070322.Claverton, “More Wright than Wrong”

March 22, 2007 at 3:10 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Chisel Marks, Claverton, Claverton Down, countryside, doorways, Light and Shadow, somerset, towns, University of Bath | 3 Comments

“A doctor can always bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise where to plant a vine.”

–Frank Lloyd Wright

070226.128.Somset.Claverton.Basset Farm House
Basset Farm House, Claverton
070226.127.Somset.Claverton.Basset Farm House
070226.129.Somset.Claverton.Basset Farm House
vs. Bath University Campus, Claverton Down: This blank concrete panel wall faces the only scenic part of the campus, so grow little vine grow!

070314.Bath, No Tulips to Tiptoe Through Yet

March 14, 2007 at 2:26 AM | Posted in Bath, Bathampton, Bradford-on-Avon, cemeteries - churchyards - and tombstones, Claverton, Claverton Down, countryside, Flowers, Gardens & Parks, hippies, Light and Shadow, Overcast, somerset, towns, Trees, University of Bath, Wiltshire | 7 Comments

Considering it was the only reason people know “Tiny Tim,” statistically it’s no surprise that that was the last song he ever performed. Seriously, he suffered a heart attack while singing it at a Gala Benefit for the Woman’s Club of Minneapolis. I have a lot of flower photos I want to unload to prove to everyone that it’s spring. This has taken a lot more work than I thought it would. Maybe I’ll have more but if you don’t hear from me again, you, you dear audience are my Woman’s Club of Minneapolis.
Someone knowledgeable about flowers told me the following: “The larger dark blue/purple are primroses. The smaller blue are scilla, the very small white are wild cyclamen.” Someone less knowledgable told me if I ever go back in time that I shouldn’t step on anything. Photos presented chronologically with most recent on top.

Below: Claverton Down, Bathwick Hill Road wall with “I think (not sure) it’s creeping phlox — a particularly strong color. Usually creeping phlox…is pastel — pastel white, pink or lavender. This is a really strong color so it might be something else.” The second photo is the view from my window.
Below: Claverton Down, University of Bath
Below: Bath (Twerton?), High Commons, Commune Garden:
Below: Bath (Twerton?), Royal Victoria Park’s Botanical Garden (5Mar07): (with the exception of the night shot in Claverton Down)
Below: Bath, Royal Victoria Park (5Mar07):
Below: Bathampton, St Nicholas’ Cementery back on the 26th of Feb.
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Below: Claverton, St Mary the Virgin’s Cemetery back on the 26th of Feb.
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Below: My first flower shot of spring(?) in Bradford-on-Avon, Wilts. back on the 30th of January!

070310.Claverton Down, Student Government is the Opiate of the Student Masses

March 10, 2007 at 1:16 AM | Posted in Bath, Claverton Down, cumulus clouds, somerset, University of Bath | 2 Comments

Student elections are nearing, or at least that’s what the signs and the hundreds of people wearing inked T-shirts would suggest; but I can’t vote, I’m an immigrant. “By now you would have noticed a vast array of banners and posters (and general chaos!) on campus. If you haven’t already figured it out, there are 22 regular students trying to fight for your vote to become one of the six Sabbs. A Sabb is a regular student who takes a year out of their course to represent the views of students.”070309.02.Somset.Bath.ClavertonDown
Apart for this “Vote Hayden,” the signs have been less than creative, which I guess can be expected from an engineering school. Most of these A4 sheets look more like missing posters than pleas to be elected. They feature a name, Yearbook picture, and a “clever” quote (ie: “Vote for me for VP. I can do the job.”) This “Vote Hayden,” which is along the arcade that leads from the bus stop to the campus heart is the only time that this corridor has looked decent. I always feel that this entire university campus looks like a complex about to be demolished — like it once was something and has been stripped of anything salvageable before demolition. Will any of the candidates do something to fix this?
What surprises me is the number of posts and candidates to fill them. What’s interesting is that the English frequently have these occupation-oriented sir names. Here Fisher uses an image of a fishmonger for her campaign. Why there’s a post for “sport” I have no idea, I assume it is mimicking the English Ministry of the name (Culture, Sports, and Media). There’s a Bell who has stolen the Taco Bell franchise logo to immediately gain image recognition and possible free signs (The color signs appear to have been from wrappers and bags). Take that other candidate with long unmemorable Polish name. Others (below) must not have a visual last name, such as “Pistol Pete” for Pres. Hopefully there’s no other Pete’s running for that office and maybe he supports handguns. I dunno.
And of course, there’s Kristy for VP. She appears to not be able to spell her own name, which isn’t vital to the VP post. But perhaps, she’s so smart she knows this will bring her attention.
And in other news, I learned from Wikipedia’s article on Facebook.com that there was controversy over this election.

070220.Combe Down, The Blob — Quarry

February 20, 2007 at 12:03 AM | Posted in Bath, Chisel Marks, Combe Down, Overcast, roofs, somerset, University of Bath | 8 Comments

061022.009.Somset.Bath.Combe Down.Quarry Houses

Combe Down is littered with former quarry sites–mostly dating from Ralph Allen’s time. Everyone seems to have one in their backyard. Sometimes they appear overnight. “Mom, am I imagining things or did the hill face move closer to the house?” You get the picture.

Bath has several different types of oolitic limestone, each named for the hill it was quarried on but I’m not going to get into details now. Most of the quarries in Bath, however, are underground. In fact, Combe Down is mostly tunnels and the quarries were more or less labyrinth underground cities with the stone being carted out by horses (leading to the tunnels being filled with stone-carved water troughs.) Even part of the U of Bath campus on neighboring Claverton Down hill used to be a quarry.

Technically, if a quarry is underground then it becomes a mine (even though the tunnels aren’t for metal) but the Combe Down tunnels retained their “quarry” name to avoid mine legislation.Today, however, these quarry tunnels are legally mines and the larger concern facing the government is filling them in.

Sinkholes used to constantly appear and collapse roads and structures on this hill, so that now the government is spending millions of pounds to secure and fill the tunnels, so I hear. It’s an odd cycle.

Tune in tomorrow for more Ralph Allen Week on Bath DP.

060218.Bathampton Down, A View to a Killing

February 18, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Castles, Chisel Marks, Claverton Down, doorways, Gardens & Parks, Light and Shadow, Mansion, Monuments and Memorials, Overcast, Peephole Views, Preservation, Restoration, Ruins, somerset, Towers, towns, Trees, University of Bath | 9 Comments

Walked by this two days ago after I picked up a package from the mailroom. It’s surrounded by the University of Bath‘s campus but is still somewhat difficult to reach. This is more of an excuse since I’ve never posted a shot of it and it’s a five minutes walk away from my house.
Copy of 070216.18.Somset.Bath.ClavertonDown.ShamCastle.d.RichardJones1762
Born in Cornwall, Ralph Allen (1693 – June 29, 1764), transferred from a post office there at age 17 to one in Bath. Two years later in 1712, he became the Post Master of the city. He shortly reorganized the entire postal service and became very wealthy doing so. Surprisingly, however, he saved his money and refused to invest in the quarries that surrounded Bath (and that he would become famous from) until the completion of the Kennet and Avon Canal, which allowed stone to be shipped to the Thames.

Shortly, He owned nearly all of Combe Down, creating a cart rail-track that took the stones down the hill from the quarries to the canal warf in Bath’s Dolmeads section where it would be shipped out. He was also able to keep costs down by paying his workers less. This was not necessarily cruel since he, unlike most other quarry employers, employed year-round, and had John Wood the Elder build model terrace housing for them in 1729.

In addition to these organized and economical applications to selling stone, he promoted the creamy-colored stone through his own constructions, such as this Sham Castle (1767), his Palladian Mansion of Prior Park (1742) with its Palladian Bridge, and in supplying it for free for prominent public buildings such as the General Hospital (1738-1742). To introduce stone to new markets, such as lucrative London, he sold it at a discount with guarantees that he would personally cover the cost of replacing the stone if it failed. Unfortunately, it often did and London’s smoggy environment frequently caused him to empty his pockets.

He died at age 71 and is buried in a mausoleum in Claverton (down the opposite slope from Bath of the Claverton Down hill). The old rail line that went from his quarries, past his mansion, and down to his warf is now Ralph Allen Drive, as well as one of the city’s secondary schools. A statue for the Lower Assembly Rooms was also carved in his honor (not sure where the statue is since the structure was demolished), paid for by the City of Bath Corporation.
Copy of 070216.12.Somset.Bath.ClavertonDown.ShamCastle.d.RichardJones1762
The “Sham Castle” was built by Allen’s Clerk of Works Richard Jones (the same person who completed John Wood the Elder’s designs for Prior Park after the latter’s dismissal) in 1762 as an eye-catcher for Allen’s town house mansion in Bath proper. That house, which is now hemmed in with other buildings, faces this hill (it was probably designed by John Wood the Elder, although his account of its design is cryptic.) In many ways, this castle is the equivalent of the Palladian Bridge on Allen’s Prior Park Estate. It can still be seen from the city when lit up at night (although it is very very small). Jones claimed the design for the façade structure was his, but Sanderson Miller had been approached to design it seven years earlier and Jones has a record for accepting credit for designs that he merely supervised (Prior Park). The structure replaced “Antsey’s Lodge.”
Copy of 070216.06.Somset.Bath.ClavertonDown.ShamCastle.d.RichardJones1762
Copy of 070216.04.Somset.Bath.ClavertonDown.ShamCastle.d.RichardJones1762
Copy of 070216.03.Somset.Bath.ClavertonDown.ShamCastle.d.RichardJones1762

Tune in tomorrow for more of Ralph Allen Week at Bath Daily Photo.

070213.ClavertonDown, Remains of the Day Before Saturday

February 13, 2007 at 12:04 AM | Posted in Architecture, Claverton Down, countryside, Foggy & Misty, Gardens & Parks, Overcast, somerset, University of Bath | 8 Comments

Copy of 070210.002.Somset.Bath.ClavertonDown.Snowman Garden

070209.Claverton Down, Smallcombe House

February 9, 2007 at 12:53 AM | Posted in Architecture, Claverton Down, roofs, somerset | 7 Comments

070208.7.Somset.Bath.ClavertonDown.Bathwick Hill Rd.Smallcombe House
It was supposed to snow accross the board here, all over England. And so, just like a kid, I woke up early to see the snow. It was there but so was the on again/ off again cold rain. There was more rain as I walked down the hill, but the snow melted before the end of my trip down. Nothing was covered nor visible in the city, not even on any of the open hills themselves once I was at the base. It was just cold and raining. Getting sick of this….

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