080528.Weston, Victoria Bridge

May 28, 2008 at 11:35 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bridges, Light and Shadow, people, somerset, Towers | 7 Comments
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In the comments section for Gothic Cottage, Brenda and Robin both investigated the house’s occupants, and Robin in particular reported its connection with Victoria Bridge. Originally a brewer, James Dredge (1794-1863) designed Victoria Bridge near his brewery on Upper Bristol Road. Victoria was the first of nearly fifty bridges he would go on to construct as far away as India. Please read Robin’s comments at the link

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above. I appreciated the link so much, it forced me to come out of retirement.

This photo was taken quite a while ago. Sainsburys is now near the bridge, which has suffered several graffitti attacks. Also, while it may be well-proportioned, its quite diminutive in size (explained by the fact that this was a first bridge its designer built–so more of a test case) — evidenced by a teen in the photo climbing its cables and mounting one of its towers.

I’d never heard of Dredge before I read them in the comments section but I like the fact that a brewer was responsible for this piece of engineering. My own undergraduate school was founded by a very wealthy nineteenth-century brewer as one of the first colleges for female education. The first building erected was massive, intended to hold everything from dormitories and classrooms to offices, the library, kitchens, and a chapel. while it was designed by a prominent architect, the brewer-founder specified that he wanted the building to be fexible internally should female education prove to be a bust and he need to recoup his losses by adaptively reusing the college building as a massive brewery. The internal layout remains that the halls within the building are large enough to roll industrial-size kegs down. The size was justified to the ladies attending that it was wide enough for two hoop dress-wearing girls to pass each other with ease.

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071225.Happy Christmas

March 31, 2008 at 4:37 PM | Posted in Bath, Christmas, people, Towers | 5 Comments

Resize of 071212.001.SO.Bath

070729.Bathwick, Goodbye for Now…

July 29, 2007 at 1:35 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bath Abbey, Bathwick, Cathedrals and churches, cumulus clouds, Light and Shadow, Mansion, somerset, Towers | 14 Comments

I’ve been running the site for over 300 days and I’ve lived here for twelve months but I’m leaving today for a new job. It’s exciting — my first time in Ireland. I’ll return in a few months and update this periodically so for everyone who I didn’t say goodbye to (which is more or less everyone) goodbye…
070627.19.SO.Bathwick

070625.Bath, Elizabeth Ann Linley at Abbey St, Pierrepont St, and the Royal Crescent

June 25, 2007 at 3:59 PM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bath Abbey, Cathedrals and churches, Jane Austen, Light and Shadow, people, somerset, Towers | 9 Comments

Delia’s Grotto, Bath: [1. Elizabeth A. Linley, 2. Richard B. Sheridan, 3. The Grotto for Scandal, 4. History of Delia’s Grotto 5. Design and Brief Context]
Here is the Abbey Yard with its large central tree. The street to the left is Abbey Street (with the Roman Baths in the background) and the street to the right is Church St (obviously with the Abbey behind.)
070114.11.Somset.Bath.Abbey Green

Scandal in Bath! Part One: Elizabeth Ann Linley (1754-1792)

Among Bath’s most prestigious artistic families, the Linleys remain difficult to rival. Father Thomas “was a musical entrepreneur who arranged concerts in Bath, gave singing lessons, and played the harpsichord expertly. His eldest two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary were singers of considerable ability….” Even his son, also named Thomas, was extraordinarily gifted in music. As a talented violinist, young Thomas “visited Italy as a child prodigy in 1770, won the friendship and approbation of Mozart, and died tragically in a boating accident at the age of twenty-two.” [1]

As all Jane Austen-philes will know, addresses translate into social status in Bath. Although father Thomas was originally from Wells, the family had long lived in fashionable Bath, which had enough sophisticated visitors to appreciate and propel the careers of family members. They originally lived on Abbey Street before moving in 1764 to Pierrepont Street, and finally moving in the autumn of 1771 to the Royal Crescent, which was conveniently near the Upper Assembly Rooms, where Elizabeth and Mary sang to rapt audiences and where their father organized concerts. [1] Each relocation to a new and better address reflected the family’s increasing prosperity and social status.

Elizabeth LinleyAfter the death of young Thomas, Elizabeth with her divine voice was the brightest star of the family. The organist at Exeter Cathedral wrote that “[h]er voice was conventionally sweet, and her scale just and perfect, from the lowest to the highest note the tone was of same quality… Her genius and senses gave a consequence to her performance which no fool with the voice of an angel could ever attain.” Likewise, her beauty was renowned, and testified to in paint by Gainsborough. Reynolds used her for his painting of St. Cecilia, which was exhibited at the Royal Academy. Her qualities attracted royal attention when she performed at Drury Lane, George III “gazed at her with more than a paternal interest.” The close royal confidant, son of first prime minister, and cultivator of the Gothick style Hon. Horace Walpole, who was certainly unconcerned for himself, told a friend that “Miss Linley’s beauty is in the superlative degree, …the king admires her, and ogles her as much as he dares to do in so holy a place as an oratorio.” [2] Of course, the king was married and too old for the teenage Elizabeth but this did not deter her vast army of suitors.

Capitalizing on his daughter’s popularity, her father quickly arranged a marriage between her to a Mr. Walter Long, who apparently was a very rich and very elderly gentleman, but not much else. Perhaps sensing the game was up, the age difference, his own mortality, her disinterest (and possible interest elsewhere), Mr. Long withdrew from the engagement a few months later but compensated her with 1000 pounds worth of jewelry and 3000 pounds sterling. Gossip about a possible scandal began, which eventually spawned Samuel Foote’s play The Maid of Bath, playfully satirizing her failed engagement and emotional problems. [3]

Subsequently, Elizabeth became very depressed…but who would come to lift her spirits…and herself out of the country? Find out tomorrow!


[1] William Lowndes, Royal Crescent in Bath: A Fragment of English Life (Bristol, The Redcliffe Press, 1981), 35.
[2] Ibid, 36.
[3] Ibid, 37.

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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FHH122_c

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 | 17 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

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