070619. 10/46, Thirty-six Views of Bath Abbey. My tribute to Hokusai’s Fugaku Sanju Rokkei

June 19, 2007 at 12:58 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bath Abbey, Cathedrals and churches, Columns, Doric Order, Fugaku Sanju Rokkei, Gardens & Parks, Hokusai, Overcast, river, River Avon, Riverboats, Ships, somerset, Towers | 12 Comments

The series so far…

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The “Cleopatra” in front of Bath’s Parade Garden shore and Hokusai’s Bushu Tamagawa. Right in back of the Cleopatra is where the “Roman Great Drain” empties into the Avon. It leads from the Roman Baths to the Parade Gardens, there it was extended during the medieval period. the short section that now empties into the Avon, right where the ground dips down, was built in the 1960s. The Roman brick drain is the oldest working structure in the city, and one of the oldest continuously working structures in the world. The concrete 1960s section of the drain collapsed last year….“no respect for stones.”

070618.Walcot, History of St. Swithin’s

June 18, 2007 at 12:52 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Cathedrals and churches, Conservation, cumulus clouds, Ionic Order, Jane Austen, Light and Shadow, somerset, Towers, Walcot | 19 Comments

060924.11.Somset.Bath.Walcot St.St Swithins.d John Palmer.1777-90

The former warden of the church, Des Brown and his wife Maureen, wrote the nice historical pamphlet “Parish Church of St. Swithin: Walcot, Bath,” which is available for free if you visit the church. It’s open for Sunday services at 6:30pm and for walk in visits on Wednesday. It also has a youth service at 8pm on the second Sunday of each month. The main part of the church has just been reopened and the crypt space should be ready by September.

Currently, the Parish of Walcot at St. Swithin’s is absorbing the congregation of St. Andrew’s.

History of the St. Swithin’s, Walcot (from the Brown pamphlet)–07013.17.SO.Bath07013.18.SO.Bath

1. Possibly a site of worship since the Roman times since Walcot and not Bath was the centre of the Roman settlement (Bath was the site of the hot springs and temples only)
2. The first St. Swithin’s Church was constructed on this site in 971, one of fifty churches around England dedicated to the Bishop of Winchester (852-862). The foundations for this church are still present in the crypt. It was very small (16 x 21 feet.)
3. Second church is constructed at some point during the medieval era while Walcot is still a hamlet far outside Bath’s city walls, but is included in the city when the boundary is extended in 1590.
4. 1739 Medieval church damaged during gales and a new church, designed by Churchwarden Robert Smith, was built in 1742. Smith was chosen after designed by John Wood the Elder were rejected! The foundations of this church are also visible in the crypt and the original size is marked by the inner columns. Nave was 40 x 30 feet and chancel was 14 by 20 feet.

5. Future City Architect and City Surveyor (and parishioner) John Palmer demolished the thirty-year-old church for a larger structure, utilizing the former structure’s foundation for the interior column supports. The new church was consecrated in 1777. Built to the same length as the Smith church but wider.

6. It was extended eastward (where it needed to shore up a steep slope) in 1788.
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7. A spire was added in 1790.

8. It was THE parish church of Georgian Bath, and the only remaining one of the city.061002.101.Somset.Bath.St Swithins.d John Palmer.1777-90
9. During the nineteenth century, the parish was one of the largest parishes in the country, so it was broken up with the construction of three new parish churches: Holy Trinity (demolished in 1955(?) parish moved), St. Stephen’s (Lansdown Hill), and St. Saviour’s (Larkhall, yet to be posted).
10. An oriel window was inserted into the east end in 1841.
11. East end pews were removed for choir stalls (removed in 1985) in 1871 under the influence of the Evangelical Revival.
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12. A landslide destroyed 175 horses opposite the church in 1881 (Bath is a very hilly place and has the most landslides in the country), thus creating Hedgemead Park. The damaged church was strengthened by tie-bars, and the galleries were cut back from the columns and new supports inserted (except where the organ was. See below.)
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13. 1942: During the Blitz, the east window was shattered by bombing and a new window replaced it in 1958 (the new window is favored over the old).07013.27.SO.Bath
14. 1951 Communion table introduced
15. 2006-2007 a major refurbishment re-ordered the church interior and the crypt.

Notable parish Members

Rev. George Austen, (Jane Austen’s father)
Fanny Burney, novelist
Comte d’Arblay (Fanny’s husband)
William Wilberforce
John Palmer, City Architect and City Surveyor
Sir Edward Berry (fought with Nelson at Trafalgar)

070617.Walcot, St. Swithin’s Pevsner Architectural Church Chat

June 17, 2007 at 12:09 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Cathedrals and churches, Columns, Ionic Order, Jane Austen, Light and Shadow, Pevsner, somerset, Towers, Walcot | 12 Comments

061002.105.Somset.BathSt Swithins.d John Palmer.1777-9007013.23.SO.Bath
Designed by Jelly and Palmer and built between 1777-1780, St. Swithin’s is the city’s only classical parish church, “extended east to its present six-bay size by two further bays in 1788. The central square west tower, circular drum with arched openings, and octagonal spire (dismantled and rebuilt in the early 1990s) were finished by 1790. All round the exterior are giant Roman Ionic pilasters, unusual for an C18 church (cf. All Saints, Oxford, but this has a prominent attic above the order). Each bay has two tiers of windows, segment-headed and round-headed, and a string course at gallery level. The west doorway is in the base of the tower, but the access is managed in a rather feeble way, with shapeless lobbies either side that cut across the lower parts of the giant pilasters, giving access to the galleries.”
On either side of the nave are three giant Ionic columns. The galleries were cut back following structural damaged during a landslide. “W. J. Willcox added a shallow sanctuary corbelled out on the Walcot Street elevation in 1891.”
“Notables buried here include the painter William Hoare d.1792, Bath poet and editor the New Bath Guide, Christopher Anstey d.1805, and Jane Austen’s father the Rev. George Austen d.1805. George Austen, one time curate of the parish, and William Wilberforce were both married in the church. ”
–Michael Forsyth, Bath (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 227-228.

(Below: West End, Rt: East and West End during the Victorian Era)

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061002.111.Somset.Bath..d John Palmer.1777-90

070614.Walcot, St. Andrew’s Pevsner Architectural Church Chat

June 14, 2007 at 8:53 PM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Cathedrals and churches, Pevsner, roofs, somerset, Towers, Walcot | 1 Comment

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St Andrews from BLITZED! Bath At War Designed by Hugh D. Roberts, 1961-1964, “simple, dignified with a square side tower open at the top. The chancel has abstract stained-glass panels. THe exterior reuses rubble from old St Andrew, which once occupied the adjacent large, forlorn green triangular space to the south,” which had been designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott in the Gothic Revival style, 1869-1873 with an added 220-foot-spire of 1878 (the tallest in Bath!), but it was bombed in 1942 and demolished in the early 1960s. The short long building next to it is St. Andrew’s School, designed by Nealon Tanner Partnership in 1991, which “presents to the road a heavy, protective rubble base pierced by porthole windows. A contrasting, colourful steel-frame structure supports the roof, pieced by playful metal vents.”

–Michael Forsyth, Bath (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 241.
St Andrews from BLITZED! Bath At War Below: The old church’s extreme height prominently interrupted the renowned sweep of the Royal Crescent, influencing the decision to demolish it in the 1960s. Nickolaus Pevsner wrote in his 1958 guide to the region descried the ruined church with “big…tower with broach spire…the rest happily bombed. The tower is now also coming down — a blessing; for it was unacceptable even from the picturesque mixer’s point of view.” (Figures 19 and 20 were photographed from Bath’s Victoria Museum’s “Blitzed! Bath at War” Exhibit, text copyright by David McLaughlin)
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I found the two photos above in the book ‘Bath At War,’ and they originally came from the Bath Reference Library. They show the old St. Andrew’s after the 1942 bombing.

070607. 9/46, Thirty-six Views of Bath Abbey. My tribute to Hokusai’s Fugaku Sanju Rokkei

June 7, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bath Abbey, Cathedrals and churches, Columns, Fugaku Sanju Rokkei, Hokusai, Ionic Order, Light and Shadow, people, somerset, Tabernacles, Towers | 6 Comments

The series so far…

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Here’s the West Facade of Bath Abbey through architect Thomas Baldwin’s Pump Room Colonnade (with the Pump Room and the Roman Baths behind) compared with Hokusai’s Bushi Senju.

070606.Bath, Pirates at the Gate

June 6, 2007 at 8:12 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bath Abbey, Cathedrals and churches, Chisel Marks, doorways, Overcast, people, Sculpture, somerset | 10 Comments

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Here in this coda, the Abbey doors are being closed after the procession:
“Mayoral Procession Part 4 of 3: From the Guildhall, Around the Abbey, Into the Abbey
Opened or being closed is quite rare,
but these people out front really don’t care.

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070605.Bath, God Is in the Details

June 5, 2007 at 12:01 AM | Posted in Actors in Period Costumes, Architecture, Bath, Bath Abbey, Cathedrals and churches, Chisel Marks, Columns, Corinthian Order, doorways, Overcast, Peephole Views, people, somerset, Stained Glass | 5 Comments

Mayoral Procession Part 3 of 3: From the Guildhall, Around the Abbey, Into the Abbey
Bath Abbey welcomes The Right Worshipful The Mayor of Bath, Councillor Mrs Sharon Ball — the city’s 780th mayor! 070603.31.SO.Bath
I was going to title this “Take a Picture, I’ll Last Longer” and bring attention to the other digital camera screen in the lower left hand corner but I thought again about bringing attention to that off center screen. This scene is special for me since I’ve never seen these wonderful sixteenth-century doors opened (or looked directly into this fine Perpendicular Gothic structure from the outside) — but note that I am in the center and therefore I got the better picture when compared to the camera screen in the lower left hand (right?). What does that say about me — I live here and I took the prize spot away from a passing tourist (I presume the people near me were tourists since they seemed to only speak Japanese). I didn’t stay in the spot after I had taken this shot, so at least I wasn’t overly greedy….still maybe I should have just cropped or photoshopped the camera screen out. In the end, I kept it in because it fascinates me! I can see someone else’s picture…maybe even before they saw it! Considering the focus of this photo was the traditional mayoral procession from the historic Guildhall into the Abbey, and in historic costumes no less, the camera screen adds an almost anachronistically presence to this composition! It surprises even me and I’m not old. Honest.
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I really love the costumes and the characters in them. I’m sure they’re all prestigious city councilors but something about wigs, stockings, and funny hats really brings out a caricature in a person — especially if they’re English. What I like about the above photo is the total disregard of the two girls in the rear, sitting against the abbey facade and painting a “Pirates of the Caribbean” ad on the pavement. You’ll see them better tomorrow.
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