September 18 - 25, 2016: Issue 281


Pultenay Bridge - designed about 1770 - not only a means of crossing the river but also an arcade of shops.
by George Repin

The city of Bath, located on the River Avon in Somerset, 97 miles West of London became a World Heritage Site in 1987.  It is a popular destination for tourists who are attracted by the restoration of the Roman Baths and the distinctive Georgian Architecture.  It is a famous spa, with the only hot springs in Great Britain.

Archaelogical evidence suggests that the site of what became the Roman baths’ main spring may have been a shrine of the Britons and dedicated to the goddess Sulis.  After the Roman invasion, because the Romans identified the goddess Sulis with Minerva, they called the town Aquae Sulis(literally “the waters of Sulis”).  A temple was built in 60-70 CE and a bathing complex constructed.  Engineers drove oak piles into the mud to provide a stable foundation.  The baths fell into disrepair after Roman authority failed in the early 5th Century, silted up and were eventually lost, until rediscovered in 1879.  The baths are about 6 metres (20 ft.) below the present city street level.  Excavations around the hot springs have exposed Roman foundations, pillar bases and baths.

Working on the excavation of the Roman Baths

Excavation of Roman Baths in progress

However, long before the excavation of the Roman Baths, Bath was rediscovered by London society in the early 1770s and became a highly fashionable resort where the Georgian gentry would “take the waters”.  

Gracious houses, sometimes set in sweeping curves, were built to accommodate them and the Old Orchard Theatre was opened. Most of the buildings were constructed using the local golden-coloured Bath Stone and many were designed by prominent architects of the day. |The dominant style was Georgian which had evolved from the Palladian revival style popular in the early 18th Century.

An outstanding example of the style is The Royal Crescent, designed by the younger John Wood, built between 1767 and 1774 – a curved row of 30 houses overlooking an expanse of lawn.  An interesting aspect of this building is that while Wood designed the impressive curved façade of what seem to be 30 houses with Ionic columns on the ground floor level,  that was his sole contribution.  Purchasers could buy a length of the façade and then employ their own architect to design the house behind their section of the façade.  In some cases what looks from the front like two houses is in fact only one.  The rear of the terrace is a mix of different window arrangements and roof heights.  House No. 15 was the fictional home of Sir Percy Blakeney, theScarlet Pimpernel in the novel of that name.  In the nearby “Circus”, where houses are set in a circle, the painter Thomas Gainsborough lived at No. 17 and Dr David Livingstone at No. 13.  Jane Austen lived in Bath in the early 19th Century.

The Royal Crescent

Houses on the Circus

As one guide book says “Bath is a delight to visit, beautiful to the eye and full of fascinating history “.  

The Bath Abbey Church - sometimes called The Bath Cathedral. The present building dates from the 16th Century.

Photographs by George Repin in 1982.

Pultenay Bridge from the other side

The Pultenay Weir

Previous Reflections by George Repin 

The Nineteen Thirties  Remembering Rowe Street  The Sydney Push  Saturday Night at the Movies  Shooting Through Like A Bondi Tram  A Stop On The Road To Canberra  City Department Stores - Gone and Mostly Forgotten  An Australian Icon - thanks to Billy Hughes  Crossing The Pacific in the 1930s  Hill End  The Paragon at Katoomba  Seafood In Sydney  How Far From Sydney?  Cockatoo Island Over The Years  The Seagull at the Melbourne Festival in 1991  Busby's Bore  The Trocadero In Sydney  Cahill's restaurants Medical Pioneers in Australian Wine Making  Pedal Power and the Royal Flying Doctor Service  Pambula and the Charles Darwin Connection  Gloucester and the Barrington Tops  A Millenium Apart  Have You Stopped to Look?  Gulgong  Il Porcellino  Olympia  Durham Hall  Sargent's Tea Rooms Pie Shops and Street Photographers The Ballet Russes and Their Friends in Australia  Hotels at Bondi  Alma Ata Conference - 1978 Keukenhof - 1954 The Lands Department Building and Yellowblock Sandstone  The Goroka Show - 1958  A Gem On The Quay  Staffa  The Matson Line and Keepsake Menus Kokeshi Dolls  The Coal Mine At Balmain  The Hyde Park Barracks  The Changing Faces Of Sydney From Pounds and Pence to Dollars and Cents Nell Tritton and Alexander Kerensky  Making A Difference In Ethiopia William Balmain  J C Bendrodt and Princes Restaurant Azzalin Orlando Romano and Romano's Restaurant  Waldheim  Alcohol in Restaurants Before 1955  King Island Kelp  The Mercury Theatre  Around Angkor - 1963  Angkor Wat 1963  Costumes From the Ballets Russe Clifton at Kirribilli  Chairman Mao's Personal Physician  The Toby Tavern The MoKa at Kings Cross  The Oceaographic  Museum  in Monaco  The Island of Elba Russian Fairy Tale Plates Meteora Souda Bay War Cemetery Barrow, Alaska  Cloisonné  Tripitaka Koreana Minshuku The Third Man Photographs and Memories Not A Chagall!  Did You Listen? Did You Ask?  Napier (Ahuriri, Maori) New Zealand Borobudur  Ggantija Temples Plumes and Pearlshells  Murano  University of Padua  Ancient Puebloe Peoples - The Anasazi   Pula  The Gondolas of Venice Cinque Terre  Visiting the Iban David The Living Desert Bryce Canyon National Park   Aphrodisias   The Divine Comedy Caodaism  Sapa and local Hill People  A Few Children  Cappadocia  Symi Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre   Aboriginal Rock Art on Bigge Island    ANZAC Cove (Ari Burnu) 25 April, 1997  Hotere Garden Oputae  Children of the Trobriand Islands  Page Park Market - Rabaul  Rabual   Kotor, Montenegro   Galleries of Photographs I   Lascaux  Galleries of Photographs II  The Cathedral of St. James – Šibenik, Croatia  Ivan Meštrović  - Sculptor   Delphi   Gallery of Photographs III  The Handicrafts of Chiang Mai Raft Point  San Simeon - "Hearst Castle"  Floriade - The Netherlands - 1982  Russian New Year  Mycenae  "Flightseeing" Out Of Anchorage Alaska  The White Pass and Yukon Route  Totem Poles  Tivkin Cemetery  Krka National Park - Croatia   Tavistock Square and the BMA  Orthodox Easter  Wieliczka Salt Mine  A Walk on Santorini  Indonesian Snapshots Ephesus - The Library of Celsus  Ephesus - Some Places Of Interest  Waimea Canyon and the Kalalau Valley United Nations Headquarters 1958  A Miscellany of Flower Images Gardens 

Copyright George Repin 2016. All Rights Reserved.