070507.Bath, Churchill House (Demolition)

May 7, 2007 at 7:44 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Chisel Marks, Columns, Doric Order, Light and Shadow, Ruins, somerset | 6 Comments

To the Moon!

Tomorrow they will close the public toilets in Ham Garden! Ahhh. That therefore will be my post tomorrow.
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(Above:) The twentieth century Churchill House office building (boarded up) on Dorchester Street is currently (as you can see below) partially demolished but the main swooping corner elevation has been protected in scaffolding.
Designed in 1931 by local architect W.A.Williams (see architect’s elevations) on the site of a demolished structure that had been built after 1727 but before 1776, its curving corner parapet originally read “Terminus,” an assumable connection to the nearby Bath Spa Great Western Railway Station on Dorchester and Manvers Streets. The steel-framed structure served as the Electricity Board’s HQ from 1932 to 1966. It was also one of the nicest buildings in the area on Dorchester Street. It’s quite ridiculous to demolish one attractive building to build the exact same building in its place in a style that imitates this mock-Georgian since the SouthGate.Bath ‘scheme’ (there is a rendering of the new bus station here) seems to be consciously imitating Churchill House’s “municipal Georgian” (it appears to be a 20th Century combo of Bath’s Georgian Palladian and Baroque Revival–essentially a sum of all parts of Bath’s Guild Hall, the arms of which were completed around the same time as this structure) See more images here.
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There was a petition to save Churchill House from demolition online. Below are the firm details from a surveying project in 2005 (I believe) that discusses documenting the building. In some circles, it is acceptable to demolish a building after it has been fully documented. They used to do this even by videotaping the interior but now attempt computer models. As Churchill House will be demolished to make way for the new bus station, the site with the House’s history proposed the structure simply be converted into the new Bath Coach Station (the current 1960s one is to be demolished with little fanfare.) The site also somewhat vindictively lists the names of councilors who voted for its demolition. There were large protests to save it. It’s all quite interesting, really.

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I found this online:
“Churchill House, Southgate, Bath
“Clients
: Morley Fund Management – CGNU
“Author: Sarah Jones
“Site supervisors: Nathalie Cohen, Dave Mackie, Cordelia Hall, Catherine Drew and Andy Chopping
“The first part of MoLAS’ Southgate project in Bath involved the measured building survey and integrated photographic survey of Churchill House. The Churchill House site had housed a late Victorian coal-powered electricity generating station, from which the original engine shed survived. The power station was expanded and redeveloped in the 1920s and 1930s when the office areas were extended, forming a good example of neo-Georgian municipal architecture prevalent at the time, and this part of the complex was the main focus of the standing building survey. The survey will use rectified photography to produce elevations, in addition to surveyed floor plans, and an interpretive building report. The next phase of the project is scheduled for January, and will include the recording of a former dairy and milk-factory on the Southgate site.”

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