Does Bath Spa still hold water?

Does Bath Spa still hold water?

You’re invited to join a debate about the role of Bath and European Spa

The Komedia Centre

The Komedia Centre

towns in creating ideal towns and cities of the future at the Komedia Centre in Westgate Street on March 5th.

It’s a free day-long session – complete with expert presentations –  which will take a look  at what thermal spa waters have and will mean to Bath in the past, present and future.

Spa towns are a unique form of settlement and do not conform to the usual settlement types established for the purposes of protection, worship, kingship, politics, industry, trade or expansion.

The Great Bath - part of the  Roman bathing complex built around the thermal waters.

The Great Bath – part of the Roman bathing complex built around the thermal waters.

They were cities of leisure and health, where boundaries of class and gender were blurred, and where artistic and cultural activity came to the fore.

These places of healing were the first tourist destinations, attracting people to stay for lengthy periods of time, inventing themselves as islands of leisure and pleasure, where life was somehow different.

Spa in Belgium was nicknamed the “Café of Europe” because, as in a café, all manner of people gathered together, while taking the cure, to discuss the arts, politics, philosophy, music, and of course to gossip!

The Café of Europe debate in Bath takes its inspiration from the rich and varied heritage of Europe’s historic spa towns.

The King's Bath or original sacred spring of the Romans.

The King’s Bath or original sacred spring of the Romans.

The City of Bath is the only European spa town currently listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, having been inscribed in 1987.

The inscription is based on the natural thermal springs, the Roman archaeology and the 18th Century urban plan and architecture.

In creating his vision of the Ideal City, John Wood the Elder, creator of Georgian Bath, saw Bath as an imaginary place, a garden city of great vistas and grand public spaces merging with the surrounding landscape and… “A Region that sets Paradise itself before one’s Eyes…the very Elysium Fields of the Antients.”

The Bath Café will debate a range of inter-related topics with interludes and presentations to stimulate discourse concerning the future of Bath and other famous European spa towns. Do these places have the potential as model cities for urban living in the future with the health and well-being of its inhabitants and visitors underpinning all policy decisions?

The New Royal Bath

The New Royal Bath

The Bath Café of Europe will be built around a series of short presentations on one of the many themes linking the unique qualities of our famous spa towns. These presentations will be by writers and specialists in their fields and be short and to the point.

After each presentation a panel of local experts; the people responsible for managing and protecting the various aspects of Bath’s fabric, its offer and its image will respond to the themes and relate them to their current roles when considering the future issues facing Bath and North East Somerset as a place to live, work and visit.

The Mayor of Bath, Councillor Cherry Beath whose portfolio includes Spa Ancient and Modern, the Cultural sector and Health & Wellbeing, will host the Café.

Paul Simons, World Heritage consultant and the B&NES representative to EHTTA, will Chair the event and introduce the speakers:

The King's Bath and Queen's Bath in 1675

The King’s Bath and Queen’s Bath in 1675

John Carey, writer and editor of “The Faber Book of Utopias” will guide us through Utopian thought and writings of the past.

Ian Bradley, lecturer with a lifelong fascination with spas and music and author of “Water Music – music making in the spas of Europe and North America”.

Amy Frost, architectural historian, curator and writer on the works of architect John Wood the Elder whose mystical inspiration created much of Georgian Bath.

Christopher Woodward, art historian, Museum Director and writer who includes in his passions swimming and Bath.

Susan Sloman, an independent scholar and author of “Gainsborough in Bath”.

Gillian Clarke, town planner, writer, and garden specialist with a particular interest in Prior Park garden, Bath.

Christopher Pound, architect, town planner, writer and World Heritage expert, author of “A Verye excellent treasure – values of the Bath spa resort”.

There will be plenty of opportunity for participation, questions and debate and interventions of both the serious and not-so-serious kind.

The Great Bath.

The Great Bath.

A small group of young people from Bath will also present a fictional version of the city with Alice Maddicott, who is curating “The Chancery of Lost and Found” in Milsom Place as part of the Bath Literature Festival.

There will also be a discussion, led by Alice, with the young people around the theme of the “ideal city”.

Partners

The Bath Literature Festival welcome famous writers and creative minds to Bath to celebrate literature. In its seventeen year history, the Literature Festival has hosted Nobel and Booker Prize winners.

Inhabitants of the city of Bath are really attached to this festival, which events take place in historic buildings throughout the town. The Festival will take place from 28 February to 9 March.

Website: www.bathfestivals.org.uk

Tools and medias

This meeting will be filmed, broadcasted and recorded.

How to book your place? 

Book your free place with the Bath Box Office 01225 463362
or online at http://www.bathfestivals.org.uk

Please join us on social media:
Twitter: SourceAtBath  #BathCafe
Facebook:SourcedeCulture

The New Royal Bath

The New Royal Bath

The Bath debate is part of a European-wide   multidisciplinary project based on the origins and the future of the “European spa-town culture”, notably in terms of all its forms of creativity that have been central to building of a European culture produced by exchanges: the art, literature, music, philosophy, politics, science and urban development of these towns.

Working together, the objective of these towns has been the discovery of this shared European cultural heritage.

Debates organized in the framework of this project will be gathered together and put into perspective in a “Thermal Blue Book”, which will present contributions and scenarios for Europe in 2020, in order to encourage, improved dialogue about thermal culture, to reinforce the role of historic thermal towns through the creation of a permanent common platform and to spread a notion of creative thermal culture.

Network Rail lays it on the line for Bath.

Network Rail lays it on the line for Bath.

bath spa

Bath Spa station. Click on images to enlarge.

Rail commuters passing through Bath Spa this summer face a difficult journey between July 18th and the end of August.

That’s the period services will be disrupted by the closure of the Box Tunnel for the lowering of the railway track as part of the electrification of the line between London and Bristol.

bath spa

Part of an information display panel

Network Rail bill this 7.5 billion pound modernisation scheme – which will also involve buying new rail stock – as the biggest investment in the Great Western railway since it was built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1838.

How our electrified train service might look.

How our electrified train service might look.The Virtual Museum of Bath has been able to question the man who will oversea this work and get a commitment from him that services will be up and running again from 5 am on the morning of September 1st.

The Virtual Museum of Bath has been able to question the man who will oversea this work and get a commitment from him that services will be up and running again from 5 am on the morning of September 1st.

This is a lengthy interview but – if you are a rail user or someone concerned about how this modernisation programme will impact on historic sites such as Bath’s Sydney Gardens – it is worth sticking with it to the end.

I asked Andrew Haynes – who is Network Rail’s Programme Director for the West of England – what exactly would be happening in the months to come.

 

 

Network Rail are to hold many public consultation meetings in Bath in the months to come. Go through to their website via http://www.networkrail.co.uk/great-western-route-modernisation/ to find out more about the work and consultation dates.

 

 

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.

New Head Gardener named for American Museum.

New Head Gardener named for American Museum.

The American Museum at Claverton Down has announced the name of their new Head Gardener. He’s Mr Andrew Cannell who is a  native of the Isle of Man but will be coming to Bath from a job with the National Trust in West Sussex..

Rowan, Melissa and Andrew Cannell

Rowan, Melissa and Andrew Cannell

He will be the man who will oversee some interesting changes to the landscape where it is hoped the American-styled gardens will be extended. These proposals are discussed elsewhere on the Virtual Museum site in an interview with the museum’s Director Dr Richard Wendorf.

Andrew took his undergraduate degree in Geography at the University of Nottingham and then received his horticultural certification at Myerscough College, Preston, and at Wisley, the Royal Horticultural Society Garden in Surrey, where he won six awards, including the Top Trainee Prize and the Chittenden Academic Award for highest overall academic results.

Andrew worked for a year in Manchester as a school gardening advisor, training teachers and working with schools to develop their gardens as part of a multi-curricular venture. Andrew returned to Wisley for a year as an RHS horticulturalist and has served for the past three years as Senior Gardener for the National Trust at Woolbeding Gardens in West Sussex.

As the second-in-charge, he has had responsibility for organising a team of 5 staff members and 20 volunteers, having built the volunteer base and completed the Trust’s volunteer management training.

Andrew is married to Melissa Cannell, a fellow gardener also trained at Wisley – and a native of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. They have an eight-month-old son, Rowan, and plan to live in the Coach House on the estate.

Memories of Lambridge Mill

Memories of Lambridge Mill

The old Harvester Inn on the Gloucester Road

The old Harvester Inn on the Gloucester Road

The redevelopment of the old Harvester site just off the London Road by the turning onto Gloucester Road at Lambridge will have water power incorporated into it – if the views of local B&NES Councillor and Heritage champion Bryan Chalker have anything to do with it.

Cllr Bryan Chalker.

Cllr Bryan Chalker.

Cllr Chalker has said he welcomes a new planning application that will see the now derelict 1998 building re-modelled as retirement homes.

It stands near the site of a former mill that was powered by water and Bryan hopes a water wheel could be incubated into the new design to provide at least some of the electrical power for the new development.

He’s written an overview of his thoughts and the Virtual Museum reproduces it in full.

AN OVERVIEW OF THE FORMER HARVESTER PUB/RESTAURANT AND ITS SITE by Cllr. Bryan Chalker (Heritage Champion)

I have always been interested in old mills and the Harvester caught my attention when I first became a Bath City councillor for Lambridge and realised that this modern building, erected in 1998, mirrored the design of Lambridge Mill, which once stood on land now occupied by nearby Pitman Court. This was an old watermill and there is precious little to mark its passing than a few scant stone footings and traces of the sluice (on the Lam Brook) which once turned the wheel to power the machinery.

The old Harvester Inn

The old Harvester Inn

Watermills were the lifeblood of Bath during its great industrial period but the vast majority have vanished with the passage of time and are remembered in name only.

Lambridge had two mills, one still standing but minus its wheel, the Dead Mill, and, of course, the aforementioned Lambridge Mill. A careful study of the modern Harvester building reveals a pleasing external facsimile of an early 19th century water-mill, complete with imitation vents, timber lucarne (winch-housing) and west extensions vaulted over a mock tailrace, diverted from the fast-flowing Lam Brook, which only lacks a waterwheel to complete the impression of rustic tranquillity.

In his excellent book ‘Bath At Work’ (Millstream Books 1989), author Duncan Harper wrote: “The tributaries of the Avon turned many waterwheels; there were extensive gunpowder mills at Woolley, paper and silk mills at Batheaston, leather at St. Catherine’s, flock at Monkton Combe”. One of those tributaries is, of course, the Lam Brook and the Lam is mentioned in a Saxon boundary charter for Charlcombe under the name of ‘Lambroc’; ‘lam’ possibly meaning either ‘loam’, ‘lamb’ or ‘land’ and the latter, in turn, might have implied ‘boundary brook’.

The Lam Brook begins its life in Cold Ashton, slightly five miles north of Bath, and once served as a common boundary to Tadwick, Langridge, Woolley, Charlcombe, Swainswick and Walcot, before flowing into the Avon. The Lam actually joins the Walcot ward boundary at the bottom of Valley View Road, a short distance from where the Dead Mill’s tail-race once re-joined the main stream next to the stone arch bridge beneath Dead Mill Lane.

A photo of the former Harvester from the website of www.bathpubs.co.uk

A photo of the former Harvester from the website of http://www.bathpubs.co.uk

There was a time when the Lam Brook served the Lambridge Mill, erected in the first half of the 19th century, and serving the local community and beyond with leather dressing, glue making and, latterly, as a flour mill.

A map of 1830 shows the Harvester site as meadows and depicts for the first time the newly built Lambridge Mill to the north, owned by the Sturge family. By the 1840s, the southern end of the site had merged into the land bounding Lambridge House, with the northern section held by the Sturge family and its watermill complex.

According to an estate map of Swainswick dating from 1729, the Harvester site formed part of a parcel of land known as ‘Licker’s Mead’, a meadow in the owner-ship of the Clark family and a mill had stood on this land since 1275.

Lambridge Mill fell into decay after its working life ended in 1951 and it became little more than a builder’s yard until demolition in 1966. It is interesting to note that one of its smaller mill stones may well survive in nearby Alice Park, where it served to cap a well and form the base for a flag-pole.

Bass Taverns were responsible for building the Harvester in 1998 but due to dwindling trade it closed for business in 2007/8 and has stood derelict ever since. Various applications have been to redevelop the land there and one such scheme proposed to demolish the structure and begin afresh. Now, it seems, a fresh application has been submitted to B&NES by McCarthy & Stone to retain the shell of the Harvester and transform its interior into retirement apartments for the over-70s, with 33 two bedroom apartments and 17 one bedroom apartments and 33 on-site parking spaces for residents and visitors.

One can only hope that B&NES planners will give the go-ahead for this development and ensure that the outward appearance of this pleasing modern building remains intact. My personal view is that the vaulted west wing could be adapted for the installation of a working waterwheel to provide electricity for the complex.

Prior to the erection of the Harvester pub, all that occupied the site previously was a modest nursery garden, with timber huts and glasshouses. There is precious little evidence of archaeological remains in or around this land, although an official survey of 1990 did find small quantities of Roman and medieval pottery along the proposed course of the Batheaston By-Pass near the Elms, Bailbrook.

The new sign at the old Harvester

The new sign at the old Harvester

It is high time the Harvester building was brought back to life and reflects some of the proud industrial heritage of Lambridge and a functioning waterwheel would be a wonderful way of welcoming visitors to this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

I do hope that McCarthy & Stone will see fit to erect sympathetic and informative signage and/or plaques to highlight the architectural relationship between the Harvester and Lambridge Mill.

Outdoor gym for Keynsham.

Outdoor gym for Keynsham.

 

Plan of Keynsham Memorial Park.

Plan of Keynsham Memorial Park.

Bath & North East Somerset Council is planning on creating its first outdoor gym at Keynsham Memorial Park.

This will include outdoor fitness kit and three new measured and marked park trails for running, jogging and walking.

This is part of a series of improvements to the park, which will include widening of the entrance from the High Street with an extended hard surface put in, linking it to the existing path.

Six new welcome signs will be installed at the entrances and there are also plans to plant more flowers and shrubs in the park, which this year won a Gold Award in the RHS in Bloom Awards for the first time.

Those interested in finding out more are invited along to a drop-in event at the One Stop Shop at the Civic Centre on Thursday February 5, 10am – 2pm. Visitors will be able to see view the plans and see a photographic display of the new equipment.

Keynsham's One Stop Shop

Keynsham’s One Stop Shop

During the event on February 5, there will also be an opportunity to find out about the old boundary stone seat and give your ideas on where to put it in the park. This stone seat used to be on the old county bridge and will be reinstated in the park.

Cllr David Dixon (LibDem, Oldfield), Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “Keynsham Memorial Park is already a vibrant park with two children’s play areas, a small skate park, picnic area, bowling green, multi-sport courts and café.

Keynsham Memorial Park

Keynsham Memorial Park

We’ve also recently put in brand new toilets at the park. This fantastic project will really add to the facilities in the park as well as encouraging healthier lifestyles. These improvements will encourage adults to enjoy fitness regimes in the open air and provide new challenging play equipment for teenagers.”

Councillor Ben Stevens (Lib-Dem, Widcombe), Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “We are using £30,000 of regeneration funding for this exciting project, following consultation with town and ward councillors. This is part of our overall investment to revitalise the town with new jobs, new homes, and a revamped town centre.”

The work is expected to be completed by the end of March. The Council’s Active Lifestyles and Health Improvement Team will then provide an outdoor fitness coach and running leader to run sessions on the new equipment and park trails. This would include Run Fit classes and Run Start beginner running courses.

Great names of Fashion on display.

Great names of Fashion on display.

Yves Saint Laurent White silk crepe cocktail dress with cut-away bodice, trimmed with black Petersham ribbon and bows, about 1965. Worn by prima ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyn

Yves Saint Laurent
White silk crepe cocktail dress with cut-away bodice, trimmed with black Petersham ribbon and bows, about 1965. Worn by prima ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyn. Click on images to enlarge.

Click on images to enlarge.

Classic gowns designed by some of the most famous names in world couture are on display at the Fashion Museum in Bath throughout this year.

They include Madeleine Vionnet, Elsa Schiaparelli and Christian Dior, as well as Yves St Laurent, Ossie Clark, Bill Gibb and Alexander McQueen.

Hardy Amies Dark purple silk satin cocktail dress decorated with an oval shaped cutwork motif embroidered with beads, about 1950

Hardy Amies
Dark purple silk satin cocktail dress decorated with an oval shaped cutwork motif embroidered with beads, about 1950

The new Great Names of Fashion  gallery display  showcases some 20 works by these stellar designers – principally glamorous evening dresses worn by some of the leading personalities of their day.

Councillor Ben Stevens (Lib-Dem, Widcombe), the Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “Fashion is not just about the clothes we wear, what’s in and what’s out, it’s also the story of originality and master craftsmanship in cloth. Fashion is made up of beautiful fabrics, great design and inventive ideas, all realised in 3D by supremely talented and skilled men and women.

Peter Russell Evening dress and bolero of mist grey net embroidered with leaves in pink and silver metal thread, sequins, bugle beads and diamantes, about 1934

Peter Russell
Evening dress and bolero of mist grey net embroidered with leaves in pink and silver
metal thread, sequins, bugle beads and diamantes, about 1934

“This is what the Fashion Museum collection is all about: beautiful, exquisite, clever, inventive, astounding, amazing, intriguing items of dress, created by master craftsmen and women, whether in couture houses, tailoring and dressmaking workshops, or at home with needle and thread.

Fashion Museum Manager, Rosemary Harden, said: “In every area of human endeavour there are ‘big hitters’ such as Rembrandt and Van Gogh, J S Bach and Beethoven, George Best and Pele.

“The Fashion Museum displays next year are about the work of the biggest names in fashion: Dior and Balenciaga, Lucile and Lanvin, Schiaparelli and Vionnet, Yves Saint Laurent and Ossie Clark, Bill Gibb and Alexander McQueen.

Lucile (Lucy, Lady Duff Gordon) Blue figured silk evening dress with gold net sleeves and train embroidered in gold metal strip and decorated with blue gems and tassels, 1911.Worn by Esme Giffard (née Wallace), daughter of Lucile, to celebrate the Coronation of King George V in 1911 and later altered for a Ball in 1919

Lucile (Lucy, Lady Duff Gordon)
Blue figured silk evening dress with gold net sleeves and train embroidered in gold metal strip and decorated with blue gems and tassels, 1911.Worn by Esme Giffard (née Wallace), daughter of Lucile, to celebrate the Coronation of King George V in 1911 and later altered for a Ball in 1919

The work of these leading designers in fashion history is right here, right now in Bath, at the Council’s Fashion Museum, for everybody to see.”

The Fashion Museum is located in the Grade 1-listed Georgian Assembly Rooms in the Upper Town in Bath, near to the Royal Crescent in Bath.

Some of the works on display include:

Madeleine Vionnet Cream silk net evening dress embroidered with cream silk floss in an abstract swirling design outlined in gold metal thread, about 1931. Worn by Molly Tondaiman, The Rani of Pudukkottai

Madeleine Vionnet
Cream silk net evening dress embroidered with cream silk floss in an abstract swirling design outlined in gold metal thread, about 1931. Worn by Molly Tondaiman, The Rani of Pudukkottai

Madeleine Vionnet (1876 – 1975), one of the most revered of all the Parisian couturiers, was known for her skill in cutting garments on the cross grain of the fabric. This display, however, shows how her originality extended beyond pattern cutting to new ideas about decoration and embellishment.

Rather than using embroidery for small feature details on a garment (as in the past), the whole of the cream silk net dress is covered with giant-sized embroidered swirls of cream silk floss embroidery on a delicate cream net ground, which makes a striking and bold visual statement.

The evening dress on display was worn by Molly the Rani of Pudukkottai (1894 – 1967) in 1929, only a year or so after she was tragically widowed in 1928 at the age of 34. Molly’s husband, the Raj, had abdicated as ruler of the Southern Indian princely state in the early 1920s, and the couple lived as part of glittering society in the south of France. Molly, who was born an Australian, bought her clothes at the finest French couturiers, and Vionnet was a particular favourite.

In 1967, Molly’s son Martanda donated her lavish wardrobe to the Fashion Museum (then known as the Museum of Costume, Bath). It included classic gowns by Callot Soeurs, Paquin, Patou, Vionnet, and Schiaparelli. The swirl patterned evening dress on display was originally worn with a silk crepe evening cape, decorated with feature long cream braided tassels.

Elsa Schiaparelli Hyacinth blue silk evening dress decorated with pearl latticework and embroidered crossed key motifs in pearls, diamantes and gold beads, about 1936. This design was named The Keys of Saint Peter and was supposedly inspired by paintings at the National Gallery. Worn by Lady Jane Clark, wife of Sir Kenneth Clark, Director of the National Gallery (1934-1945)

Elsa Schiaparelli
Hyacinth blue silk evening dress decorated with pearl latticework and embroidered crossed key motifs in pearls, diamantes and gold beads, about 1936. This
design was named The Keys of Saint Peter and was supposedly inspired by paintings at the National Gallery. Worn by Lady Jane Clark, wife of Sir Kenneth Clark, Director of the National Gallery (1934-1945)

Elsa Schiaparelli (1890 – 1973), also worked in Paris in the 1930s although she was Italian by birth. The display will include a powder blue silk crepe slender-line evening dress, decorated with an all-over pattern of embroidered motifs of the crossed keys of Saint Peter. The dress has a curved yoke made entirely of pearls and jewel-like beads.

The evening dress originally belonged to Lady Jane Clark (1927- 1976), wife of Sir Kenneth Clark (1903 – 1983), Director of the National Gallery in London. The story goes that the Keys of Saint Peter dress was Lady Jane’s fashion choice as so many of the pictures in the National Gallery depicted the saint, who by tradition guards the entrance to heaven. Elsa Schiaparelli herself also wore a version of this dress, but in orange rather than blue. That dress is now part of the collection at Philadelphia Museum of Art in the United States of America.

Schiaparelli was, like Vionnet, a master of the inventive cut but she is famed too for her witty use of figurative details and embellishment, such as decoration shaped like giant colourful insects, or painted ceramic mermaids as buttons. She was part of the inner circle of French Surrealists in the 1930s and her work is often taken as an extension of this movement in art history.

Jeanne Lanvin Pale pink wool cloth evening cape decorated with gold kid leather appliqué, about 1936

Jeanne Lanvin
Pale pink wool cloth evening cape decorated with gold kid leather appliqué, about 1936

Christian Dior (1905 – 1957) dominated French couture in the 1950s until his early death in 1957. The display includes one of his grandest of evening dresses, a style called ‘Henri Sauguet’ from 1950. The gown is made of yards and yards of cream silk tulle in knife edged pleats which, by some strange transformation, creates a diaphanous feel, at odds with the sharp folds in the fabric. The gown is strapless and is worn with an over skirt in rose-pink design silk chine´ which rests low over the hips.

Worn by Madame Massigli, the wife of the French ambassador to the Court of St James in London, her role included presenting the very finest French couture as both a hostess and a distinguished guest in English society of the day.

Stall Street improvements.

Stall Street improvements.

A project to improve life for pedestrians and make the centre of Bath more attractive will start next Monday 2 February when Bath & North East Somerset Council begins work to make Stall Street virtually traffic free during shopping hours.

Stall Street closed!

Stall Street closed!

The Council wishes to create a safer and more attractive experience for residents, visitors and businesses here by improving the quality of the street.

A new traffic restriction will come into force between 10am and 6pm which will see all but essential vehicles banned from this area. Existing street clutter will be reduced and improvements made including a new level surface throughout, paved with natural stone materials in keeping with Bath’s historical surroundings.

Cllr Caroline Roberts (Lib-Dem, Newbridge), Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “The Council first consulted on proposals to cut vehicle traffic in the City Centre in 2009. Since then, we have spoken to many businesses, residents and other stakeholders and refined our plans accordingly. We think the final result is a very balanced approach to revitalising the city centre to a standard that reflects its status as an international visitor destination and World Heritage Site, and reducing the amount of vehicles in the historic core.”

Stall Street

Stall Street

The paving improvements in Lower Borough Walls and Stall Street will be built in phases throughout the duration of the work, which is anticipated to last 8 months.

To facilitate the first phase of the works, a temporary road closure from 10am to 6pm each day will be implemented at the entrance to Lower Borough Walls. A diversion route will be in place via a two-way system on Hot Bath Street, controlled by traffic signals.

For more information, please visit: http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/stallstreet.

· The Getting Around Bath Transport Strategy was approved by the Council’s Cabinet on Wednesday 12 November 2014. Following the approval by the Council’s Cabinet the Bath Transport Strategy was formally adopted by Bath and North East Somerset Council on Thursday 13 November 2014.
· The long-term vision is that: “Bath will enhance its unique status by adopting measures that promote sustainable transport and reduce the amount of vehicles, particularly in the historic core. This will enable more economic activity and growth while enhancing the city’s special character and environment and improving the quality of life for local people.”
· The pedestrian improvements are part of the Bath Transportation Package. The projects are funded through a combination of Council and Department for Transport and represent £27 million of investment.

Abbey gets creative!

Abbey gets creative!

Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey has appointed design company, ABG Design, and strategic planning consultants, Julia Holberry Associates, to work alongside their Interpretation Officer to develop new and exciting ways of sharing the Abbey’s 1,200 year history with visitors, as part of the Abbey’s long-term Footprint project.
Cornish company ABG Design will be responsible for the creative design of all new interpretation and displays, while Julia Holberry Associates who are based in Oxford will be consulting Bath residents and visitors to understand how people engage with the Abbey in order to help extend and develop the current plans for interpretation, learning and participation.

Howard Miles, Managing Director ABG Design, said: “We’re thrilled to have been selected to work with the Abbey on such a significant project as Footprint. Thousands of people visit the Abbey each month and we feel privileged to be tasked with coming up with the overall look and feel of the interpretation and displays that will help draw them in, enable them to discover the many fascinating stories the Abbey has to tell, and to help them connect with the Abbey on their level.”

Julia Holberry of Julia Holberry Associates, said: “We’re very excited about our role in the Footprint project, which is to ask local people for their feedback about how they engage with the Abbey’s events and activities, what they would like to see more of and, on the basis of those discussions, devise a programme of activities that will inspire everyone to visit, enjoy and learn about the Abbey.”

The photo is of (Left to Right) Ben Gammon (ABG), Oliver Taylor (Bath Abbey), Julia Holberry (Julia Holberry Associates), Howard Miles (ABG) and Chris Hubert (ABG).

The photo is of (Left to Right) Ben Gammon (ABG), Oliver Taylor (Bath Abbey), Julia Holberry (Julia Holberry Associates), Howard Miles (ABG) and Chris Hubert (ABG).

The work being done by both companies will be essential in helping the Abbey meet the Heritage Lottery Fund’s requirements during the Footprint project’s development phase. While the Footprint project is driven by the need to repair the Abbey’s collapsing floor, one of Footprint’s key objectives is to provide a new interpretation centre which will inspire and encourage visitors to explore the church building, its rich history as well as to help people make connections with the Abbey’s present day activities.

Commenting on the two new appointments, Oliver Taylor, Bath Abbey’s Interpretation Officer, said: “Bath Abbey is a thriving church in the centre of Bath with lots of stories to tell, past and present whether it’s about the music, the building or the people. It means different things to different people and everyone connects with it in a different way.

Both teams that we’ll be working with understand the wonderful opportunities, as well as challenges, that this diversity presents. Our aim, through Footprint, is that our new interpretation and activities programme will make the Abbey a more welcoming, exciting and inspiring place for people to visit and explore.”