070313.Bath, Picturesque Eye-Catcher in the Park

March 13, 2007 at 2:53 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Gardens & Parks, Mansion, Overcast, somerset, Trees | 2 Comments

Royal Victoria Park (I’m not sure if it is technically in the Twerton section of Bath) is one of the earliest grand 19th century parks in the UK. It was named after you know who, who only visited the city once, to lay the cornerstone to a giant monument honoring her on reaching her majority. She never returned because she hated this filthy city and all the corrupt and beastly people who inhabited it. Monuments, streets, museums continued to be named after her here in Bath with the hope of luring her back in for an afternoon, so that the Corporation of Bath could spend more money paying for her visit.

“The foregoing observations of Mr. [William] Barron [who pleaded for more evergreens in his book The British Winter Garden (1852)] are not introduced here with the view of doing away altogether with deciduous plants and introducing nothing but Evergreeens, far from it; for in a public pleasure ground, the latter exclusively would be much too sombre and not afford sufficient variety, but that they may predominate in a general and good selection would be desirable for the winter’s resort and promenade, if not for the summer.” -F. Harnham, A Manual for the Park (London, 1857), xxxvii.

By the time the park was first opened to the public, there were 25,000 evergreens and two gates established. The duck pond was formed after damming up a few random streams nearby, which were similarly near the Gothic farmhouse that is dated 1831. The building was designed (I believe) as an eye-catcher in the new park.

Why it would have been labeled “Dairy” in the below postcard probably is due to the fact that dairies typically are old, since they were exempted from certain taxes (window, etc) and therefore were always labeled as So-and-so’s DAIRY. I don’t have the facts on this law, but I imagine it ended at some point but its cultural legacy led to random historic-looking buildings remaining in out-of-context locations being called dairies.

Recently (last week) the early 20th century dairy on Dorchester Street (between the Bath Spa Great Western Station and the bus depot) was demolished for the Southgate complex.

The cannon(s) below are attached to the Victoria Majority Monument. (Talk about a spoiled 18-year-old.)

Royal Victoria Park.Old Dairy.1831.

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