070421.Widcombe, Stranglehold Around My Neck

April 21, 2007 at 1:38 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bath Abbey, cemeteries - churchyards - and tombstones, Chisel Marks, Monuments and Memorials, Sculpture, somerset, Widcombe | 3 Comments

Bath Abbey Cemetery, Widcombe, Bath

In loving memory of Elizabeth Brooke (December 16, 1846-April 9, 1909)


They just capitulated! I’m back online.

070327.Walcot, ‘Water Is Best:’ Local Industry

March 27, 2007 at 1:54 AM | Posted in Bath, Museums, Sculpture, somerset, Walcot | 4 Comments


Hi all, I will be gone for quite some time. JC of Monmouth has been kind enough to offer to post for me. I hope everyone enjoys spring, if they’re not lucky enough to have a spring break!
061029.018.Somset.Bath.Walcot.JulianRd.BathAtWorkMus.Bottle Filling.Bottled Mineral Water

“Bottle Filling:

“The development of efficient means of filling bottles was slow until the patent bottle closures of the 1870s began to replace the cork. The basic method of filling cork-stoppered bottles involved four stages: putting flavoured syrup into the bottle from a dispenser, filling the bottle with carbonated water, inserting the cork and finally wiring the cork down.
“The improved fillers, invernted to cope with new forms of bottle closure such as the marble stopped, were able to combine all carbonating pump. These fillers commonly had guards because of the constant danger of bottles exploding under the pressure of gas. After one of J.B. Bowler’s own daughters lost an eye in this way, a wire mask was always on hand for protection when using the older type of filler.
“Although there were machines for the purpose, the labeling of the bottles was usually done by hand. Bowler’s daughters spread the labels out on a table, applied glue with a brush and then struck them on the bottles.”
061029.016.Somset.Bath.Walcot.JulianRd.BathAtWorkMus.Bottle Filling.Bottled Mineral Water
061029.017.Somset.Bath.Walcot.JulianRd.BathAtWorkMus.Bottle Filling.Bottled Mineral Water
061029.019.Somset.Bath.Walcot.JulianRd.BathAtWorkMus.Bottle Filling.Bottled Mineral Water
This is at the Bath at Work Museum on Julian Road in Walcot, Bath.

070323.Widcombe, Fell Off a Dock in the Fog

March 23, 2007 at 12:23 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bath Abbey, Cathedrals and churches, cemeteries - churchyards - and tombstones, Chisel Marks, Columns, Conservation, Corinthian Order, Foggy & Misty, Gardens & Parks, Monuments and Memorials, Overcast, Sculpture, somerset, Widcombe | 4 Comments

This is the Bath Abbey Cemetery Mortuary Chapel (Grade II Listed) and the Grade II Listed Jane Weeks Williams (of 6 Claremont Place, Walcot, c.1848) Memorial,
Mini Temple in the Greek Revival style- (signed by White, monumental mason)
“The Williams Memorial is a magnificent white marble miniature open Greek temple raised up on a penant stone pedestal. Four pained sets of fluted columns with lotus and acanthus leaf capitals support a canopy over a draped urn flashed by an angel and a female mowner. The equally elaborate inscription is to Jane Wiliams who died at her residence, 17 Kensington Place, Bath, in 1848 aged 88. One side of the base comemorates 17-year-old Henry Williams, ‘who by accidentally falling off the West India docks in a dense London fog was unfortunately drowned’ in 1853.” –Bath Abbey Cemetery Tombstone Tour, 1999

070317.Bristol, Two Worlds Apart

March 17, 2007 at 6:38 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bristol, Cathedrals and churches, cemeteries - churchyards - and tombstones, Chisel Marks, Flowers, Gardens & Parks, Monuments and Memorials, people, Sculpture, somerset | 4 Comments

Buttresses are great in so many ways in the Bristol Cathedral Churchyard.
Was traveling by bus on Thursday for 9 and a half hours. Coincidentally, I made it to Bristol, twice… This photo was taken back in early October but it’s just as green now. (It doesn’t matter — these two are probably still reading their romance novels.)

070214.Bath, Parade Garden Terrace Conserved with Lime Mortar and Many New Pieces

February 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

070213.01.Somset.Bath.Parade Terrace Walk
-(Above:) Man applying lime mortar and then sponging away excess-
070213.02.Somset.Bath.Parade Terrace Walk070213.03.Somset.Bath.Parade Terrace Walk
070213.08.Somset.Bath.Parade Terrace Walk070213.05.Somset.Bath.Parade Terrace Walk
070213.09.Somset.Bath.Parade Terrace Walk070213.10.Somset.Bath.Parade Terrace Walk
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.
070213.07.Somset.Bath.Parade Terrace Walk070213.06.Somset.Bath.Parade Terrace Walk
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).
Copy of ISON 135
(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.)

070205.Bath, Avian Voyeurism

February 5, 2007 at 1:25 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Chisel Marks, Columns, Conservation, Corinthian Order, Light and Shadow, Peephole Views, people, Sculpture, siblings, somerset | 11 Comments

Numerous Georgian guide books boast of the Cross Bath’s classical origin and namesake resulting from the land’s historical conversion. Although the bath’s hotspring is a natural feature that could easily have been utilized in classical times, the earliest social location feature that distinguishes the bath is the twelfth century Hospital of St. John the Baptist. Cross Bath historian Jean Manco asserts that the hospital’s location suggests that the medieval Cross Bath was either founded with or predated the hospital but that the latter’s location was determined to make use of the hotsprings. The Cross Baths underwent numerous reconstructions and enlargements, before first attaining fashionable primacy in 1663 after the Charles II’s consort, Catherine, sought privacy to bathe in the high-walled hotsprings in an attempt to cure her infertility.
As stated in Saturday’s post in the “Miracle of Miracles” section, the next queen, Mary of Modena’s successful pregnancy attempts at the bath in 1688 and the subsequently embarrassing Melfort’s Cross. This last Cross of the Cross Bath was demolished bit by bit for nearly a hundred years, until it was completely removed in 1783, the year that Bath’s City Architect, Thomas Baldwin, submitted plans for the new Cross Bath. Redesigned by Baldwin in 1784, the isolation of this fashionable attraction had been one of the main motivations in the Bimbery’s (the Lower Town of Bath City Centre) redevelopment but the resulting neo-classical structure with a baroque north façade (now east do to reconstruction) with four columns was ill fitted in terms of its orientation and orders to its architect’s completed area redevelopment.

cross bath1

When efforts to rectify the Cross Bath with its surroundings in 1797 led by Baldwin’s successor John Palmer, Bath’s 1793 financial crisis had closed the chapter on ambitious redevelopment projects. Palmer’s redesign continued the structure’s long history of altercation and recycling by saving money by dismantling Baldwin’s baroque north façade and reassembling it to face east (toward Stall Street through Bath Street). Omitting Baldwin’s rusticated base, and adding a central chimney with an “ornamental feature with the vase in relied, balanced by ram’s head vases on either side,” Palmer then had Baldwin’s Corinthian capitals and other decorative details matched to fill the new north and south porticoes.
George Phillips Manner’s 1829-1830 alteration of the Cross Bath enlarged the apse into a vestibule and dressing rooms by filling in the detached colonnade, matching the three-fourth Corinthian columns with those of Baldwin’s (present) east façade, and subsequently reduced the presence of Wood’s doorway so that it could only be seen on the diagonal. A 1903 restoration removed the extensions and returned to Palmer’s original north façade design with detached columns, reinstating that design’s relationship with Wood’s doorway.
Between 1999 and 2003, Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners with conservation architects Donald Insall Associates completed a final restoration. The created the funky cantilevered elliptical lead roof, heated pool, and connection to their main project: the New Royal Baths (opened to the public in 2006.) The roof’s shape derives from Baldwin’s supposed original plan for the pump room attached to the baths. The bath beneath is the same size in plan as the roof but pushed to the south.

Facts and plans come from Jean Manco, “The Cross Bath.” In Bath History, ed. Simon Hunt (Gloucester: Alan Sutton Publishing Limited, 1988. 2: 49-84) and text in quotes come from page 74.

070203.Bath, Be Careful Where You Bathe

February 3, 2007 at 9:18 PM | Posted in Actors in Period Costumes, Architecture, Bath, Corinthian Order, Ionic Order, Jane Austen, Monuments and Memorials, Overcast, people, Pilgrimage, Ruins, Sculpture, somerset, Supernatural | 12 Comments

A photo from back in October during the filming of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.061007.049.Somset.Bath.Bath St.Filming Austen's Persuasion near the Cross Bath
Here, terminating the Ionic-ordered Bath Street’s (formerly Cross Bath Street) western vista is the Corinthian-ordered Cross Bath, with the John Wood Building of the Hospital of St. John the Baptist as its background. On page 126 of The Buildings of England: North Somerset and Bristol (1958), noted architectural critic Nikolaus Pevsner described the street as a the “finest piece of formal planning at Bath,” and “a perfect piece of design made especially attractive by its modest easily manageable size.” The pictured Cross Bath east façade was designed principally by Thomas Baldwin, completed in 1784 to replace the Elizabethan structure. The Cross Baths have been heavily remodeled since then, most recently in 2003.

cross bath

Miracle of Miracles:

James II’s consort, Mary of Modena, who followed her sister-in-law’s failed attempt at an infertility cure at the Cross Bath and succeeded. Exuberantly expecting a male heir, the Earl of Melfort commissioned and then erected the Melfort Cross at the site, just three months after the 10 June 1688 birth. Descriptively almost a metaphor of Robert Campin’s c.1425 Annunciation Merode Altarpiece, the monument itself was referencing that Biblical subject too literally. The costly marble monument rose from the center of the baths and was composed of a Trinity-referencing three Corinthian columns “springing from a pedestal and supporting a dome, surmounted by a cross with a crown of thorns. Around the dome were three cherubim holding aloft a crown, scepter and orb.” A dove, clearly representing the Holy Spirit, descended between the columns toward the bath, implying the miraculous conception of Queen Mary, soon to mother of a king of three kingdoms. Should this monumental message be missed by the Protestant majority, it was spelled out with numerous religious and political inscriptions, dedications and heraldic shields. An embarrassed Corporation maintained the monument until the Glorious Revolution later that year when the Melfort Cross became a memorial for the Catholic cause. A slow process of dismantling ended in 1783, the same year Baldwin drew up his plans for the new Bath. However, given its expense and quality of workmanship, Melfort Cross fragmentally resurrected around town as decorative parts of shopfronts and in the North Parade Gardens, as late as 1907.

All facts and historic images came from Manco, quoted text from page 65.
See Manco, Jean. “The Cross Bath.” In Bath History, ed. Simon Hunt. Gloucester: Alan
Sutton Publishing Limited, 1988. 2: 49-84.
Melfort Cross

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