I was originally to be graduating here in the Assembly Rooms, once one of Bath’s Georgian wonders but sadly destroyed in the Second World War. The rooms were rebuilt. They appear historic, but it is not actually a historic building. It is still listed, of course, and it still contains the shell of the rooms — but it’s a complete restoration. Most students graduate during the summer here and in Bath Abbey. Now that is a place to graduate in – and I want in! So I’m happily postponing graduation and trading up into the better space.
A long time ago in a land far away, when I was first learned the term rustication, my professor, already an angry and unhappy man, immediately explained to his rapt audience that every year the entire class would always confuse the word and write it as rustification. He said always — and without fail, and of course, that’s what sunk me. I still fight that f to this day.
This was of course by design since he followed with a story about his friend who teaches at Harvard. I’m sure the person is more of an acquaintance since I doubt this man has any friends but apparently the Harvard architectural professor deliberately pronounced facade to his freshman audience as fakAde, and was greatly amused that the class followed his precedent into their later years in school.
Back to the images. This facade of the Pump Room faces Stall Street. This stage was designed by Thomas Baldwin but the building was taken over in 1792 and redesigned and completed by John Palmer. This particular type of rustication present on each block is termed vermiculated, expressing the appearance of a worm-ridden block. The simple inversed-beak joints between the blocks are simply termed as chamfered. Note the Ionic order here along the famed colonnade.
The street musician in the first photo performs on Stall Street when Abbey’s cloister square is occupied by another. There is some agreed upon schedule, as each act always ends five minutes to the hour and the musicians switch spots.
From the archives now: last day of class party in front of the Holborne Museum. The first day of class also ended in the Holborne Museum for drinks. It was quite enjoyable but with cases of champaign, one must remember that the grades aren’t all in yet and to just keep it to one social glass. The faces have been blurred to protect the innocent.
Either way, a nice coda to the end of the academic year, as the above title’s eighth-century manuscript postscript line-inspired suggests:
The job is done, I think;
For Christ’s sake, give me a drink.
I should do a post on this excellent Georgian structure, the Sydney Hotel by Thomas Baldwin, now the museum redesigned and added to during all periods. The last changes occured early in the 20th C and now there is a controversial modern extension that has planning consent.
A great skit from December 2006 by Rico Galliano of Marketplace from American Public Media (and Public Radio International)
KAI RYSDAAL, HOST:
Cross fragile office politics with the social minefield of a party, douse liberally with spiked eggnog, and voila: [you have] a recipe for disaster, otherwise known as the annual holiday office party.
But not to worry, the Marketplace Players are here to help with an educational primer they call:
[cue Fifties-style music and Fifties-styled Announcer:] “Holiday Party Dos and Don’ts”
My, Herbert, don’t you look spiffy!
I’m off to the Office Christmas Party!
Ow! You blasted my ears with a foghorn!
That’s because you just made a big faux pas, Herbert. Never call it a Christmas party; call it a holiday party.
You mean to show respect to all coworkers of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds?
You got it!
[At party, sound of background chattering.]
Boy, this is a swell party but hey, where are you headed?
The open bar!
Oww. What now?!
You’re not drinking on my watch, Herbert. Not at an office holiday party.
…But…isn’t that the point?
No, the point is to put in an appearance and leave with your job and reputation intact.
That’s true. Can I have just one?
Bartender, give me a scotch straight up—make it a double!
…I mean a single.
That-a-boy. Wow, Herbert, there’s that coworker you’re keen on.
You’re right! Hey, hot mamma!
[angrily] Look, you have no right meddling in my love life.
It’s your career I’m worried about, Herbert. Now that coworker thinks you’re creepy. If you must flirt, be a gentleman.
OK, I’ll try with someone else.
Excuse me, but…that’s a lovely dress.
Why thank you.
I haven’t seen you around the office. If I had, I would have asked you to lunch.
What do you do for us?
I’m your boss’ wife! [cackles]
I tried to warn you, Herbert. Better cut your losses, circulate a little and then high-tail it home.
OK, right after I finish this shrimp cocktail.
[FOGHORN!] HERBERT: [muffled curse]
Oops. You got cocktail sauce all over your shirt.
[angrily] Only after you blew that insane horn in my ear!
That sauce makes it look like you got stabbed. Leave. Pronto.
This is the least…fun…Christmas….
Oh silly Herbert, when will you learn: It’s not a party, it’s work!
Was going to go down and take picture of the mayoral procession to St John’s Hospital today but because it was raining too hard, I only got halfway down the hill before deciding the rain might not be good for my camera. (I don’t have an umbrella.) So here’s a historic gardens and landscape post to christen the University of Bath’s new MSc in the Conservation of Historic Gardens and Landscape programme. I’ve retyped almost all the plaques to cut down on photos and I’ve included this rare image of a soil leveler.
“In 1985 work began on recreating a Georgian-style garden. The existing garden was mainly Victorian, with a lawn and rockery, although a classical pavilion and a fish pond had been added in the 1920s.
“No. 4 Circus was completed by autumn 1761. No illustrations or written descriptions of the original garden survive but excavations by Bath Archeological Trust, the first to be undertaken in an English town garden, revealed three garden plans pre-dating the 1920s alterations.
“There was no grass at all in the first garden here. Most of it was converted with gravel mixed with clay. Three flower beds were placed on the central axis with a large, round-ended bed across the bottom. The garden was self-contained, designed to be seen purely from the house.
“Around 1770 the paved paths were extended across the ends of the bottom bed to provide access, via a flight of steps, to the Gravel Walk, which linked the newly built Royal Crescent with Queen Square.
“In 1836 a basement area was added to the back of the house and the surplus soil was spread over the garden. Above this protective clay layer, generally 18” thick, a new garden was created. For the next 150 years the garden saw little change until archaeologists removed the clay in 1986, and revealed the 18th century garden plan. The basement area was filled in and the garden restored to its layout of c. 1770.”
“The archaeological excavations of 1985-6 revealed the design of the 18th century garden beneath soil spread over the area during work to the basement of the house in the 9th century. The original paths and beds were located but it was not possible to identify the species or location of the plants/ The garden has been reconstructed according to the plan of c. 1770 after alterations had been made to include the steps to Gravel Walk.
“The planting is based on a plan and list of plants prepared by Dr. John Harvey of The Garden History Society. It attempts to recreated the mood of a small town garden of the period as known from documentary sources. The trellis screen and honeysuckle pole are located in positions identified as post holes during the excavations although they are modern reconstruction. The seat is an exact copy of an 18th century original.
“Grass lawns were not easily maintained prior to the invention of mechanical lawn mower in 1832. Rolled gravel or ‘hoggin’ was used here instead. The borders are edged in Dwarfed Box, which together with the clipped topiary of Box, Yew and Holly reflect the lingering formality of earlier garden style. In the late 18th century the plants themselves were the main interest, not as today for their mass effect, but as individual botanic curiosities, often recently introduced by travelers to the New World and Indo-China. Fragrant flowers were favoured, double flowers preferred to single forms and variegated foliage was a novelty. The walls too were used to train fruit trees and climbing plants.
“The size of this garden had prevent the use of any large trees but there are small trees, shrubs, roses, hardy perennials and bulbs, with annuals planted in the central beds each Spring. All the plants used are known to have been available in the 18th century.
“The garden was completed in 1990 and is maintained by Bath Museums Service.
“Excavation of the garden was by Bath Archaeological Trust. We gratefully acknowledge the kind assistance of Bath Preservation Trust, Avon Gardens Trust, The Garden History Society and Dr. John Harvey, and the financial support of The Charles Robertson Trust, Mayor’s Honorary Guides and Bath City Council (Conservation Section)”
|Tel: +44(0)1225 477752||Fax: +44(0)1225 444793|
Georgian Garden Links:
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.
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.
7. A spire was added in 1790.
8. It was THE parish church of Georgian Bath, and the only remaining one of the city.
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.
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.)
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).
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)
John Palmer, City Architect and City Surveyor
Sir Edward Berry (fought with Nelson at Trafalgar)
The twenty metre cast and wrought iron vaulted train shed of Queen Square Station (now Green Park Station), designed by the Midland Railway chief engineer J.S. Crossley and built between 1868-1869 by Andrew Handyside of Derby. Closed in 1966, it was restored by Stride Treglown Partnership and paid for by Sainsbury’s supermarket (visible in the rear) for their parking and the occasional crafts fair. It has been known as Green Station since 1951 and owned by the Bath City Council since 1974.
–Michael Forsyth, Bath (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 265-266. 251-252