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.

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
Email mobaw@hotmail.com
Web http://www.bath-at-work.org.uk

*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 http://www.citybathcoll.ac.uk 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
Curo
Contact: 01225 366000

Another window display case

Another window display case

 

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.

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.