Victoria Bridge on track for completion by end of year.

Victoria Bridge on track for completion by end of year.

The Victoria Bridge

The Victoria Bridge

The £3.4 million project to refurbish Victoria Bridge is on track for completion by the end of the year. The initiative is being carried out by Bath & North East Somerset Council to make the structure suitable for modern use for the growing population of Bath Riverside and link the Upper and Lower Bristol Road for people on foot and cyclists.

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.

In the past week the bridge was released and is now holding its own weight, which now means that the temporary truss it was suspended from, can be removed.

The removal of the temporary truss will require a continuous closure of the passageway across the Bridge for a duration of three weeks, starting on Monday 3rd November.

During this three week period the towpath and river will in general remain open for use, with some discrete short closures required from time to time for safety critical operations. The route across the bridge will be reopened to the public at the end of the closure period, with only minor bridge closures required from thereon until completion of the works before the end of the year.

Balfour Beatty began construction in March this year which involved the bridge being taken to pieces and reassembled with a series of new, steel components added to make the structure sufficiently strong enough to meet modern bridge design standards. The original Bath stone towers have also been cleaned and conserved and some new foundations built to support the Bridge’s north and south backspans.

Councillor Caroline Roberts (Lib-Dem, Newbridge), Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “The Council is delighted to be making the financial commitment needed to restore one of Bath’s key pieces of infrastructure to support the growing local community and help people move around the city more conveniently. Cyclists are also better connected to National Cycle Route 4.”

A workman tightening bolts of the newly refurbished bridge.

A workman tightening bolts of the newly refurbished bridge.

Councillor Ben Stevens (Lib-Dem, Widcombe), Cabinet Member for Sustainable Communities, said: “Bath’s great strength is symbolised by Victoria Bridge. We are a beautifully innovative city and the design by James Dredge in 1836 was the first example of his taper suspension bridges. This is a Grade Two Star listed structure and it will be rightfully refurbished for future generations to enjoy.”

Pedestrian diversion maps can be found on the project webpage at The nearest footbridges to cross the river are the Windsor Bridge, Stanier Bridge and Midland Bridge. Announcements and timings for forthcoming closures will continue to be communicated by the Council’s Contractor Balfour Beatty via the Twitter feed: @_VictoriaBridge, on the project information boards at either end of the bridge, as well as on the Council’s Victoria Bridge webpage.



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>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=”; rel=”attachment wp-att-481″><img title=”chapel” alt=”” src=”; 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=”; rel=”attachment wp-att-485″><img title=”ralph allen signature” alt=”” src=”; height=”210″ width=”280″ /></a> Clearly ‘Ralph Allen’

<a href=”; rel=”attachment wp-att-486″><img title=”richard nash” alt=”” src=”; height=”168″ width=”224″ /></a> Look down the list for ‘Jo Wood’

<a href=”; rel=”attachment wp-att-483″><img title=”patients report” alt=”” src=”; 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=”; rel=”attachment wp-att-482″><img title=”hospital badges” alt=”” src=”; 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. 2012.

Family photos get civic display.

Family photos get civic display.

Bath & North East Somerset Council is to host a Connecting Families photographic exhibition at its Guildhall offices in October and November.

‘Connecting’ is a family photography project, where parents, children and siblings have worked together to explore various different aspects of photography, many for the first time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATwo families comprising seven people took part in the four-week programme and the photographs they took will be displayed in the Guildhall, Bath, from Monday 27 October to Sunday 2 November, following a recent celebration event and exhibition of their work in 44AD Gallery, 4 Abbey Street, Bath.

The families have worked from a starting point of shape, colour, texture, light and portraiture to capture what they saw around them, what caught their eye, and what was important to them.

Councillor Dine Romero (Lib-Dem, Southdown), the Council’s Cabinet Member for Early Years, Children, and Youth, said: “This fantastic project has produced an amazing variety of photographs and has enabled the two families who took part to tap into their imagination and creativity. It also builds on the work that our Connecting Families team does in the local communities in Bath and the surrounding area.”

The ‘Connecting’ programme was a partnership project which was funded by Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Arts Development team. Families were identified via the Council’s Connecting Families team and the project was carried out by Suited & Booted Studios, led by Chris Kemp, who said “It was a joy to work with and be inspired by the families, and their infectious enthusiasm for the project.”

Families said that “they learned a lot about using a camera and editing photos”. One family member felt that they would not have taken photos without this opportunity and one young girl has since enrolled onto a school photography club.

The ‘Connecting’ exhibition is free of charge and residents and visitors are welcome to pop in and take a look while passing by the Guildhall.

Miner songs see the light

Miner songs see the light

Memories of working in the North Somerset Coalfields will be brought to life at Midsomer Norton library on Tuesday, 28 October.

Midsomer Norton LibraryThe after-hours rendition of music and words will be presented by Tom Randall and Dave Byrne, accompanied by the Guss and Crook Band and Chorus. It takes place from 7pm.

In the early 1970s, in the lead up to the closure of the last of the North Somerset Coalfield pits, Tom Randall discovered a collection of coalfield-related songs in the Somerset Miners’ Association archives.

Other songs have since come to light.

The Guss and Crook Band and Chorus sing them and Tom, together with Dave Byrne, who last year released a CD of these songs and others, will talk about the discovery of the songs and their background.

The music and words will be illustrated with old photographs of the miners and their pits.

Grayson Perry’s work coming to Bath.

Grayson Perry’s work coming to Bath.

An exhibition of tapestries by Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry is coming to Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery in January next year.

While, at the same time, the city gallery has just acquired a print by this colourful and often controversial artist through the generosity of the Art Fund and the Friends of the Victoria Art Gallery.

The Map of Days work by Grayson Perry - acquired by Bath's Victoria Art Gallery.

The Map of Days work by Grayson Perry – acquired by Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery.

The unusual self-portrait – called ‘Map of Days’ – will be hung in the building’s free upper gallery from Tuesday, 28 October onwards.

Rather than depicting the artist’s face, the portrait shows the inner workings of his mind, full of the preoccupations and pitfalls of modern life.

Perry said: “I’ve portrayed myself as a walled city. The wall, I suppose, in some ways represents my physical skin but at the same time it’s permeable. I absorb the influences and the ideas of the landscape I find myself in. I am as much my baggage as the person holding the baggage.”

Councillor Ben Stevens, (Lib-Dem, Widcombe), the Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “Grayson Perry’s ‘Map of Days’ is a fantastic acquisition for the Victoria Art Gallery and we are very grateful for the generosity of the Friends and the Art Fund for enabling us to purchase it. We hope that everyone who views it will find it intriguing and exciting.”

The work features in a new Channel Four television series entitled ‘Who Are You’ that began on Wednesday, 22 nd of October. Grayson Perry turns his attention to identity as he creates portraits from tapestries to sculptures and pots of diverse individuals who are all trying to define who they are.

A closer look at detail.

A closer look at detail.

“It’s a popularly held belief that in the middle of ourselves, our deepest, core-est identity is this sort of pearl, this immutable centre of who we are as individuals. I feel now that that’s a false belief. We perform ourselves over time. This is the thinking behind this self-portrait,” said Perry.

Grayson Perry will also exhibit his tapestries ‘The Vanity of Small Differences’ at the Victoria Art Gallery from 16 January – 10 April 2016.

For his new Channel 4 series, Perry spent time with Britons facing a moment in their lives when they needed to define who they are, and then distils his impressions of each of them into a portrait.

Some of the sitters become miniatures, some large tapestries, some statues and, of course, some pots, but all of the works will be shown in a special display alongside the portraits in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery in London from 25 October.

The Victoria Art Gallery is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm and on Sundays from 1.30pm to 5pm. It is closed on Mondays and Bank Holidays.

Bath museum goes to the theatre!

Bath museum goes to the theatre!

Robert Aickman was an English conservationist and novelist who was notable for co-founding the Inland Waterways Association – but he was also a prolific writer of what he called ‘curious and strange stories.’
Museum of Bath at WorkTo mark the centenary of his birth The Museum of Bath at Work and The Halfpenny Theatre Company are staging a new adaptation of possibly his most famous story..Ringing the Changes.
‘A honeymooning couple turn up in a town at the end of the line. 
Nobody told them about the bells and nothing could prepare them for what was to follow.
 Be warned….’
There will be three performances at the Museum of Bath at Work.
Friday 24th, Saturday 25th October and a special Halloween performance on Friday 31st October …all starting at 7.45 p.m.

Admission is free – as part of Bath & North East Somerset Heritage Open Week Programme – but all donations will be gratefully received!

For more details contact the Museum of Bath at Work , Julian Road, BATH BA1 2RH
Phone 01225 318348

*What they say about The Halfpenny Theatre .
‘ vivid story telling in a unique Museum environment’. **** Venue Magazine

A bit of theatre at Cleveland Pools

A bit of theatre at Cleveland Pools

Performing Arts students have had the honour of taking centre stage at Bath’s beautiful 200-year-old Georgian lido.

University of Bath Spa students at Cleveland Pools.

City of Bath College students at Cleveland Pools.

The students from City of Bath College were invited to perform their own work in the first theatrical performance at Cleveland Pools.

The Grade II listed waterside retreat, which is believed to be the oldest surviving open-air swimming baths in the UK, proved to be the perfect setting for the production by candlelight.

Students explored their thoughts on dying and experiences of bereavement through a series of short stories called ‘A Life Through Death’s Eyes.’

The 11 BTEC Level 3 students put on the public performance next to the main swimming pool and in the original changing rooms on Friday evening.

Members of the audience carried lanterns as students performed the piece of physical theatre, which incorporated singing, dancing, movement and monologue.

Performing Arts lecturer Dominique Fester said Cleveland Pools was one of Bath’s best kept secrets.

Another night-time performance shot.

Another night-time performance shot.

She said: “It was a lovely, intimate setting and everyone was really excited to be performing there. It was an honour to be the first performance, an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“The theatre piece lends itself to a surreal and abstract site. There was certainly a sinister side to the piece so it was all very atmospheric.

“We have been learning about physical theatre, in particular how you can use the body and movement to tell stories and share ideas.

“This piece of theatre was all the students own work, they were inspired by graveyards and had full control over the piece. They decided on the stories and how they were put together.

“I’m very pleased with how they did, I’m proud of them.”

The site, which is in the shape of a miniature Georgian crescent, is to be restored to its former glory after The Cleveland Pools Trust secured £4.1 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The restoration project will conserve the Georgian features and upgrade the facilities to allow for year-round swimming.

Students were invited to perform at Cleveland Pools after staff and students visited the site last month as part of the Heritage Open Days.

Student Bryony Blyth, 19, hopes to go on to study directing at university and said performing in such a historic venue was “a great experience.”

She said: “It was very exciting to perform in such a setting. We had worked so hard on everything and it all came together so well.

“It was about death but it wasn’t all doom and gloom. It was cleverly done so that people would learn new things. For example, it looked at suicide and touched upon the issues of forgiveness and letting go of guilt.”

To find out more about Performing Arts courses offered at City of Bath College, visit or call 01225 312191.

Keynsham’s new One Stop Shop opens its doors.

Keynsham’s new One Stop Shop opens its doors.

The new One Stop Shop and library at Keynsham Civic Centre

The new One Stop Shop and library at Keynsham Civic Centre

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

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

It’s also the place where some of the town’s famous Roman mosaics and other historical artefacts have gone on display.

The mosaic floor is set in a special well covered in toughened glass. There is another mosaic panel on the wall.

The mosaic floor is set in a special well covered in toughened glass. There is another mosaic panel on the wall.

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.

It’s good to see one of the town’s most famous mosaic floorings finally being given pride of place in a public space – but this isn’t a museum.

Artefacts bring interest and atmosphere to the multi-service building but l am hoping some proper labelling will go in to let people know exactly what they are looking at.

A single mosaic panel on a bare wall has no information beside it. Neither does the mosaic flooring beneath its showcase covering.

Kensham folk get their first opportunity to look at the mosaic floor

Keynsham residents get their first opportunity to look at the mosaic floor

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

There are displays of Roman and Medieval remains in window display cases.

There are displays of Roman and Medieval remains in window cases.

Bristol Credit Union
Contact: 0117 924 7309
Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)
Contact: 0344 848 7919
Contact: 01225 366000

Another window display case

Another window display case


Keynsham & District Dial a Ride
Contact: 01225 395321
Contact: 01225 422156 or email
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

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.