Turning Bath’s past into a digital future.

Turning Bath’s past into a digital future.

There cannot be many people – with an interest in local history – who have not heard of Bath in Time.

It’s an organisation which – since its inception in  2007 – has managed to amass an on-line collection of nearly 28,000 historical images and articles relating to Bath and its environs.

Dan checking images transferred to his online site.

Dan checking images transferred to his online site.

It was all a bit of a gamble for Dan Brown – the man who came up with the idea of a self-sustaining way of digitising the city’s amazing archives.  But one that has paid off as Bath in Time is now well respected and accessed world-wide – 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.

In the last six months over 40,000 visits have been made to the www.bathintime.co.uk/ website from 132 countries around the globe.

These visitors looked at nearly 370,000 pages on the website. As each page contains a minimum of 12 images, a very conservative estimate says that over 4 million historical images were viewed at this time.

All of the original images from the library are locked away at Bath Central Library – or at one of the off-site storage locations – and direct access requires form filling and the time of a member of staff in retrieving each item – one at a time.

Online images for Bath in Time

Online images for Bath in Time

If the number of images viewed online over six months was divided by the number of hours the lib ray was open in that period, this would represent over 3,000 images per hour for every hour of every day – or nearly one per second!

You also have to reckon in that each manual request would take at best five minutes to fulfil with rarely more than a handful of requests being made per day.

Megan and Arthur are recording the details of each image.

Megan and Arthur are recording the details of each image.

Bath in Time is available to all and free to access. Its operational costs supported by the fact you can buy images online – in many different formats.

The Virtual Museum of Bath caught up with Dan – and his two part-time history student helpers from Bath Spa University –  Megan and Arthur – in the middle of on-going work they are doing to photograph and catalogue the unique Hunt Collection.

Let’s allow Dan to tell us more.

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Presents with a personal touch.

Presents with a personal touch.

bath libraryBath Library is organising a couple of Christmas Craft Markets on Saturday the 7th and Saturday 14th of December from 10 am to 3pm. Hand-made gifts for Christmas on offer.

Further up Lansdown Hill, the Museum of Bath at Work also has a Christmas Craft Fayre on the 7th from 10am to 4pm. Handcrafted presents and stocking fillers on offer.

bath at work

Admission is free but a donation to the Museum’s disabled lift fund would be welcomed. You will find the Museum on Julian Road behind Christchurch.

Bath Spa student adds festive colour to Victoria Gallery

Bath Spa student adds festive colour to Victoria Gallery

 

victoria gallery xmas treeA student from Bath Spa University has designed this year’s Christmas tree at Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery. International student Alexandra Voulpioti, who is in her third year of the BA (Hons) Three Dimensional Design: Idea Material Object course is using  3D modelling software.

Bath Spa student, Alexandra Voulpioti

Bath Spa student, Alexandra Voulpioti

The acrylic laser-cut tree is suspended from the ceiling giving it the freedom to spin around its a It consists of 48 individual branches made out of orange, red and purple snowflakes.

Although the tree does not produce any light itself, it reflects all the space’s light through its transparent parts and cut edges which make it glow, creating a colourful, warm atmosphere.

Commenting on being selected to design the Christmas Tree, Alexandra said: “Taking on the Christmas Tree project for the Victoria Art Gallery has been a great pleasure. The Gallery showed an interest in laser cutting and reflections which became the main focus of my design.

victoria gallery xmas treeAs I am in my third year of study I am very busy but I couldn’t resist taking the time to do this project. I love Bath and it is an honor being part of bringing the Christmas atmosphere to one of its main galleries.”victoria gallery xmas tree

The Victoria Art Gallery has a tradition of commissioning a Christmas tree every year created by local artists. The artists can be as imaginative and creative as they like, so it is always a great surprise and delight when the tree is unveiled. The tree will have pride of place in the entrance through to 6 January 2014.

Bath's Victoria Art Gallery.

Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery.

Marian McNeir, Trustee of the Friends of the Victoria Art Gallery, said how impressed they had been by Alexandra’s design: “There is a simplicity yet also a sense of drama about her design which I know will fascinate visitors. Alexandra is a very talented student and we are delighted to support her and Bath Spa University.”

The Christmas tree was unveiled at the Gallery on Wednesday, December 4th during a VIP reception for a selection of guests including Dean of the School of Art and Design at Bath Spa University, Professor Anita Taylor.

More information about the Victoria Art Gallery and its latest exhibitions can be found at http://www.victoriagal.org.uk/

Lights up Bath

Lights up Bath

I have seen a lantern procession before – a couple of hundred kids and their parents and grandparents climbing up Totnes High Street to the town square – but nothing on the scale of what l witnessed last night in Bath.

lanterns in totnes

lanterns in totnes

photo 4

The Bath centaur

Must say l was a bit anxious for the safety of the hundreds expected to walk up Great Pulteney Street from their start point at the Holburne Museum.

There were no police on duty for the procession and no signs to re-direct traffic.

I was at the Laura Place end of Pulteney Bridge with a security man who was not quite sure  in which direction he was meant to stop traffic and he had no walkie-talkie to find out either!

photo 2

The procession passes Bath Abbey

Buses, taxis and cars were still whizzing around as we could hear the sound of the samba band leading a procession of at least six to eight hundred people.

As it happened they had come up the street on the wide pavement and – having crossed Laura Place – past the defunct and sorry-looking fountain – climbed back onto the pavement to cross Pulteney Bridge and make their way towards Bath Abbey.

Well done to everyone involved – it was a grand affair.

Good to see all the generations mixed together and enjoying themselves with Bath’s first real nod towards the Christmas festivities that lie ahead.

Sorry l only caught the tail-end – but here’s a bit of the flavour of the people of this wonderful city enjoying themselves.

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Great marketing!

Great marketing!

Bath’s annual Christmas Market is about to come to a successful end. Today – Sunday, December 15th- is the last day of trading.
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Around 155 chalets scattered around the Abbey and in Bath Street enjoyed good crowds and much better weather – overall – than last year!

It’s bold, brash, busy and rapidly becoming part of the city’s heritage – it also means a lot financially to stall holders and established traders alike.

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‘Steam-Punk’ Christmas at American Museum.

‘Steam-Punk’ Christmas at American Museum.

american museumHaving been lucky enough to join members and volunteers at last night’s preview of Christmas at the American Museum l can certainly say that this year’s Yule-tide take is very different. If like me you are not too familiar with the expression ‘steam-punk’ you may like to pause and look up its definition as l did.

Try Urban Dictionary: steampunk.

So – taking that idea as a creative base – curator Kate Hebert and her band of willing helpers – decided to celebrate ingenious inventions throughout history with each period room dedicated to a different innovation from the crazy swim fins invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1717 to the swivel chair designed by Thomas Jefferson, who reputedly drafter the Declaration of Independence while sitting in his creation.american museum

I have been chatting to some of the volunteers and Museum staff.

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american museumThe adults love the displays and all the decorations but there is an added extra to delight younger visitors. Professor Crank is having trouble with his time machine and pieces are dropping off wherever he lands.

So it’s up to the junior detectives to see if they can spot the cogs and levers that have fallen off in the Period Rooms.

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The magnificent 17-foot Somerset grown Christmas tree that fills the Central Hall is smothered in handcrafted decorations and these ornaments offer inspiration to visitors year after year. P1060956

The Museum’s shops are also decked out in more than just boughs of holly with a vast assortment of Christmas gifts and decorations.

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The Christmas Craft Fair at which local craftspeople will be selling their original handmade gifts is also happening from the 13th to the 15th of December. On Sunday, December 22nd Father Christmas will be at the Museum to help celebrate the last day of the Christmas festivities. More information about everything via www.americanmuseum.org

Widcombe ‘make-over’ to go on display.

Widcombe ‘make-over’ to go on display.

 

Proposed improvements to transform Widcombe Parade, Bath into a more pleasant, safe environment for people on foot and cyclists are  to go on display on Saturday 30 November 2013.white-hart-inn

The scheme for the A36 Rossiter Road takes through traffic, including HGV’s, away from Widcombe Parade. As a result, significant improvements can be made to the public realm on Widcombe Parade that will support trade to thrive.

Local people can see the proposals at the Natural Theatre Studio, Widcombe Hill opposite St. Matthews Church between 2pm and 7pm.

Councillor Caroline Roberts (Lib-Dem, Newbridge), Cabinet Member for Transport, said, “The Council has worked closely with the Widcombe Association and traders to create a scheme that will make Widcombe Parade a far more pleasant, safe and welcoming environment for people on foot and cyclists. This will also help traders as people are more likely to shop here as a result.

“What people can expect on Widcombe Parade is low traffic speeds, new crossings, high quality paving materials, improved parking and delivery arrangements together with two-way cycle access on the carriageway eastbound and a contra flow cycle lane to provide two-way cycling as part of a widened footway westbound. A landmark tree will also be put in place at the end of the Parade, close to the Halfpenny Bridge. Our timescale for completion is end of 2014.

Paddy Doyle, Chairman of the Widcombe Association, said, “After more than 30 years of unstinting effort on our part, the Widcombe Association is delighted that final detailed designs are now available for this project. The Council have put forward some very attractive proposals that will have huge benefits for all who use Widcombe village centre. I urge everyone who has an interest in improving the environment of the Parade to visit the exhibition and see for themselves what is proposed.”

For those who cannot make the exhibition, the proposals will be on the Council’s website from Friday 29 November –www.bathnes.gov.uk/widcombescheme

Key aspects of the scheme

  • Reversing the direction of traffic flow along Widcombe Parade to be one way eastbound;
  • New set of traffic signals controlling the junction of Rossiter Road and Pulteney Road, with Pulteney Road accommodating two way traffic;
  • Light traffic access to Widcombe Parade, Prior Park Road and Widcombe Hill from a new traffic signal controlled junction at the west end of Widcombe Parade;
  • Smaller vehicles, travelling eastbound on Rossiter Road, permitted to make right turn into Lyncombe Hill;
  • Double mini roundabout at the junction of Widcombe Parade with Widcombe Hill and Prior Park Road;
  • A separate project will see Rossiter Road connected with the wider Bath cycle network.

Following the original consultation in early 2011 with local people, some important changes have been made. These include:

  • Vehicles being able to directly access Lyncombe Hill from the west and the east;
  • A drop-off for Bath Spa Railway station on Rossiter Road;
  • Traffic signal junction to a double mini roundabout at the bottom of Ralph Allen Drive and Widcombe Hill.

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Historic Huntsman back in business.

Historic Huntsman back in business.

The Huntsman Pub

The Huntsman Pub

Bath gets ready to welcome back The Huntsman pub into its drinking fold.

The historic building – in front of Ralph Allen’s classic townhouse – was once a Georgian Coffee House. Along with the Crystal Palace on Abbey Green – recently refurbished – and The Boater just off Laura Place – the pub has been bought by Fuller’s  Brewery.

It’s a Grade ll listed building with the oldest shop-front in the city – dating back to 1680.

The ornate canopied side-entrance to The Huntsman

The ornate canopied side-entrance to The Huntsman

Now the outside has been cleaned and restored there is time to admire the amazing ornate porch canopy to the side. Doors open to drinkers tomorrow – Wednesday, November 27th.

Pop-up Apres Ski outside the Abbey Hotel.

Pop-up Apres-Ski outside the Abbey Hotel.

Just across the way the Abbey Hotel is getting it’s pop-up Apres-Ski Bar ready for joining in the festive fun. It’s a fair-sized wooden chalet which has been set up on the pavement outside the hotel.

Creative Christmas at the Vic

Creative Christmas at the Vic

The Victoria Art Gallery.

The Victoria Art Gallery.

Visitors to the Victoria Art Gallery can get into the festive spirit with “Decorate December” (from Sunday 1 December through to Sunday 5 January 2014) where they can explore the Gallery to find hidden reindeer!

A “Decorating Fashion” drop-in event takes place at the Fashion Museum on Sunday 15 December, from 12 noon to 3pm. Here children can have a go at creating their own fashion-related festive decorations.

The Victoria Art Gallery stages “Fantastic Festivities” on Saturday 21 December, from 2pm to 3.30pm. Children aged 5-11 are welcome to make wise men and Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer. Tickets cost £4 per child; children must be accompanied by an adult and places should be booked in advance on 01225 477233

The Roman Baths.

The Roman Baths.

On Saturday 28 December, the Roman Baths invites you to “Celebrate the New Year!” from 11am to 3pm. You can find out about Janus – the Roman god of beginnings and transitions – from where the month January gets its name, and design your own Janus New Year spinner to hang up at home.

Normal admission charges apply, but all the activities are free once on site (except for “Fantastic Festivities”). Bath & North East Somerset Council residents are entitled to free admission with a Discovery Card.

For all these events, children must be accompanied by an adult.

For more details of heritage events including listings, the online leaflet and website links for the Roman Baths, Fashion Museum and Victoria Art Gallery, visit www.bathnes.gov.uk/heritageevents or pick up a leaflet in your local library.