifestation is nowhere near as grand as the original fountain of 1877 – at least it’s back in action.

However, it’s taken an exhibition which has just opened at the Museum of Bath Archtecture, to make me realise how that imposing crossroads may have looked very different if a couple of other ideas for that using that spot had come to fruition.

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The exhibition is called ‘Building Memory – the architecture of death and burial in Bath’ but it does look at other commemorative monuments to major events and personalities.

 

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Guests enjoying a preview of the new exhibition.

 

From high Victorian cemeteries through sombre war memorials to a peaceful garden for suffragettes, architecture has the power to commemorate the dead and captivate the living.

The celebration of great lives and commemoration of tragic loss has produced some of Bath’s most individual (and often forgotten) structures and spaces.

 

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A private preview evening of the new exhibition.

 

As we mark the centenary of the end of the First World War and the start of Votes for Women this is something that is examined in the exhibition which explores the architectural language of memory in Bath.

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I came across an illustration of a magnificent column that they actually started to build on the Laura Place site eventually occupied by a fountain.

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The Reform Act Column which would have towered over Great Pulteney Street!

After completion of the main street local residents petitioned and successfully raised significant funds to build a grand column – rather like Nelson’s Column in London –  to mark the passing of the Great Reform Act of 1832.

However, as construction of the column began, the residents realised that the addition would tower over the area – it would be 50% taller than the houses – and so they then petitioned for it to be cancelled.

After some negotiations, the column was pulled down and the much smaller fountain added instead.

Then – more recently –  a sketch for a War Memorial in Laura Place – dating from 1923. The sketch was possibly made by architect Reginald Blomfield when the location of Bath’s war memorial was first being discussed.

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Sorry about the reflection but the sketch is behind glass. It’s the Bath War Memorial that might have replaced the fountain in Laura Place.

From 1918 Blomfield has been the Imperial War Grave Commissions Principal Architect for France, and designed the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres in Belgium. Blomfiedl created the Cross of Sacrifice, on which he also based his design for the Bath War Memorial.

The exhibition also showed me the original location of the statue of Peace which now stands in Parade Gardens. It’s a memorial to King Edward V11 who died in 1910. A local committee was created to commission a memorial to him.

The king was popularly known as the ‘peacemaker’ due to his work on foreign policy negotiations, and building relationships between Britain and Europe.

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The statue of Peace in Parade Gardens.

By 1914 the committee felt it would be wrong to erect a statue to Peace during a time of war, and the project was postponed. The statue – by Newbury Trent –  was finally installed at Edgar Buildings in September 1919. In 1933 it was moved to Parade Gardens.

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The statue of Peace in its original position outside Edgar Buildings.

The exhibition runs through to November 25th but do click on the museum’s website for details of opening hours and charges. That’s http://museumofbatharchitecture.org.uk

 

 

Still – on parade!

Still – on parade!

Bath’s awarding-winning floral showcase park beside the River Avon will be showing the effects of local authority austerity this summer.

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Still looking great – despite cutbacks.

Parade Gardens now longer has a resident gardener and a couple of flower beds are going to be grassed-over to cut back on maintenance.

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There’s a bed l understand may be grassed over!

In the meantime – if you want to know if the quill and book forms on the central bed are going to stay or go this season – l can tell you the quill will be making way for one of those new ‘charity owls’ springing up around the city.

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The book and quill – very heavy when it comes to moving them!

I don’t think they’ve decided what to ‘write’ in the book yet.

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The quill goes but the book stays. The bed in the distance will celebrate the 100th anniversary of women getting the vote.

Meanwhile, to continue the celebrations marking one hundred years since women got the vote – one bed will sport the suffragette colours of purple, green and white.

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Bedding plants for sale just inside the gate!

You may also be interested to know that there are bedding plants for sale just past the entrance counter. They’ve been beautifully grown by the Parks Department.

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Don’t forget​ the spring fayre on May 12th and 13th