Help save a ‘suffragette tree’

Help save a ‘suffragette tree’

Came across a woman yesterday – tying coloured ribbons to the Guildhall railings in Bath.

I recognised the colours – green, white and purple – as belonging to the Women’s Social and Political Union – led by Emily Pankhurst – one of several organisations involved in the suffrage movement.

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A suffragette bow

February the 6th marked a century since women were first able to vote in this country. The reason why Jo Archer was making bows of her ribbons.

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Jo Archer at work on those suffragette colours!

Jo had a bit of news to tell me and has appealed for help through Bath Newseum.

In the past, we have covered a story relating to the Blathwayt family who lived at Eagle House at Batheaston and offered their home to suffragettes who wanted to recuperate from the harsh treatment they received when imprisoned for their political activism in support of votes for women.

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Suffragettes Laura Ainsworth & Charlotte Marsh planting a tree at Eagle House in 1911

While in Batheaston they were encouraged to plant a tree in the grounds. There were sixty planted but this historic arboretum made way for a housing estate in 1960 and only one towering Austrian pine remains.

That is in the garden of a lady who has spent more than two thousand pounds of her own money over the years looking after it. Now, says Jo, Eileen Paddock is retired and is looking for help.

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Jo took this picture of the solitary suffragette tree

‘The Parish Council have been advised that it would be illegal for them to contribute to the cost of managing it – unless Eileen signs over title to her garden!’ – says Jo.

Jo has set up a GoFund page and distributed it on Facebook in the hope of creating a fund to keep the tree alive.

You can reach it via https://www.gofundme.com/6k47sy-the-sufferage-tree

 

Letting history take root.

Letting history take root.

Bath is a city of trees and this is certainly the time of year to view them at their best. However, while London Planes may tower above The Circus, there are three much more humbles tree specimens currently pleasing one local lady.

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Audrey’s still a volunteer greeting visitors to Bath Abbey.

Audrey Woods is a great lover of Bath’s history and heritage. She has just retired after forty years as a member of the Mayor of Bath’s Corps of Honorary Guides and has always enjoyed telling people about the city’s Georgian and Roman past.

Tours that have often involved pointing out some of the many brass plaques above doorways which indicate where some of the big names of history may have lived or visited.

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An example of a commemorative plaque erected to mark the home of Elizabeth Linley.

Not all the plaques are quite so grand. Three much more modest examples lie in front of three trees planted to remember a group of  early 20th century visitors who helped make history –  by standing up and fighting for their rights.

We’re talking about the Suffragette Movement which campaigned for votes for women in the years leading up to the First World War.

Bath was not a major centre of protest and had little of the activist displays seen in London and other cities but it did play its part in helping some of the women involved in this fight for equal voting rights.

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Rose Lamartine Yates planting a tree with Annie Kenney looking on, taken by Col Linley Blathwayt of Eagle House, 1909 © bathintime.co.uk

Audrey told me about the Blathwayt family – who lived at Eagle House in Batheaston – and who offered their home to suffragettes who wanted to recuperate from the harsh treatment they received when imprisoned for their political activism in support of votes for women.

Many of them were force-fed when on hunger strike to protest against their conditions.

At Eagle House the suffragettes were encouraged to plant a tree in the grounds. There were sixty planted but this historic arboretum made way for a housing estate in 1960 – although one towering Austrian Pine does remain.

A view of the arboretum at Eagle House 1909. © Bath in Time

Audrey said that former B&NES Councillor and Heritage Champion Bryan Chalker – having found out about the story – had helped arrange to have     three new trees planted – back in 2011 – to commemorate the suffragettes at Eagle House. They were sited in Alice Park, Royal Victoria Park and Bath Spa University.

Since then Audrey has been keen to ensure the saplings and their story was not forgotten.

She had no idea if the tree at Bath Spa University was still alive, was unhappy about the condition of the tree in Victoria Park and worried about wire encasing the fir in Alice Park.

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The tree in Victoria Park has been moved to a more prominent site but Audrey took this photograph while the plaque was still in the old position.”I found it very moving – last December – when l found someone had taken time and trouble to find a sliver of wood and write. ‘Thank you ladies’ on it “. © Audrey Woods

This week her concerns have been laid to rest. She took a tour of the three sites with the Mayor of Bath, Cllr Paul Crossley and last year’s Mayor, Cllr Will Sandry.

The tree in Victoria Park has been moved to a new, more prominent, site at the entrance to the Botanic Garden – where it has pride of place.

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The commemorative tree at Bath Spa’s Newton Park campus. © Audrey Woods

The tree at Newton Park is in fine health  and, at Alice Park,  Audrey only allowed the Mayor and former Mayor to pose for a picture after she’d ensured the plaque – in front of the young fir – had been polished. A friend called Joy Roberts had seen to that!

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L to R. The Mayor of Bath, Cllr Paul Crossley and former Mayor, Cllr Will Sandry with the tree at Alice Park. Complete with shiny brass plaque and NO wire enclosure. © Audrey Woods

Pavement protest by Bath pro-Europe group.

Pavement protest by Bath pro-Europe group.

A pavement protest outside Bath’s Bailbrook House Hotel greeted the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd MP, when she arrived to speak at a local conservatives dinner at the Batheaston-based venue.

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Some of the banners.

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Protesting outside Bailbrook Hotel where Amber Rudd was speaking at a local conservative dinner. Lively protest from Bath For Europe. Pictured here is Klaus Riekemann – one of the older protesters at 76. 

It was organised by members of the Bath for Europe group who have sent some photographs of their protest against Brexit for the Bath Newseum to publish.

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The youngest protester arrived with her father and grandfather.

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Ben urges B&NES to sort out the traffic.

Ben urges B&NES to sort out the traffic.

Bath’s city roads are now operating at maximum capacity – says the city’s MP Ben Howlett – and that means any accident or obstruction within the system is causing chaos.

He’s jumped into the traffic issue fray by urging B&NES  to pull its finger out and take measures to ease things.

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London Road traffic.

Mr Howlett says Bath city centre has seen even worse congestion than normal in recent days. 

In a statement he says, “It is increasingly clear that the city’s roads are at maximum capacity and that any accident, or obstruction causes widespread traffic issues.  I am therefore calling on the Council to place renewed energy behind the Integrated Transport Strategy, which has received cross party support, to improve cycle paths, create safer non-car routes to schools and facilitate a stronger focus on walking in the city.  

I also urge the Council to take the long overdue decision on the park and ride to the East of the city to reduce the volume of traffic entering the city from that side.  The West of England Local Enterprise Partnership received £2.3M on encouraging more people to leave their cars outside of the city and I would like to see these fund spent to the benefit of Bath residents, businesses and commuters alike.

Ben Howlett MP

Ben Howlett, MP for Bath.

I strongly believe it is also time to get on and build the long overdue A36/46 link road to relieve the volume of through traffic and therefore begin to relieve congestion to the eastern side of Bath. 

Plans for the A36/46 link road are already being discussed with Highways England, Local Authorities and the West of England Combined Authority following a meeting with the new Transport Minister last month.  My own petition has now received over 2000 responses and announcements are due shortly on the next steps towards this vital infrastructure project. 

I hope in light of the severe traffic issues seen recently that the Council will take urgent remedial action to address the situation, alongside implementing longer term strategic initiatives and infrastructure projects to bring Bath’s roads back from their current capacity status”.

 

One bit of welcome ‘ribbon development’

One bit of welcome ‘ribbon development’

Cllr Ian Gilchrist cutting the ribbon.

Cllr Ian Gilchrist cutting the ribbon.

The Vice-Chairman of Bath & North East Somerset Council – Cllr Ian Gilchrist – cut the ribbon to officially open a new £890,000 footbridge and cycleway across the River Avon at Batheaston village on Tuesday, 15 July.

Work on the footbridge and a cycle / pedestrian path running through the riverside meadows linking to Mill Lane and Bathampton began on 30 September 2013.

The new cycleway at Batheaston. Click on images to enlarge.

The new cycleway at Batheaston. Click on images to enlarge.

The project was partly funded through the Department of Transport’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund. The initiative has been supported by Batheaston Parish Council since it was raised in the Batheaston Vision Plan in 2009.

Bath & North East Somerset Council Leader, Councillor Paul Crossley, (Lib-Dem, Southdown) said: “This new footbridge and cycleway will improve access from Batheaston to Bath city centre for walkers and cyclists.

“The new route will allow people to travel from the centre of Batheaston via the new foobridge across the River Avon and a three-metre wide path following the river across Council-owned fields to Mill Lane, linking with Bathampton and National Cycle Route 4 on the Kennet & Avon Canal towpath, avoiding the need to use the busy London Road”.

Councillor Caroline Roberts (Lib-Dem, Newbridge ), Cabinet Member for Transport, said, “Bath & North East Somerset Council is proud to open this new walking and cycling route – connecting residents in Batheaston with Bath city centre – which represents a significant improvement to our transport network.

“The route will also provide convenient access for thousands of people living north east of Bath to the National Cycle Network. Ultimately, the Council wants to encourage more people to use more sustainable forms of transport other than the private car.”

Director’s notes:

The new path will connect the centre of Batheaston via the foobridge across the River Avon to a three-metre wide path following the river across Council-owned fields to Mill Lane, linking with Bathampton and National Cycle Route 4 on the Kennet & Avon Canal towpath.

The Council commissioned architects Howl Associates of Kidderminster to prepare designs for the footbridge, which links Batheaston and Bathampton, and provides a connection to the national cycle network.

Together with Mark Lovell Design Engineers of Devizes, Nicholas Pearson Associates of Bath and Alliance Planning of Birmingham, Howl Associates developed a three-span lattice truss arrangement to help reduce the overall structural height and size of the bridge.

The arched tapering arrangement of the side trusses serves to minimise the length of structure located in front of the Grade II listed wall to Batheaston Gardens.

Adopting a balustrade design that uses a simple array of circular bar uprights also helped to reduce the visual impact of the bridge on the listed wall in views from the adjacent car park.

The design of the bridge and the balustrade to the approaches adopts a simple palette of contemporary materials, with the introduction of trees in this area providing a degree of screening between the bridge approach and Batheaston Gardens.

New Batheaston cycle route now open!

New Batheaston cycle route now open!

The new Batheaston cycle path finally opened this week after work on its construction was delayed by bad weather.

The new bridge for cyclists and pedestrians at Batheaston.

The new bridge for cyclists and pedestrians at Batheaston.

The new route – links with the Kennet and Avon canal towpath into Bath – and also involved building a bridge over the River Avon at Batheaston.

This led to the construction of a cycle / pedestrian path running through the meadows and linking to Mill Lane. It was started on 30th September 2013.

Following heavy rain and flooding during the winter months, work to complete the cycle-path resumed at the end of May.

It’s hoped there will also be landscaping and tree planting to follow.

I am hearing an official opening and photo-call is being scheduled for 9.30am on Tuesday, 15th July.

 

 

 

Batheaston cycleway link to Bathampton to open late May?

Batheaston cycleway link to Bathampton to open late May?

The new cycleway at Batheaston. Click on images to enlarge.

The new cycleway at Batheaston. Click on images to enlarge.

For all those followers of The Virtual Museum of Bath who have been asking if l know when the new cycleway link between Bathampton and Batheaston is due to open l can tell you that it is ‘anticipated for the end of May’ according to a B&NES spokesperson.