070105.Dolmeads, North Parade Bridge and Pulteney Bridge Glowing in the Early Morning

January 5, 2007 at 1:06 PM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bathwick, Bridges, Chisel Marks, Light and Shadow, Pulteney Bridge, Reflection, river, River Avon, somerset, Trees | 8 Comments

Seen from the Dolmeads section of Bath, here is the frequently posted North Parade Bridge, which extended the North Parade, the elegant and exclusive street that ran between the Lower Assembly Rooms (no longer around) in Bowling Green and architect John Wood the Elder’s exclusive North Parade Houses (originally called the Grand Parade Houses in the 1740s-50s, and according to one source: Gallaway’s Buildings).

The bridge was constructed between 1835-1836 by engineer W. Tierney Clark, and its original structure was “cast iron with ashlar piers, one enclosing a staircase to the riverside, another formerly a toll collector’s residence. F. R. Sisson, City Engineer, clad the span in ashlar in 1936-7. The bridge continues as a viaduct to the east, with two lodges, 1835-6, in Jacobean style with well-preserved strapwork.” (1)

Built to give connection between city and Widcombe, with an original halfpenny toll charge. It was also “a respectable, safe, and ornamental approach, which is at present attainable by circuitous route over the Old Bridge (at all times ineligible for female pedestrians of respectability), or by endeavoring to avoid Scylla falling on Charybdis and wading through that reproach to the neighborhood, the filthy and odious Dolmeads” (2)
Looming over the bridge is the Victorian beheameth, the Empire Hotel, and in the arch of the bridge is Robert Adam’s Pulteney Bridge.

1: Michael Forsyth, Bath (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 109.
2: John Ede, Special Walks (Bath: Department of Leisure and Tourist Services, Bath City Council, 1984), 19.


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  1. belle photo, avec une belle lumiere. j’aime beaucoup ce pont. les ponts sont souvent de tres beaux sujets

    beautiful photograph, with a beautiful light. I like much this bridge. the bridges are often of very beautiful subjects

  2. Why is a woman crossing a bridge unrespectable? Or disrespected, or whatever the proper term might happen to be?

  3. Nice to see that the sun still shines in Bath. We haven’t seen it for several days.

  4. I’m not quite sure but that’s what prompted me to post this photo with the quotes. It looks quite scenic today but it leads to the Recreation Grounds, which are right next to what used to be called the Dolmeads (apparently a bad area in Victorian times).

    You know Bath is a retirement community. It’s the British Boca. Well anyway, I posted this because I was told by classmates that there is only one prostitute in Bath, and she’s very very old. She probably retired here from some other part of the country. Anyway, she supposedly hangs out (like a troll) by this particular bridge, though I’ve never seen her. When I read this Victorian cautionary tale for good women, I felt it needed to be posted.

    Kudos for actually reading that far down.

  5. Tsk Tsk Tsk! And you believe your classmates? Hmmmmmmmm…somehow I think someone’s getting the wool pulled over their eyes! Or maybe it was a blindfold, LOL! 😉 Great shot BTW!

  6. seek her out and capture her on film!! or i shall n’er pass this way again!

  7. tis true!! but the two are one…..conjoined at the waist. one price, double the fun!!

  8. It’s a gorgeous photo to see the sun shining like that. I love the reflection in the water. The text is very interesting . . . so much history there.

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