070214.Bath, Parade Garden Terrace Conserved with Lime Mortar and Many New PiecesFebruary 14, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Cathedrals and churches, Chisel Marks, Conservation, Gardens & Parks, Ladders, Overcast, Peephole Views, people, Preservation, Restoration, Sculpture, somerset | 4 Comments
-(Above:) Man applying lime mortar and then sponging away excess-
I came across this masonry “conservation” occuring yesterday along the west terrace of the Parade Gardens. Old worn out pieces were sawed and chiseled out and newly carved pieces were carted in and pounded into place with a hard lime mortar. Some of the pieces removed and completely replaced, however, looked to be in decent condition. And truth be told, I’ve passed this spot hundreds of times and never once thought that anything here on the railings needed fixing (–the retaining walls around the garden are another matter, which don’t seem to be addressed.) I think the English should be proud of their conservation efforts, which are much more thorough than anywhere else that I’ve ever seen, but this thoroughness is somewhat excessive. I don’t think its the high cost that proves them prohibitive in other places but the justification of such efforts to mend a chip here and there for a slightly worn public balustrade.
I’m not entirely sure when this railing dates from. I believe it’s part of the early 20th century addition. I’ll figure that out later. The design, I believe, is a continuation of John Wood the Elder’s North Parade terrace balustrade and design for “St James’ Triangle,” which was most of the current Parade Gardens (See Wood’s “A Plan of the New Buildings of the South East Corner of Bath”). The bowls are replacements for where he had placed obelisks (see last image–N Parade).
(The plan came from John Wood the Elder’s “Essays Towards a Description of Bath,” 1749. And the blurry N Parade aquatint is courtesy of the Bath Reference Library.)