Pools Trust is​ back in the swim.

Pools Trust is​ back in the swim.

It wasn’t the best of presents to receive just before Christmas. Cleveland Pools Trust and their many supporters ended 2017 on a real downer after hearing that their application for Heritage Lottery funding to restore these unique pools had been rejected.

However, the HLF held out a glimmer of hope when – at a meeting with the Trust in January this year – officials confirmed that they considered the approved plans set out a really strong foundation for the future of the pools – but there were outstanding issues that needed managing first.

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Cleveland Pools © Cleveland Pools Trust

Buoyed on by this the Trust has just submitted another application to the HLF.

A spokesperson told Bath Newseum:

“Since the New Year, the trustees have been working hard to address these issues. Councillors and senior officers of Bath and North East Somerset have committed support and work by Curo to repair the retaining wall on the site is about to start.
On Thursday 15 March the Trust submitted another application to the HLF. This application is the first round and will enable the Trust to prepare and submit a second-round application which, if successful, will release funds to carry out the restoration of the pools.

If successful with the new submission the programme is as follows:
Achieve HLF approval; December 2018
Confirm project funding; spring 2019
Issue tender documents; autumn 2019
Commence works on site; spring 2020
Open the Pools to the public; summer 2021.
The trustees are extremely grateful for the enthusiasm expressed by supporters and will continue to work with them to achieve a very special facility for local people and visitors. A liaison group of key stakeholders including close neighbours will be established under an independent chair, to work with the Trust and contractors to ensure that the construction period goes as smoothly as possible.
Chair of the Trust, Paul Simons, said: “The Cleveland Pools Trust has been delighted with the re-affirmation of support for the project from its many hundreds of enthusiasts: local residents and volunteers, swimmers, families and schools, heritage campaigners, and those who have pledged to support the project financially. We are determined to work with them to achieve a truly remarkable and unique facility”.
For your further information:

The Cleveland Pools Trust has been running a campaign to save the 200-year-old riverside pools on the eastern edge of Bath in Somerset for 13 years.
The Cleveland Pools are the oldest surviving open-air public swimming pools in the UK. Their rich social history dates back to the Regency period during King George III’s reign. ‘The Cleveland Pleasure Baths’ – as they were known for many years – were opened originally in 1817 to gentlemen bathers only, funded with private subscriptions from ‘the great and the good’ of Bath.
The Cleveland Pools site is listed Grade 2-star by Historic England and is one of only two buildings situated in the World Heritage Site of the City of Bath that appear on the national ‘Buildings at Risk’ register.
Plans are to include a 25-metre pool and a smaller children’s pool which would both be heated during the summer months. A Kiosk cafe and terrace are also proposed, along with full access for those with impaired mobility. On-site works would have been due to commence in November 2018 for an Easter 2020 completion.
The scheme has received overwhelming public support which demonstrates the huge demand for outdoor swimming to be restored to the citizens of Bath and North East Somerset.
The scheme for restoration has been granted full planning permission and listed building consent by Bath & North East Somerset Council. The council is also the owner of the site.
Look up their website – www.clevelandpools.org.uk. 

 

 

Turning the pages at Chapter One

Turning the pages at Chapter One

Michael and Emma Heap at Chapter One Pub on the London Road – once upon a time the Hanover Hotel – have now extended their opening hours to Wednesday evenings as well.

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So co-founder of Akeman Press, Kirsten Elliott, is offering four history talks on four Wednesdays – 14th and 28th of February, 14th and 28th March. Called A Step to the Bath, the talks will examine what it would have been like to visit Bath during its Georgian heyday.

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The first one is about the state of roads and dangers of travel. Not for nothing did people make their wills before setting out on a journey. Floods, mud, and highwaymen were just three of the perils of a trip to Bath.

The second is about finding lodgings, why inns were not hotels, how lodgings worked, and some of the trials and tribulations, from delinquent servants to noisy neighbours.

The third is about the various entertainments and social life. Everything from riding schools to balls will be covered, not to mention gambling – both licit and illicit. And of course, the varied delights of the pleasure gardens will feature.

The last talk deals with the dangerous side of Bath – crime, including duels (and why Nash banned them), prostitution, street crime etc.

The price doesn’t include drinks but there will be handouts. If you want to book in advance, it’s £20 for all 4, £5.50 for individual booked talks, and £6 on the door.

Either email Kirsten or book at the pub. The talks will last an hour – then you’re free to enjoy some of the amazing range of drinks at the bar!

Old KES Junior School now secured!

Old KES Junior School now secured!

Good to know they’ve sent someone in to secure this historic building once more – but it was a  shame to have been once again writing about another architectural piece of Bath’s heritage under threat. Anyone walking in Broad Street on Thursday would have seen that the old KES Junior School had been vandalised.

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The old KES Junior School – by Thomas Jelly – in Broad Street.

A door had been forced – leaving the 18th century Grade 2* listed building vulnerable to further vandalism or squatters.

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A side door has been completely smashed.

This school taught King Edward’s pupils from 1754 to 1986 and was sold eventually to Samuel Smith’s Brewery in Yorkshire.

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You can now see right inside the building.

I  left a message on the answerphone in their press office and hoped someone will get back to me. They didn’t!

The gradual decay of this building has been of great concern. Its owners have so far appeared in no rush to do anything with it or sell it on.

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The building has been secured again – but won’t someone make the brewery who own it DO something with it soon!

At least the building has now been made secure. Adrian Nelson who is Senior Conservation Officer for B&NES told Bath Newseum:

“I have been in contact with the local retained architects and they have informed me that they are aware of the situation and securing the building.

Many thanks for your interest and informing us of this for which we are very grateful.”

It’s time Samuel Smith’s Brewery either bring forward proposals or sell this historic building to someone who will preserve its future.

 

Get out of Bath!

Get out of Bath!

Christmas excesses and New Year resolutions could both lead you to consider a late stocking filler which offers you fourteen different scenic and historic walking routes out of Bath to help you feel both fresher and fitter as 2018 begins.

We tend to get a little city-centric here with so much in the way of thermal waters, Georgian architecture, parks and Roman ruins to indulge in.

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Author, Andrew Swift.

Author Andrew Swift has spent years both walking and researching ways in which you can expand your energies, and enrich mind and body, by getting out and appreciating – on foot – the beautiful countryside that surrounds our World Heritage city.

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Andrew’s newly published book on Bath walks!

He reminds us that his book allows us to reconnect with what was many an 18th century visitor’s most pleasurable indulgence – walking in the countryside.

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The first route in the book!

His book is well illustrated, informative and easy to read and carry with you. Andrew points out that the route maps in it are not intended as navigational aids. A detailed map is all but essential on all except the first four walks. An OS Explorer or AA Walker’s Map should do the trick.

I met him in Kingston Parade – the place all fourteen walks begin.

More information via https://www.akemanpress.com/

Bath’s Viking history.

Bath’s Viking history.

Today l came face to face with a small – but important – part of Bath’s history.

It lies encased in shaped polystyrene – and stored in the vaults of the Roman Baths Museum – but this is not a relic from the city’s imperial past – nor an object from its Georgian period.

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The black patina finish still has a sheen.

It’s a well-preserved tenth-century Scandinavian-styled sword and was found after excavations in front of what’s left of the town wall in Upper Borough Walls back in 1981.

This high-status Viking weapon was expensively made from crucible steel but ended up dumped in a ditch outside Bath’s Saxon wall.

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The handle is believed to have been wound with silver thread.

Had it been kept as an heirloom, stolen and hidden or lost in a skirmish between Danish raiders and Anglo Saxons.

Once upon a time a replica was displayed near what remains on the city wall but now both lie hidden. We have a glorious museum to set off our wonderful Roman Baths and are surrounded by splendid Georgian architecture but there is not a Museum of Bath to display treasures that don’t fit into tourist-driven visible history.

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The inscription reads ‘Ulfbehrt made me’ n Latin. Did it come from one of the finest workshops of early medieval Germany or was it made in England?

Maybe one day the Viking sword will have a more visible resting place but do click on the link below to hear Roman Baths Collections Assitant Zofia Matyjaszkiewicz tell us why the sword is dated to the Viking period. She is holding a replica of the real sword which rests beside her on the table.

 

Chairmens’ lodges sold for £159,000.

Chairmens’ lodges sold for £159,000.

The last two Georgian-built ‘Chair Attendants’ Lodges’ still standing in Bath are reported to have fetched £159,000 at auction.

The West and East Sedan Chair Houses, which are thought to have been built in the 1730s, were sold by Bath & North East Somerset Council, one for £81,000 and the other for £79,000.

The buildings, which were built by the noted architect John Wood the Elder in Queen’s Parade Place, are single storey and measure just 100 square feet apiece.

Councillor Charles Gerrish, (Conservative, Keynsham North), Cabinet Member for Finance and Efficiency, said: “The council has a policy of continually reviewing its properties and these were not part of its heritage estate.

Although these are unusual and historic buildings, they had only a very low rental income and are were not easily lettable because of their size and lack of essential facilities.

Capital receipts generated from the sale of the properties will be re-invested into the Council’s portfolio.  Because the buildings protected by Grade II-listed, any future development by their new owners would have to be in accordance with statutory listing regulations. ”

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The square-shaped little stone buildings – complete with their original Georgian chimneys – are in Queen’s Parade Place. They have been sold for commercial use.

They were built in 1734 – by John Wood the Elder – as places for sedan chairmen to rest between carrying fare-paying passengers in the city’s first taxis service.Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 16.07.52

They were auctioned by Savills with a guide price of around £25,000 each.

 

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West Sedan Chair House

The properties are Grade 11 listed which means – while the interiors can be modified – the exterior facades will have to remain pretty much the same.

John Wood – and his son John – were responsible for some of Bath’s crowning architectural set-pieces including Queen Square, The Circus and the Royal Crescent.

Putting Sydney Gardens out to grass.

Putting Sydney Gardens out to grass.

Let me start by saying that l know the guys from the city’s parks department do a great job – with ever-decreasing funds – but it’s a fact of life that more time and effort is going to go into somewhere like Parade Gardens than a recreational space further away from the main tourist trail.

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Sydney Gardens displaying its autumnal glory.

Sydney Gardens is an historic, former Georgian Vauxhall that is full of mature trees currently crowned in autumnal glory.

You may know that  an application for a major HLF grant is currently being prepared that would help invigorate the space and equip it for life as a contemporary park to be enjoyed by all.

That’s a convoluted way of saying that – however much money they throw at it – it won’t be restored to anything like the way it originally was because life and society has changed.

While the city waits for some good news about a grant the gardens continue to deteriorate.

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Grass tracks show where the mower has been.

The grass now gets cut by the mowing team whose machines go from park to park. I have noticed there is no great attention to detail in some places.

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Not all the grass has been mown. Nothing seems to be done by hand any more. Note the squashed doggy poo bag!

Here is where the mower has been and a lot of the grass seems to have escaped the knife.

They have got rid of the permanent ‘park keeper’ who kept an eye on things and gave the gardens the benefit of a ‘personal touch.’

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A roof garden is taking hold at the temple.

The roof of the temple is weed bound and boundary walls are crumbling.

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The edging to the retaining wall beside the top steps has crumbled away.

Maybe Bathonians should roll up their sleeves and take charge. Silly me – doesn’t that involve taking pride in our community?