070511.Walcot, Lime Window (St Stephen’s Pevsner Architectural Church Chat)

May 11, 2007 at 5:19 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Cathedrals and churches, Chisel Marks, Conservation, Ladders, people, Pevsner, Preservation, Restoration, somerset, Tabernacles, Towers, Walcot | 9 Comments

Right where this metal scaffold pole cuts across those two streets (top: St. Stephen’s Rd, bot: Richmond Rd–and left of the pole is called Lansdown Rd) was the site of an 18th C turnpike.
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These ladders stretch three scaffolding levels. This was the lowest of three. The scaffolding went up the height of the tower, 30 meters, or so. It was also raining hard.
I took the sunny photo back in early November 2006. St Stephen’s put it up early to survey the repairs needed. These repairs are being carried out by Minerva Stone Conservators, who waited until spring for the “lime window.” As responsible conservators, all masonry repairs are being carried out with lime mortar, which takes a long time to set and cannot set during potential periods of frost. Below two conservators apply a dry lime mortar in the masonry joints and apply a cotton-like substance over sections.
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Designed to serve the spiritual needs of NE Bath by James Wilson and built between 1840-1845, St Stephen’s Church on Lansdown Road in Walcot cost 6,000 pounds (*today it cost 60,000 just for the scaffolding!) “It is broad and somewhat Georgian in proportion, and still in the mix-and-match style of the 1830s,, with lancets, but also Perp-style octagonal buttresses. The tower, similar to the W towers of Ely Cathedral (c.1400) or Antwerp Cathedral (1519), is a very imporant visual focus on Bath’s N slopes. Starting square and E.E., then at once turning octagonal, with detached big octagonal corner pinnacles connected with the octagonal, with detached big octagonal corner pinnacles connected with the octagon by traceried flying buttresses; a smaller octagon on top with pinnacles is arranged in the same way. The nave and transept are very be-pinnacled, with pierced parapets. Two-light lancet windows and cusped Y-tracery. The church remained unconsecrated for some forty years until 1881, after which W.J. Willcox built the very wide apsidal chancel in 1882-1883, together with the vestry and organ chamber (at a cost of 3,000 pounds). The handsome painted ceiling, 1886, is by W.J. Willcox, executed by H.&F. Davis. The NE aisle was added in 1866 for the use of the Royal School, presumably by Wilson & Willcox, in a harsh Gothic typical of the alter work of the firm and contrasting with the style of 1840. –Stained glass. E Window, Lady Chapel by Mark Angus, 1983, the ‘Centenary,’ depicting St Stephen’s transformation, on the bridge between life and death t the moement of martyrdom. With distorted ambiguity between pain and repose, the body rises amid red flames on a blue ground. –Font and font cover. Marble, florid Gothic, dated 1843. –Transept ceiling and reredos. By Sir T. G. Jackson [of Oxford University’s building program fame], c. 1900, then working on the Abbey. Slade, Smith and Winrow converted the crypt to a parish room in 1993-1994.”–Michael Forsyth, Bath (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 265-266.

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Here’s the cornerstone to the apsidal chancel. Yes, a Masters of the Arts symbolically laid this stone, possibly touched it but probably didn’t carve or do anything artistic with it. (Perhaps it was his brilliant idea to repeat Grace. *Also, just noted that the degree makes his name off-center, as if it was added as an afterthought, either because he earned it later and had it carved into the stone, or feared it might be taken away so he could have it filled in with his name remaining centered.) I have no idea why everyone in the UK insists on putting their educational degrees on everything. Here it is on a cornerstone. I’ve seen it in books, presentations, and even tombstones. Almost without fail, they also include (Hons), if applicable, or even organizations they belong to (that they had to simply pay to join).
Another thing to note with this CORNERstone is one side’s red tint. There is a local red algae that’s around here and the red shade indicates the colder north facade of this church where the sun doesn’t warm the stone and evaporate the dampness.

070510.Walcot, Congested with Calcium Sulphate? Aisle Five.

May 10, 2007 at 8:38 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Chisel Marks, Conservation, Peephole Views, Sculpture, somerset, Towers, Walcot | 9 Comments

BDP to the Moon!

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This windswept face faces the wet and windy southwest side but it is in better condition than most. Eyes, nostrils and mouth all clogged with calcium sulphate, while the rest of this Victorian grotesque has been jos cleaned. It’s high, high up (30 meters or so up on the scaffold’s eleventh floor) of the James Wilson-designed Grade II* St Stephen’s Church overlooking all of Bath from Lansdown Hill.

070509.Beechen Cliff, Roots

May 9, 2007 at 4:25 AM | Posted in Bath, Gardens & Parks, somerset, Trees | 7 Comments

BDP to the moon!

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I’ve always figured that like the back of churches, the base of trees is often infinitely more interesting than the more prominently displayed foliage out front/above.
(This was taken a while ago in Alexandria Park (previously listed here as being in the Lyncombe Hill section of the city) but I figure if I don’t post it soon, I’ll lose/forget about it. Also it gives a neutral post to try out the new updated Google Maps program. They’ve finally included [Bath] Station Home Band! Too busy to comprehensively retrofit at this point in time.)

070508.Bath, “In the [Men’s] Room”

May 8, 2007 at 5:12 AM | Posted in Bath, Peephole Views, somerset | 9 Comments

To the Moon!

As stated in yesterday’s post on an aspect of the SouthGate scheme, the ‘Ham Gardens Convenience Rooms for Gentlemen, Ladies, the Disabled and Mothers and Babies’ (FIND ISSUES THERE!) will be closed today. The facility used to be free and open all night, well the men’s room anyway. Women, babies, and the disabled were directed into that room after nine. (Why not the disabled room? Isn’t the term disabled mildly offensive, or did they think it was better than infirm?)
070303.242.Somset.Bath.Ham.PubRestroom At any event, I bring your attention to its sink. I first saw this type of sink 10+ years ago nearby and in Boston, Massachusetts. Before the era of sensor restroom technology, I thought it was incredible. Three buttons, or one simple button that started the process, took you through water, soap, and drying. Simply incredibly–a car wash for your hands! I could go on but ten plus years ago I thought it was an incredible piece of design, something I was envious of, and I described it to many a hapless person. Another great gizmo I saw was this wax paper/aluminum foil/paper towel dispenser combo in the “’50s House” kitchen of the Shelburne Museum, Shelburne Vermont. The photo is from 2002, taken on one of my many returns to gaze at this incredible device. I think I may have even written about it in grade or high school, maybe even planned my future with reintroducing the model to the market and thereby getting rich. Will you all at least pay me for these photos? Don’t use the ideas, I still have them in reserve.

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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.”

070506.Windsor, The Bits and Pieces of Spring Cleaning

May 6, 2007 at 3:53 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Castles, Cathedrals and churches, Chisel Marks, Conservation, Preservation, Restoration, Sculpture | 3 Comments

BDP to the moon!

Funny as it sounds, as the Queen’s home complex at Windsor is undergoing some TLC at the same moment the President’s home at the White House has to be spiffied up for her royal visit.070504.163.BE.Windsor.StGeo.W.8L
The repair of the West Front of St George’s Chapel at Windsor is being carried out by Martin Ashley Associates. Mr. Ashley very graciously showed us around the place. Here’s a few directions for a small part on that facade.
*Repair shoulders
*Shelter coat orange stonework
*[Deal with] Numerous cracks
*Replace head coade stone
*Replace toe
*Poultice clean
*Paint Analysis
*Remove from niche (carry out all work off site, often the best option)
It’s a Victorian statue, probably from Sir George Gilbert Scott’s restoration of the place. There are no original medieval statues remaining. The head does look a bit odd, but the toe! I should add that this statue is very very far up.
One more tidbit: according to archival photos, the head originally faced Mary but somehow turned around. (Miracle or need for an exorcism?)

St George Chapel West Front
I just realized that this Madonna with Child is really a mother with daughter! I had to negotiate the angle of the photo to include the head, toe and shoulder but this is a view that no one else would be able to see, which perhaps influenced the sculptor’s modesty. Context is everything since other than the conservationists’ up close visits every hundred years the statue is only seen from over a hundred feet down below. Again, context, why place a realistic mother and child so far up? Mary’s dangling the infant like the King of Pop.

070505.Windsor, It’s Not Bath But It Has A Lot Of Bath Stone

May 5, 2007 at 6:26 AM | Posted in Architecture, Castles, Cathedrals and churches, Mansion, roofs, Sculpture, Tabernacles, Towers | 3 Comments

BDP to the moon!

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This was yesterday. See tomorrow’s post.

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