Lovely day at the Lido

Lovely day at the Lido

The Bath Spa Band opened the proceedings

The Bath Spa Band opened the proceedings. Click on images to enlarge.

Cleveland Pools trustee Paul Simons (in the stripes and hat) introduces the children from St Benedict's Primary School and was compere for the day.

Cleveland Pools trustee Paul Simons (in the stripes and hat) introduces the children from St Benedict’s Primary School and was compere for the day.

More than 400 people descended upon Bath’s historic Cleveland Pools on the Fourth of July to help celebrate 200 years of swimming in this remarkable historic spot by the River Avon at Bathwick.

Fine weather encouraged them to wander around the site and engage in the activities on offer. Many settled on the bank by the main pool to get a good view of the entertainment which continued throughout the day.

A family enjoying their picnic by the main pool

A family enjoying their picnic by the main pool

The Natural Theatre Company, along with children from their Young People’s Company interacted with the crowd in an array of different costumes and guises, surprising adults and children as they went.

The Natural Theatre Company, along with children from their Young People's Company interacted with the crowd in an array of different costumes and guises, surprising adults and children as they went.

The Natural Theatre Company, along with children from their Young People’s Company interacted with the crowd in an array of different costumes and guises, surprising adults and children as they went.

Meanwhile, St Benedict’s Primary School from Midsomer Norton, did two performances of a play especially devised for the occasion by Petra Schofield of Magic Penny Productions. They also sang original songs by music teacher Myra Barretto.

Bath MP Ben Howlett (right) enjoys a joke with Peter Rollins from the Thermae Bath Spa and Fiona Humphreys from Bath Tourism Plus.   All three are keen supporters of the Cleveland Pools project.

Bath MP Ben Howlett (right) enjoys a joke with Peter Rollins from the Thermae Bath Spa and Fiona Humphreys from Bath Tourism Plus.
All three are keen supporters of the Cleveland Pools project.

Special visitors to the site included the Mayor of Bath, Cllr Will Sandry, and the city’s newly-elected MP Ben Howlett.

There were lots of displays featuring the history of this late Georgian lido and plenty of merchandise to buy to help with fund-raising. The Cleveland Pools Trust – with the help of ear-marked Heritage Lottery Funding – aim to bring the pools back to their former glory.

Volunteer Verity Baetke on the Cleveland Pools merchandise stall

Volunteer Verity Baetke on the Cleveland Pools merchandise stall

Ann Dunlop, Cleveland Pools Chair, said: “ It was wonderful to see so many people come and support us for this special day.

Bath Mayor Will Sandry with Cleveland Pools chairman Ann Dunlop and adviser Mary Sabina Stacey from Bristol. Mary is the lead organiser for all the Bicentenary events for the Cleveland Pools this year.

Bath Mayor Will Sandry with Cleveland Pools chairman Ann Dunlop and adviser Mary Sabina Stacey from Bristol. Mary is the lead organiser for all the Bicentenary events for the Cleveland Pools this year.

We were disappointed not to be able to offer boat rides to the Pools from Pulteney Weir to add more fun to the experience of the day, but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and still got here! If they come back for our Heritage Open Days in September, maybe we can offer them boat rides then – we’ll see.

In the meantime, if anyone missed out on buying a poster, or they want to find out more about our project, please come and see us on our stall at the Bath City Conference in the Guildhall on Friday 10th July at the Guildhall between 12pm and 6pm “.

he group of 7-year old school children from St Benedict's Primary School in Midsomer Norton who performed a play by Petra Schofield called 'Our Trip to the Pools'.

he group of 7-year old school children from St Benedict’s Primary School in Midsomer Norton who performed a play by Petra Schofield called ‘Our Trip to the Pools’.

The Cleveland Pools is the UK’s oldest surviving Georgian open-air swimming pool, built 1815-17, and tucked away next to the river in Bathwick. It is Grade 2*-listed, and one of Bath’s important heritage landmarks.

It closed for swimming in 1984 and briefly became a trout farm before a campaign began to bring the pools back to their former glory.

The Cleveland Pools Trust won their bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund in July 2014, resulting in a grant worth £4.1million being ear-marked for the Trust if they meet all the criteria set for the various stages of development and delivery.

In January 2015, project director Christopher Heath was appointed to start managing and co-ordinating all remits with trustees, engaging with specialist professionals, and consulting with stakeholders so that the Pools will win back its place on the Bath map.

The aim is to have the Cleveland Pools fully restored for swimming again by 2017/18. The Cleveland Pools Trust will ensure that the site will also be used for its historic interest, and hired out as a venue so that it can be kept open all year round.

Marek Lewcun stands in the spot in the empty children's pool where he nearly drowned aged three.  He remembers seeing the bubbles rising in front of him. He never learnt to swim because of this experience until he was persuaded a couple of years ago.

Marek Lewcun stands in the spot in the empty children’s pool where he nearly drowned aged three. He remembers seeing the bubbles rising in front of him.
He never learnt to swim because of this experience until he was persuaded a couple of years ago.

The main sponsors for the Cleveland Pools bicentenary events are Savills

Michael Witt who's father did a massive belly-flop from this spot off a diving board in the 60s.

Michael Witt who’s father did a massive belly-flop from this spot off a diving board in the 60s.

Bath and the trust are hoping that more companies and individuals will come forward.

The Trust has got a long way to go with their own fundraising before the dream of opening the Pools for swimming again is realised.

There is still approximately £390,000 still to raise by July 2016; this is match-funding element of the project, and the trustees hope to achieve this with a Crowdfunding campaign in the forthcoming weeks and months.

Anyone wishing to donate is asked to click on the donate button on the Cleveland Pools website.

All photographs in this report – provided by marketing trustee Sally Helvey – are courtesy of BeataCosgrovePhotography.com and you can find many more of them on the Cleveland Pools website.
http://www.clevelandpools.org.uk/gallery/index.php/RECENT-EVENTS/2015-PARTY-AT-THE-POOLS—Bicentenary-celebrations-4th-July

Floral tribute to Bath Rugby

Floral tribute to Bath Rugby

The new three dimensional Bath Rugby floral display.

The new three dimensional Bath Rugby floral display. Click on images to enlarge.

Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Parks Department has created a striking new 3D floral display of a rugby player to mark Bath Rugby’s 150th anniversary.
The display, which can be viewed in the city’s Parade Gardens, is made up of around 8,000 of plants and flowers and features a rugby player about to kick a ball, wearing the distinctive hooped Bath Rugby jersey.
The character was created by eight members of the horticultural team over a period of two months, following a commission from Bath Rugby as part of celebrations to mark the historic anniversary.

One of the oldest rugby clubs in existence, Bath Rugby was founded in 1865, going on to become a club that is today steeped in history with a proud heritage of success.

Looks like a drop kick towards the statue of Peace.

Looks like a drop kick towards the statue of Peace.

Cllr Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North) Cabinet Member for Community Services said: “This fantastic figure clearly demonstrates the skill of the team which works so hard to look after our parks and green spaces – ensuring Bath and North East Somerset is a beautiful place for residents and visitors alike.”
Tarquin McDonald, Bath Rugby’s Managing Director, said: “As a club, we are honoured to have a display of one our players on show in such a beautiful part of the city. Bath wouldn’t be the magnificent city it is without all its greenery, and the horticultural team does a great job in maintaining it.”

Summer flowers await visitors to the city's Parade Gardens.

Summer flowers await visitors to the city’s Parade Gardens.

The Council’s Nursery and Parks supervisor, Matt Soan, said: “We’re really pleased with the outcome, and the comments from the general public have been great. We used White Hypoestes for the white hoop; Alternanthera for the black; Echevaria for the blue. The skin was planted using pink Hypoestes.

This is the first rugby player created by the team but we’ve created lots of 3D characters in the past – including Bob the Builder, steam trains, and The Herbs – which helped South West in Bloom win awards at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2014.”
Anyone interested in placing an order for a 3D horticultural creation from the Parks team should contact 01225 394041; email councilconnect@bathnes.gov.uk or call the office at Royal Victoria Park Bath Marlborough lane Bath BA12LZ.

Now you see it and now you don’t.

Now you see it and now you don’t.

Things looking good now at Bath's Victoria Bridge.

Things looking good now at Bath’s Victoria Bridge. Click on images to enlarge.

The new surface on the Victoria Bridge.

The new surface on the Victoria Bridge.

My first real venture into town since the onset of shingles and time to catch up on a few city ‘events’ – including the new surface that l see has now been laid for pedestrians and cyclists across the newly-restored Victoria Bridge.

Bath’s very own unique suspension bridge – NOT designed by IK Brunel – has had a multi million pound refit but the flexible surface coating laid over the bridge was proving to be a problem with sections of it lifting.

It has now been completely replaced and the whole structure is looking good.

Some of the new angular town houses Crest are constructing on the riverside.

Some of the new angular town houses Crest are constructing on Western Riverside.

Snapped a section of the new town houses Crest are busy erecting on one side of it.

Unusual architecture and – for some – a welcome change to the more block-like structures that have been also transforming this once industrial landscape.

Kings mead House where are you?

Kingsmead House where are you?

Talking of block-like structures – the old – and long-time empty -Kingsmead House has finally been raised to the ground on the corner of Charles Street and West Street.

Admire the new space while you can as the original footprint will again be used again for a new hi-rise construction. This time – an hotel l believe.

The new improved corner at WestGate.

The new improved corner at WestGate.

Try as l might l cannot see the value of the money that has been spent on the corner where Saw Close meets West Gate Street.

It’s supposed to make things safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

'Improving' things for pedestrians and cyclists?

‘Improving’ things for pedestrians and cyclists?

All they seem to have done is use tarmac and decorative paving stones to raise the surface.

This is a popular area with people crossing into Kingsmead Square and has been a construction site for several months. When the dust finally settles we shall see.

Wartime letters to Bath Mayor links with past.

Wartime letters to Bath Mayor links with past.

The Bath Records Office. A WWI letter from Mrs S. Higgins asking about her son addressed to the Mayor of Bath. June 2015. Photographer Freia Turland e:info@ftphotography.co.uk m:07875514528 Click on images to enlarge.

The Bath Record Office. A WWI letter from Mrs S. Higgins asking about her son addressed to the Mayor of Bath. June 2015. Photographer Freia Turland e:info@ftphotography.co.uk m:07875514528 Click on images to enlarge.

Poignant wartime letters written to the Mayor of Bath have been uncovered during a major cataloguing project carried out by Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Archive Service.

This 18-month project, funded by the National Cataloguing Grants Programme for Archives, catalogued Bath city records from the 12th to the 21st centuries and was carried out by a team of 25 volunteers working with the Council’s Archive Service.

The Bath Records Office. Hannah Little and Jessica Smith look through the WWI letters sent to the Mayor during the war.  June 2015. Photographer Freia Turland e:info@ftphotography.co.uk m:07875514528

The Bath Record Office. Hannah Little and Jessica Smith look through the WWI letters sent to the Mayor during the war. June 2015. Photographer Freia Turland e:info@ftphotography.co.uk m:07875514528

Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “This has been a fascinating project and the Council is very grateful to the many volunteers who gave their time and skills, as well as to the National Cataloguing Grants Programme for Archives for funding this.”

The project uncovered Mayor’s office files from the First World War (1914-1918) which illustrate how people’s lives were touched by the war.

One very moving letter from Mrs Higgins, a widow of Trinity Square in Walcot Street, asks the Mayor to intervene on her behalf. All six of her sons had enlisted, and one was hospitalised in a distant military hospital which she couldn’t afford the train fare to visit.

The Bath Records Office. A WWI letter from the RSPCA for the request of a Badge / Flag Day to raise funds for sick and wounded war horses addressed to the Mayor of Bath. June 2015. Photographer Freia Turland e:info@ftphotography.co.uk m:07875514528

The Bath Record Office. A WWI letter from the RSPCA for the request of a Badge / Flag Day to raise funds for sick and wounded war horses addressed to the Mayor of Bath. June 2015. Photographer Freia Turland e:info@ftphotography.co.uk m:07875514528

In her letter, she asks the Mayor to arrange for her son to be transferred to a Bath Hospital. She explains that he is suffering from a diseased heart and rheumatism, and has spent over three years in France with only one spell of leave.

In her letter she talks about her other five sons; one was killed in action in 1917, two others are in hospital in other parts of England, one is serving in Baghdad, and the youngest, just 18, has recently joined up.

The letter is written in September 1918, only weeks before war ended, but sadly not all of her five remaining sons returned home. The son who Mrs Higgins could not visit died in hospital the following year.
The files also contain many requests for fundraising events, from street-collections to concerts. To limit the demands on public generosity the Mayor restricted street-collections to one a month.

The mayor’s files are all available to view in Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Record Office at The Guildhall. The list of Mayor’s files can be viewed on the Archive Service website http://www.batharchives.co.uk/our-collections

Benedictine Bath

Benedictine Bath

The poster gives a good idea of what is happening . Click on image to enlarge.

The poster gives a good idea of what is happening . Click on image to enlarge.

The Monastic Community at Downside Abbey have organised a week of special events to celebrate a thousand years of Benedictine links with Bath. It will be held at different locations around the city from July the 6th to the 10th.

Click on the poster alongside for more information or use the email addresses mentioned below.

As part of the project a small team at St John’s Hospital is producing a display, illustrating the Charity’s historical connections with the Catholic Church. The charity has been helping disadvantaged people since 1174!

Prior Administrator Leo Maidlaw-Davies, will open the event on Monday 6th July, firstly with a blessing at Bath Abbey, before Chaplain John Goodden welcomes him and others from Downside to the Chapel of St Michael’s Within.

Special walking tours will be organised by the Mayor’s Guides, taking in seven venues along the route, all of which have a connection with the project.

Anyone interested in “Benedictine Bath” should contact Steve Parsons at Downside Abbey on 01761 235 323 or email SParsons@downside.co.uk
or Susie Champion at St John’s on 01225 486422, alternatively by email on susie.champion@stjohnsbath.org.uk

£38 million to find – where will the cuts fall.

£38 million to find – where will the cuts fall.

A comprehensive review of all spending by Bath and North East Somerset Council has been launched by the authority’s new Conservative administration.

Bath's Guildhall.

Bath’s Guildhall.

The review is taking place in response to the need for the Council to find an estimated £38 million worth of savings over the next four years as a result of continuing reductions to the amount of grant the Council receives from Government, as well as demographic pressures from an ageing population.

This figure of £38 million is even larger than the £32 million worth of savings the Council had to find in the previous four years, and is equivalent to around 16% of all the Council’s day-to-day spending, on top of the savings already achieved.

Conservatives have said that the aim of the spending review will be to maximise the level of efficiency savings that can be made within the Council and put the authority on a sound financial footing for the long-term. However, they have warned that the scale of the savings required will mean difficult decisions will have to be taken, and that it is inevitable that some services will have to be reduced.

Once complete, the review will form the basis of a four-year financial plan for the authority, due to be agreed by Councillors next February.

Councillor Charles Gerrish (Cons, Keynsham North), the Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance & Efficiency, said:

“The Council is going to have to find an even larger number of savings in the next four years than it did in the past four. Closing this £38 million gap will be a huge task and will mean some very tough choices have to be made about which services to prioritise.

Flowers blooming in Parade Gardens. How might it and other parks be affected by cut-backs.

Flowers blooming in Parade Gardens. How might it and other parks be affected by cut-backs.

“To put the scale of the challenge in context, £38 million is more than the entire amount the Council spends on Children’s Services each year.

“In order to meet this challenge, we have started work on a comprehensive review of all Council spending – building the Council’s budget from the ground up so that we can put B&NES on a sound financial footing.

“Our priority will be to squeeze out every last efficiency saving and find innovative ways of delivering services. We won’t take the easy option of simply taking the axe to vital services, but with such an unprecedented level of savings required some things the Council does will inevitably have to be cut back.”

The results of the spending review will inform the Cabinet’s budget proposals, to will be published early next year.

Virtual Museum note: The Virtual Museum of Bath declares an interest in heritage sites under the Council’s control. One wonders what plans they have for letting other people run things like the town’s parks, the Lawn in Queen Square and even the Victoria Art Gallery. Maybe the Guildhall itself will be off-loaded to a private concern? How will libraries be affected and how much more can they cut back on refuse collection and street cleaning – already two areas that could do with MORE investment.

East Park and Ride still on cards – but where?

East Park and Ride still on cards – but where?

The new Conservative administration on B&NES Council says it’s to move forward with plans to build a long-awaited new Park & Ride on the east of Bath.

At the first public meeting of the Council’s new Cabinet next Wednesday 8th park and rideJuly, the authority’s Conservative leadership will consider a report which outlines plans to launch a public consultation to find the best location for an East of Bath Park & Ride.

Details of the consultation process will be published once a final assessment of potential Park & Ride sites has been completed, with the consultation anticipated to be underway by the autumn. Conservatives have said they want the Park & Ride to have minimal visual impact and are keen to ensure that residents are given a full and proper say over where the new Park & Ride should be built, with the more than one option for a potential site put forward for consultation.

Delivering plans for the long-discussed new Park & Ride on the east of Bath was a key commitment by the Conservatives during May’s local elections, and forms part of a wider package of measures aimed at tackling Bath’s traffic problems.

Some of the other transport proposals put forward by the Council’s new administration include:

· Supporting plans for more frequent local rail services through the MetroWest rail project;
· Backing the re-opening Corsham train station and continuing to investigate options for a station in or around Saltford;
· Promoting the use of more sustainable transport options like cycling, walking, or using the bus;
· Seeking to improve traffic flows in the city and continuing to investigate the potential of further projects to reduce the amount of through-traffic on the east of the city.

Councillor Anthony Clarke (Cons, Lansdown), who is the B&NES Cabinet Member for Transport, said:

“Before the election we promised to bring forward plans to deliver Bath’s long-awaited fourth Park & Ride on the east of the city, and we remain committed to this.

“By reducing the number of cars that need to drive into the city from the east of Bath, this Park & Ride, alongside the other measures we are proposing, will help to address Bath’s unacceptable levels of traffic and air pollution.”

Commenting on the process for deciding the best location for the Park & Ride, Councillor Clarke added:

“We are committed to ensuring that residents in the area are properly consulted over these plans and are given a genuine say over where the new Park & Ride should go.

“This means we plan to put forward more than one potential site for consultation, so that we can choose the best location for the new Park & Ride which is as shielded from view as possible.”

Walcot Councillor Fiona Darey (Cons), whose ward includes the notoriously congested London Road, commented:

“I’m sure that residents in my community of Walcot will be very pleased to see that the Council’s new administration is moving quickly to bring forward long-promised plans for an East of Bath Park & Ride.

“This is something which has been needed for many years in order to help reduce traffic on the east of Bath, but which previous Councils have been unable to deliver.

“Residents living in and around the London Road shouldn’t have to put up with such high levels of traffic and pollution on a daily basis, so I’m glad the Council is taking the need to address this issue seriously.”