070621.Stonehenge, Summer Solstice

June 22, 2007 at 12:12 AM | Posted in Architecture, Chisel Marks, Light and Shadow, Monuments and Memorials, Overcast, Ruins, Salisbury, Wiltshire | 7 Comments

Stonehenge Solstice 1/3: [One], [Two], [Three]

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Camped out last night/this morning for the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge. It was quite an experience as there were thousands of people (as tomorrow’s post will detail) there and it was actually chilly. Normal visitors are not allowed to go near the stones while we camped out on them, so it was worth it to go just for that reason — I have now touched all the stones (and others did much worse). Below, an image the Druids might think was magic — all the cell phone cameras and digital camera screens glowing amidst the twilight and the ancient monument.

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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

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.

070512.Widcombe, Walls

May 14, 2007 at 5:19 AM | Posted in Bath, Chisel Marks, Gardens & Parks, Light and Shadow, somerset, Trees, Widcombe | 6 Comments

This is on Perrymead Road, just off of Pope’s Walk leading to Perrymead Roman Catholic Cemetery in Widcombe, Bath.
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Dwelling on an earlier post
, I wonder what everyone thinks about favoring either the roots or foliage of a tree. In this dissected post, both photos are from the same tree and illustrate the same theme. Below, the roots have undermined a nearby Bath Stone retaining wall and the tree essentially has been molded to supplant the wall. Above, the yellowish green foliage has been around Bath for a few months. It might not even be that color anymore. To me, it’s a reminder that I’ve missed the chance to get some of the good panoramic winter shots of Bath. The trunk that became a block in the wall now has leaves that block my view. This wasn’t planned as a post, I’m somewhat busy now and stuck by a computer so expect……………….
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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.”

070415.Bristol, Feeding Time at the River Avon

April 15, 2007 at 9:41 AM | Posted in Bristol, Light and Shadow, people, river, River Avon, Riverboats, somerset | 10 Comments

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