Keynsham history taking pride of place.

Keynsham history taking pride of place.

Looking down on the flooring taking shape.

Looking down on the flooring taking shape.

An exclusive look at an important ‘chunk’ of Keynsham’s heritage – finding a permanent home at

The mosaic panels being carefully shaped at Pixash Lane

The mosaic panels being carefully shaped at Pixash Lane

last after being installed – with pride of place – in the town’s new 34 million pound Civic Centre.

These panels of Roman mosaic came from the floor of a high-status villa – regarded by experts ‘as a minor Roman palace’- discovered on Durley Hill when the town cemetery was extended in the 1920’s.

They are certainly beautiful and have basically been in storage since being first lifted.

Having been moved to the Pixash Lane archaeological store the panels – which had been originally lifted from the ground and mounted on concrete with stone borders – were reshaped.

The panels arriving at the new Civic Centre

The panels arriving at the new Civic Centre

They have now been carefully transported to the new development where one by one they were carried through to be re-laid on the floor – like a giant jigsaw puzzle – coming together as a whole for the first time in nearly two thousand years.

The hoist being used to lower the mosaics into their final resting place.

The hoist being used to lower the mosaics into their final resting place.

The mosaics will be displayed in a specially constructed pit created in the floor and with a transparent covering.

The floor taking shape again for the first time in nearly two thousand years.

The floor taking shape again for the first time in nearly two thousand years.

Other artefacts from Keynsham’s past will also be displayed in an area that forms part of the new town library complex – opening on October 20th.

My thanks to Stephen Clews – Manager of the Roman Baths – for taking these images of the transporting and installation of the mosaic panels.

Victoria Bridge to re-open on December 7th.

Victoria Bridge to re-open on December 7th.

The Victoria Bridge

The Victoria Bridge

It’s my understanding that Bath’s newly refurbished Grade 2 listed Victoria Bridge is due to be officially re-opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on December 7th – though pedestrians and cyclists will be able to use it from the 5th of that month.

The 3.4 million pound project to refurbish the structure was to make it suitable for modern use for the growing population of Bath Riverside and link the Upper and Lower Bristol Roads for people on foot and cyclists.

A workman tightening bolts of the newly refurbished bridge.

A workman tightening bolts of the newly refurbished bridge.

The design has been developed through discussions with English Heritage.

Construction involved the bridge being taken to pieces and reassembled with a series of new, steel components added to make it sufficiently strong to meet modern bridge safety standards.

The form or appearance is similar to the original – erected by local engineer James Dredge in 1836 – and the first example of his taper-styled suspension bridges.

People have still been able to cross the River Avon through a temporary truss which has been in place since refurbishment work started in 2010. That is due to be removed next month and will involve a more lasting closure while the structure is taken to pieces.

Concern grows for future of the “Min”.

One of Bath’s best-loved Georgian buildings could be about to shut up shop.

With a personal view of developments, Professor George Odam, who was Patient Governor of the RNHRD for nine years until his resignation in August last year, raises his concerns for the building’s future and has his own ideas about how the Min could still play a useful role to enhance the city’s reputation as a health spa.

In 1988 there was a move to relocate The Min to the RUH site in Combe Park and the plans and rationale can be viewed at the Guildhall Archive. Merging the administration of the two hospitals makes good sense, but the identity and mission of both are very different and both need preservation so that they can continue to function. This has been achieved in many other English cities.

However, in 1988 the proposal was to sell The Min and make it into a shopping mall, with a Plan B of a hotel. Since the rebuild of Southgate, the loss of The Podium and the new hotel development in Beau Street, the most likely outcome of the sale of The Min would be a boarded up site that would deteriorate and be subject to vandalism.

But money <strong>is</strong> a central issue and a new campaign to save, recondition and modernise the interior of The Min and restore the Grade 2 exterior would have to be found. There are local, national and private funds for this sort of thing once a case has been well made, and I am certain that many patients, families and friends would wish to support such a venture.

Bath is the only significant and active European Spa City without its own Spa Hospital. In the 1960s and 70s The Min’s hydrotherapy pool was fed by the Roman Spring until the amoeba stopped it all. The conduits still lie beneath the streets.”

<strong>’DISEASED, DOUCHED AND DOCTORED'</strong>

<strong>EDITOR</strong> Professor Odam mentioned the launch of Dr Roger Roll’s new book describing the rise of mineral water as a therapy and how treatments in Rheumatology have changed. It will be launched in the Chapel at The Min on Monday, November 26th. It’s a ticket only presentation which is complemented by an exhibition of original 18th century patient records and historical medical artefacts.

<a href=”http://virtualmuseumofbath.com/virtual-museum-of-bath-2012/chapel/#main&#8221; rel=”attachment wp-att-481″><img title=”chapel” alt=”” src=”http://richardwyattblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/chapel.jpg?w=280&#8243; height=”168″ width=”224″ /></a> The chapel at The Min

Kate Lane and her helpers at the hospital have been putting it  together and l know she wants to develop the display further and hopefully be able to let school groups in to visit. I have asked her to do her own Virtual Museum piece on the subject in the not too distant future!

However, l have been lucky enough to have a sneak preview of some of the exhibits. I love signatures and have had the fantastic opportunity of gazing down at the names of some of the city’s historical ‘greats’ in their own hand writing – including Richard Nash, William Oliver, Ralph Allen and John Wood the Elder. Also some of the earliest patients records in very clear handwriting.

<a href=”http://virtualmuseumofbath.com/virtual-museum-of-bath-2012/ralph-allen-signature/#main&#8221; rel=”attachment wp-att-485″><img title=”ralph allen signature” alt=”” src=”http://richardwyattblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/ralph-allen-signature.jpg?w=280&#8243; height=”210″ width=”280″ /></a> Clearly ‘Ralph Allen’

<a href=”http://virtualmuseumofbath.com/virtual-museum-of-bath-2012/richard-nash/#main&#8221; rel=”attachment wp-att-486″><img title=”richard nash” alt=”” src=”http://richardwyattblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/richard-nash.jpg?w=280&#8243; height=”168″ width=”224″ /></a> Look down the list for ‘Jo Wood’

<a href=”http://virtualmuseumofbath.com/virtual-museum-of-bath-2012/patients-report/#main&#8221; rel=”attachment wp-att-483″><img title=”patients report” alt=”” src=”http://richardwyattblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/patients-report.jpg?w=195&#8243; height=”260″ width=”195″ /></a> Patient records from 1749!

Remember this was a hospital serving the poor of all England and many of them stayed here for many weeks. At the bottom of each entry is a clear indication of whether they had benefitted from their treatment or died!

I loved the collection of badges which had to be worn by patients to identify them as such. One entry records the fact that a patient was turned out for being caught in a local public house. Landlords could be fined for serving patients from the hospital.

<a href=”http://virtualmuseumofbath.com/virtual-museum-of-bath-2012/hospital-badges/#main&#8221; rel=”attachment wp-att-482″><img title=”hospital badges” alt=”” src=”http://richardwyattblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/hospital-badges.jpg?w=195&#8243; height=”260″ width=”195″ /></a> Collection of ward and patient badges

There is much here that truly deserves to be seen by a wider audience. This ancient institution – England’s first national hospital – is an important part of this city’s history.

virtualmuseumofbath.com 2012.

Keynsham’s new One Stop Shop opens today.

Keynsham’s new One Stop Shop opens today.

Keynsham’s new One Stop Shop opens its doors today – Monday, October 20th – at the town’s new Civic Centre

Keynsham's new One Stop Shop facility.

Keynsham’s new One Stop Shop facility.

Local people will be able to access a wide range of public services all under one roof.

The services offered by Keynsham Library and Council Connect at Riverside will all be available from the new One Stop Shop.

You’ll also be able to get help and advice from a number of other public and voluntary organisations in one convenient location:

One Stop Shop, Keynsham Civic Centre, Market Walk, Keynsham, BS31 1FS

This new building is part of the overall Keynsham regeneration project.

Services available at the Keynsham One Stop Shop

Council and partner services will offer a variety of face to face, phone and online services from this bright, modern and welcoming environment.

Council services available at the new One Stop Shop will include:

Council Connect
Library Services
Registrar Services (from w/c 27th October)
Children in Care and Moving on Team
Housing Advice
Other public and voluntary organisations offering services at the new One Stop Shop will include:

Age UK
Contact: 01225 466135
Avon & Somerset Police
General Contact & Enquiries: 101
Bath Mind (from w/c 27th October)
Contact: 01225 316199
Bristol Credit Union
Contact: 0117 924 7309
Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)
Contact: 0344 848 7919
Curo
Contact: 01225 366000
Keynsham & District Dial a Ride
Contact: 01225 395321
Reach
Contact: 01225 422156 or email info@dhireach.org.uk
Royal British Legion
Contact: 0808 802 8080
Sirona Care & Health
Contact: 01225 831400
West of England Care & Repair
Contact: 0300 323 0700
Your Say Advocacy Service
Contact: 01275 374703 or email info@yoursay-advocacy.co.uk

Extra time for Bath history makers.

Extra time for Bath history makers.

The exhibition has been proving very popular.

The exhibition has been proving very popular.

It’s been a real walk down memory lane for Bathonians and there’s good news for those who haven’t yet visited the temporary walk-through exhibition alongside Bath Abbey – featuring some of the city’s famous history makers – it’s being extended.

Part of the open-air display of thirty boards.

Part of the open-air display of thirty boards.

Organiser Angela Calvert Jones tells me that ‘ due to popular demand, the History Makers of Bath exhibition which was originally due to finish on October 23rd, is to be displayed until the 3rd of November to include Heritage Week’.

Find it beside Bath Abbey in Kingston Parade.

Find it beside Bath Abbey in Kingston Parade.

Angela says there has been a steady flow of people looking over the panels which feature some of the great men and women of the city who have contributed to its history.

There are 30 large and colourful display panels which display a series of creative and inspiring images – together with information relating to famous or infamous characters of Bath.

The exhibition images feature their legacies and also link visitors to Bath’s multitude of museums, art galleries, architecture and more.

Improved pathway link for Beechen Cliff

Improved pathway link for Beechen Cliff

The city view from the top of Beechen Cliff.

The city view from the top of Beechen Cliff.

Bath & North East Somerset Council has started work to improve a path for walkers through the lower slopes of Beechen Cliff in Bath.

There is currently a well-trodden track through the woods that has been used for many years but it gets very muddy and slippery during wet weather, particularly the steep slope down to Alexandra Road, which often prevents people from using it.

The new path was the idea of the Beechen Cliff Steering Group, which includes local ward members, representatives of the National Trust and local residents’ groups.

A view down to Bath Spa station from the top of Beechen Cliff.

A view down to Bath Spa station from the top of Beechen Cliff.

Bath & North East Somerset Council agreed to fund the installation of a natural path made from crushed limestone with timber edges.

This will improve access through the woodland, though in some places there will have to be steps where it is too steep for a slope.

Cllr David Dixon (Lib Dem, Oldfield), Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “This is a great example of working with the local community to open up our beautiful woodlands, so that more people can use them. It will be similar to the paths that the National Trust has installed at Combe Down. There will be no excavations carried out in close proximity to trees so no tree roots will be damaged or severed.”

The path is due to be completed by December.

Let’s get creative!

Let’s get creative!

A new Cultural and Creative strategy for the district is being developed as part of a joint exercise between Bath & North East Somerset Council and organisations within the area.

The Bath Guildhall

The Bath Guildhall

A steering group is being formed with representatives from a wide range of local organisations including the Cultural Forum, Creative Bath, Bath Bridge, The Guild co-working hub and the Arts Council.

Councillor Ben Stevens (Lib-Dem, Widcombe), Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “This new strategy will promote an exciting and coherent vision for building world-class cultural and creative activity for everyone in the district.

Bath and North East Somerset is a unique place in so many ways, and fostering talent, knowledge and skills across all ages and backgrounds will encourage us to flourish in the long term.”

Input will be sought from Bath Spa University, City of Bath College and the University of Bath and many other organisations engaged across the spectrum of cultural and creative activities in Bath and North East Somerset.

Katharine Reeve of Bath Spa University (steering group member and project lead), said: “We have the potential to create a new model for the cultural and creative sectors with a strong social purpose, spirit of wellbeing, and new ways of working collaboratively. We are keen to hear from a wide range of organisations across the sector.”

Any other organisations who would like to get involved too should email celia@bathbridge.co.uk.

New trees for Bath commemorate Great War.

New trees for Bath commemorate Great War.

Two tree-planting events will take place in Bath and North East Somerset next month to commemorate the start of the Great War and local residents who died in it.

Cllr Sarah Bevan

Cllr Sarah Bevan

They have both been organised by Councillor Sarah Bevan with funding from Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Ward Councillors Initiative Fund, with arboricultural expertise from Adam Gretton at the charity More Trees for Bath and North East Somerset.

Cllr Bevan (Lib-Dem, Peasedown) said: “I am so pleased that I have been able to secure Ward Councillors Initiative funding for these two commemoration events for the Great War.

“It’s important to remember that local residents from Bath and North East Somerset, including the Peasedown area, fought and died for their country during the Great War and, during this centenary year, their loss should be commemorated with lasting memorials.”

The first ceremony takes place on Sunday, 2 November from 9 am to 12 noon at Eckweek Gardens in Peasedown St John, with permission from the landowner (Curo) and will involve local residents, Cllr Bevan, Adam Gretton and Steven Atkinson from Curo.

The second event takes place on Saturday 22 November, 9 am to 12 noon, at Orchard Way, Peasedown St John, and will see the planting of a replacement community orchard to commemorate the outbreak of The Great War and those who died. It will involve residents, Cllr Bevan, Adam Gretton and landowners Persimmon Homes West.

David Brayne’s birthday show at Victoria Art Gallery.

David Brayne’s birthday show at Victoria Art Gallery.

A new one-man exhibition by Somerset artist David Brayne at Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery is set to celebrate his 60th birthday this year.

Although David Brayne shows often in London and is regularly featured in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, the demands of his technique are such that he does not put together one-man exhibitions very often.

Four fisherwomen by David Brayne.

Four fisherwomen by David Brayne.

The new paintings on display in the Still Waters run… exhibition are sure to conjure up memories of last January’s floods. Although these directly affected the artist, his paintings address the milder weather conditions which are the norm on the Somerset Levels.

Brayne’s pictures belong within that English tradition of humanistic landscape made famous by such artists as Richard Eurich and Keith Vaughan. At the same time Brayne challenges conventional perceptions of watercolour through his use of rich textures and resonant shadows.

David Brayne has lived for many years within walking distance of the Somerset Levels. This flat, watery landscape, which echoes the wide sky and liminal expanses of his south Lincolnshire childhood, touches much of his work.

His landscapes, seascapes and quiet interiors are both remembered and imagined, distilled down to elemental shapes and colours. The still and timeless spaces he evokes are the settings for rowers, bathers and fishermen, as he explains: “I like the idea of placing an oar, fishing rod, or something similar in the hands of the figure, because this creates a lyrical gesture, which in turn will suggest movement and begin to form patterns and rhythms that run through the work.

River in the Morning by David Brayne

River in the Morning by David Brayne

“Moreover, if I include two or three figures there is at once an inferred relationship or narrative, although I prefer to leave the exact nature of this to the viewer’s imagination.”

David mixes his own paints from raw pigments, building layer upon layer of luminous glazes, sometimes working into the paint with pastels and occasionally using touches of silver or gold leaf. His artistic voice is one of quiet and subtle tenderness, whilst also embodying more formal elements which place the work within a very contemporary idiom.

This 60th birthday one-man show will be on view at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath from 29 November 2014 to 11 January 2015.

FOR INFORMATION…….

David Brayne was born in 1954 and studied at Nottingham School of Art, the Gloucestershire College of Art and Exeter University. Elected as a member of the Royal Watercolour Society in 2001, he has exhibited widely and been awarded a number of prizes.