What happened to Bath’s planned water fountains?

What happened to Bath’s planned water fountains?

A new network of drinking fountains and bottle-refill points is set to be rolled out across London – according to a report in the Guardian newspaper – in an effort to reduce the amount of waste created by single-use plastic.

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Part of the Guardian article.

Reminded me of a similar scheme launched in Bath back in 2012 – though we only managed one fountain across the road from Bath City College – and that was taken away.

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Th one and only water fountain to be installed back in 2012. It was later removed.

The Bath scheme –  l seem to remember – was a community-led project called Love Tap Water. It was set up by three women who thought this ‘city of waters’ should have drinking fountains so that tourists and residents alike could refresh themselves – without having to buy a plastic bottle full of water.


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What was planned for Bath back in 2012. It never happened?


They were going to install ten ‘watering holes’ through Wessex Water – with the support of Sir James Dyson who was going to design a reusable stainless steel drinking bottle.

It never happened? Why?

Working on water.

Working on water.

If you are a regular user of the Kennet and Avon Canal towpath through Bath you may have noticed a group of people busy cutting back the overgrowth, painting railings and shifting tons of accumulated soil from the offside abutments.


Some of the volunteers at work on the Sydney Gardens stretch of the K & A.

They are unpaid volunteers – working under the auspices of the Canal and River Trust – and currently concentrating activity on the canal as it runs through Sydney Gardens.

Historically, this was an area created to be a Georgian ‘Vauxhall’ – a pleasure garden – opened in 1795 –  for grown-ups! Which offered everything from outside dining to adult swings in the middle of a thrill-on-every-dead-end labyrinth.

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The shape of the canal through Sydney Gardens.

The Kennet and Avon Canal Company paid a fair sum to be allowed to dig out a route through the park and charged with ensuring that what was created looked good too.

John Rennie was the engineer who linked the Severn with the Thames and London with excavations between 1799 and 1810.

These days the narrowboats aren’t carrying coal, stone or foodstuffs but carrying pleasure seekers taking advantage of what has been a massive and expensive restoration of the route.

The Sydney Gardens bit is well-used but was getting just as run down as the parkland around it.


The canal through Sydney Gardens.

Whilst the Gardens apply for HLF funding to spruce things up, this section of the canal below relies upon the skills and muscle power of its volunteer men and women.

This section is being led by Ian Herve who – when not on canal business – is a volunteer Mayor’s Guide like me.


Volunteer, Ian Herve who is leading the group currently working wonders along the canal through Sydney Gardens.

I met him down on the towpath to hear more of the group’s plans for ‘enhanced improvement’ of this stretch of well-used and much-loved canal.



Find out more about how you could join the team as a volunteer by clicking on https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/volunteerhttps://canalrivertrust.org.uk/volunteer



Sunshine, water & cycles!

Sunshine, water & cycles!

We’ll get to the water in a moment, but first let’s talk bikes.

What is it with the cycle hoops outside Bath’s Guildhall. Do the two bolts holding them in place snap or work free? We seem to have lost another two.


A diminishing number of bike stands outside the Guildhall.

While they may be aesthetically pleasing, these two wheel parking ‘posts’ are not up to the job. When are they going to be replaced with something that is?


Two missing bike hoops outside the Guildhall.

Meanwhile, with the spring sunshine we enjoyed over the week-end it was good to see our river cruisers out and doing great business on the River Avon.


Looking down on a cruise boat from Grosvenor Bridge.


Plenty of customers for the up river cruise.

While trips upstream from Pulteney Weir are well known to me, l was pleased to see you can now float downstream on a lunchtime cruise that’ll take you to the Boathouse pub and back.


A cruise down river leaving from Bath Quays.

You climb on board from a riverside path – alongside the new Bath Quays development – where the bank has been re-shaped and re-planted as part of a new flood defence scheme that is also seeing new flood barrier walls on the other Lower Bristol Road bank.


The new flood barrier wall being installed.

Check out www.RiverAdventures.co.uk for more information.


Newly planted trees are already in leaf.

The new saplings they have planted at Bath Quays seem to have taken with fresh green foliage appearing as the new riverside ‘park’ takes shape – one which – hopefully – will  include the retention of an 18th century footbridge found during archaeological work on the site.


The remains of the 18th century bridge lie under black plastic.

While on the subject of water, it’s great to see the humble little Laura Place fountain back in action and raising the spirits with it’s sparkling display of sunlight fused with cascading water. A quick clip snatched with an iPhone.

What a shame more recent developments like Southgate and Brunel Square – down by the rail station – had not thought of a water feature to help emphasise the fact that this city’s fortunes revolve around its waters – both hot and cold.

And – as we were also talking trees – this is a good place to end with an email from John Houghton.

“I don’t know if you have seen what has been done to the willows outside the old Herman Miller factory opposite Lidl (where I worked one summer in 1972 when it was the original Herman Miller factory) Someone has done a really good job of trimming and shaping the trees.’

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The pruned willows looking great on the riverbank.

He sent me an image he took from the nearby footbridge.

‘Definitely something to celebrate, I think?’, he says.

Always good to do that John.

A statue that looks good enough to eat?

A statue that looks good enough to eat?

Bath is not exactly running a surplus on public sculpture.

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The statue of Queen Victoria at the Victoria Art Gallery.

Apart from Queen Victoria – sitting half way up an art gallery wall – and poor Rebecca getting no more than a dribble from her well – the majority of stone figures surround the Great Bath – the centrepiece of the city’s Roman remains.

Rebecca Fountain

The Rebecca Fountain.


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Emperors and Governors at the Roman Bath.


However, the wonderful world of commerce is fighting back.

Never mind promoting water, this little fellow welcomes you at the doorway to ‘great food’ – and not far away, a Regency period dressed little lady looks good enough to eat.


On guard in the name of ‘great food’ eh?

This new kid on the block is promoting the chocolates you can buy inside the shop she welcomes you into, but l wouldn’t suggest trying to bite her.


A statue that looks good enough to eat!

Tempting though she looks, with her Jane Austen styled appearance, she is NOT made of the edible stuff.


Go with the flow for Bath’s future.

Go with the flow for Bath’s future.

It’s amazing to think that six thousand Bathonians turned out to watch when the original fountain in Laura Place was switched on in the late 19th century.


In a city famous for its waters – both hot and cold – the intention then was to have fountains dotted throughout the city – including two either side of the Royal Crescent.


The report produced by Robert Delius.

Money and engineering problems nipped that idea in the watery bud but one local architect thinks it’s time the city considered reviving the idea and offering both residents and visitors a new and exciting visual way of celebrating the area’s unique gift of both hot and cold springs.


Robert Delius is the author of ‘The Waters of Bath’ and an architect working for Stride Treglown.

Robert Delius – who works for Stride Treglown – has put together a 42 page report which he is circulating amongst interested parties and is letting Bath Newseum followers hear more about his proposal.


Couldn’t resist re-showing a fountain snippet from HTV’s architectural series on Bath – Set in Stone  – which l had the pleasure of presenting in the 1990’s – never realising l would end up living in this city. Five years come February 2017!


Those contact details again. To find out more about this proposal and add your comments. www.watersofbath.org and @watersofbath