Documenting the old Destructor.

Documenting the old Destructor.

The old Destructor Bridge.

The old Destructor Bridge.

People using the towpath on the Upper Bristol Road side of the River Avon and where it passed under the old Destructor Bridge should be warned that access will be lost from September 21st.

That’s when contractors get down to the serious business of excavating to provide bank supports for the new pedestrian and cycle bridge that is going to be strung across the River Avon at this point .

Crest Nicholson – who are developing the Western Riverside – called in local production company Sunflower Film and Creative Agency Limited to produce two films – available on YouTube – which document both the dismantling of the old Destructor Bridge and site preparations for the construction of a new pedestrian and cyclist replacement.

Do follow the links below for Parts 1 & 2.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82VLckgTIZM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-5ygL97jXQ

My thanks to Crest Nicholson and Sunflower for this. Find out more about the local production company on www.sunflowerfca.co.uk

A blot on the landscape?

A blot on the landscape?

A blot of the landscape?

A blot of the landscape?

The people who maintain Bath’s parks usually take great

A closer look at that pile of rubble! Click on image to enlarge.

A closer look at that pile of rubble! Click on image to enlarge.

care over their appearance so you can imagine my shock when l came across a huge pile of earth and rubble beside a path in the city’s illustrious Royal Victoria Park.

The notice board which explain all! Click on image to enlarge.

The notice board which explain all! Click on image to enlarge.

Turns out – when you get closer and read the notice board – that this rubble is – l quote – ‘destined to become part of a new colourful wildflower area in Royal Victoria Park.’

The pile apparently comes from ‘the excavations for the new RVP skatepark’ so B&NES is ‘helping to recycle material which would otherwise have gone to landfill.’

This 46 acre site is a very early example of a British public park and was designed in 1829. Building work started in January of the following year with nearly 200 men employed on the project.

The Duchess of Kent and her daughter Princess Victoria officially opened the park on October 28th 1830 – hence the name Royal Victoria Park.

Tower team climb new heights!

Tower team climb new heights!

Bath Abbey’s Tower Tour team this week (August 12th) completed the equivalent of scaling Mont Blanc by climbing up and down the Abbey’s 212 steep steps, ninety-eight times in four hours.

The endurance challenge raised just under £2000 for the Footprint Project, a £19.3 million works programme to make Bath Abbey fit for the 21st Century.

The nine tower guides who took on the tower challenge.

The nine tower guides who took on the tower challenge. Click on image to enlarge.

The nine tour guides, led by Holly Doughty, Tower Tour Team Leader, were originally due to tackle the equivalent of the National Three Peaks, an impressive 3,407 metres. They quickly realised however, that they were going to hit this target with time to spare. Instead of resting on their laurels, the team decided to push for another peak.

They completed a further 28 laps to conquer the summit of Mont Blanc, 4,810 metres.
Crowds of well-wishers including Deputy Mayor Shaun McGall turned up to cheer on the tower guides as they conquered lap after lap of gruelling thigh splitting climbing. And the Abbey bells rang out ‘Climb Every Mountain’ every hour.

As the team completed the final lap to hit the top of Mont Blanc, Holly Doughty, Tower Tour Team Leader, announced the good news: “I am so proud of all of us. Although our knees may be numb and legs a little bit shakey, we can say with great pride that we have put in our best effort for Bath Abbey’s Footprint project.

We were greatly inspired by Edward Mason and his band of Footprint walkers who recently completed a 140 mile walk from Bath Abbey to Lambeth Palace. We wanted to do something just as challenging and we can now safely say we’ve done that.”

Charles Curnock, Bath Abbey’s Footprint Project Director, praised the guide’s efforts saying: “The Tower Tour team have achieved something brilliant here today, they should be incredibly proud of themselves. It really feels as though we are making great progress to raise awareness of the Footprint Project and hit our targets for the Heritage Lottery Funding. I look forward to building on this momentum in these last crucial months before the next funding round.”

In May last year, Bath Abbey’s Footprint project received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a full award of £10 million. The Abbey has already raised nearly half of the £7.1 million of match funding to unlock the full award with just over £4 million left to raise from a combination of charitable trusts, foundations, private donors and public fundraising events.

Bath Abbey in the evening sunlight.

Bath Abbey in the evening sunlight.

The £19.3 million Footprint project aims to carry out essential repairs to the Abbey’s collapsing floor, install a new eco-friendly heating system using Bath’s unique hot springs as a source of energy and enlarge capacity by creating 200sq metres of new facilities to fulfil the Abbey as a place of congregation, equal access and hospitality.

A programme is also planned to record and interpret the Abbey’s 1,200 years of history and this iconic church for millions of visitors including educational visits.
For further details about Bath Abbey, please visit www.bathabbey.org

To find out more about the Footprint Project and to sponsor the tower guides please visit www.bathabbey.org/threepeakstowerchallenge or contact Katie McGill on 01225 303314 / kmcgill@bathabbey.org
Ends

Delights to come at the ‘Dell’.

Delights to come at the ‘Dell’.

Work to replace a public aerial walkway at the Great Dell in Royal Victoria Park – opening up some breath-taking, tree-top views – has begun.

Walkway under construction. Click on image to enlarge.

Walkway under construction. Click on image to enlarge.

The restoration is being carried out by Bath & North East Somerset Council.

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The notice telling park users about the work. Click on image to enlarge.

The walkway was built 20 years ago, but some parts had fallen into disrepair, limiting public access.

A former stone quarry, the Great Dell was designed by influential landscape designer William Beckford and planted out in the 1840s with a collection of unusual and specimen trees, including large north American conifers.

P1130410

Another view of the platform walkway under construction and which should be ready by the end of next month. Click on image to enlarge.

Councillor Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North), Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “This project will once again allow full access to the Dell, with its breath-taking views. This is part of our plans to help restore the original vision for the site as an important local arboretum.”

Work is expected to take two months and some areas will need to be closed during this period. Members of the public are asked not to enter fenced areas and to follow any advice from the Council’s contractors to stay safe.

Odd Down mystery

Odd Down mystery

The certificate presented to Flt Lt Davis DFC.

The certificate presented to Flt Lt Davis DFC. Click on images to enlarge.

Let’s see if anyone in the Bath area can help a Virtual Museum regular from further afield with some more information on two items he has in his possession with a real Odd Down connection.

Gary Whitley made contact with me by email and has enclosed two pictures of the two embellished and framed certificates he wants help with.

The certificate presented to James Tanner. Click on images to enlarge.

The certificate presented to James Tanner. Click on images to enlarge.

“The one to James E Tanner I bought from a second-hand shop in Kidderminster
about thirty years ago, it has the date 1939-1945 at the base (name and date
in red).

The other to Flt. Lt. Davies (name in gold with no initials and no date at
base) I bought from an antique fair in Stratford-on-Avon about two years
ago.

Any information would be much appreciated.”

Do let me know if you have information and l will pass it on to Gary.

New eye on Bath

New eye on Bath

Backs of Georgian houses. © Tony McNicol

Backs of Georgian houses. © Tony McNicol

The city of Bath is a major tourist magnet – drawing in around four and a half million visitors each year and – as a member of the Mayor of Bath’s Corps of Honorary Guides – l am one of many local people who volunteer to show some of them around.

Alexandra Park, Bath, UK, May 16, 2015. © Tony McNicol

Alexandra Park, Bath, UK, May 16, 2015. © Tony McNicol

It is a place with World Heritage status – partly awarded for its architecture and setting – something our visitors are keen to record with cameras, smart phones and tablets.

Images – amongst many taken on their travels – that they will probably puzzle over when they get home.

But now for the more serious photographers amongst them – and of course for local people with an eye for an image – an opportunity to explore the UK’s most photogenic city in expert camera-company.

Professional photographer, Tony McNicol.

Professional photographer, Tony McNicol.

The ‘new kid on the Bath stone block’ is The Bath Photo Tour, a three-hour private walking tour,  guided by professional photographer, Tony McNicol, which takes in Bath’s most iconic locations, as well as some lesser known spots.

On the tour, participants learn to get the most out of their camera, whether a smart phone, a point-and-shoot, or a high-end DSLR.

Tours can include as much or as little instruction as needed, such as on the basics of composition and colour, aperture and shutter speed, the best lenses to use for different subjects and the skillful use of natural light.

Lansdown Crescent, Bath, UK, June 15, 2015. ©Tony McNicol

Lansdown Crescent, Bath, UK, June 15, 2015. ©Tony McNicol

Tours are led by Tony McNicol who grew up in Bath before spending 15 years working in the UK and Japan as a photojournalist and travel photographer.

His photos have been published in media such as the Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Wired Magazine and National Geographic News.

Interior Bath Abbey. Bath, UK, May 4, 2015. ©Tony McNicol

Interior Bath Abbey. Bath, UK, May 4, 2015. ©Tony McNicol

“As everyone who has visited Bath knows, this is an incredibly beautiful and photogenic city,” says Tony.

“I want to help photographers get the most out of their visit. And it’s a great way for me to explore and document the city too!”

The tour is run by www.thebathphotographer.uk – an online resource for Bath-based and visiting photographers.

Custom tours to locations near Bath are available and special workshops are also being planned.

Improvement work to Sydney Gardens underway

Improvement work to Sydney Gardens underway

Work has now started on a six-month programme of shrub pruning and landscape improvements in Bath’s historic Sydney Gardens..

Sydney Gardens became a municipal park in 1909.

Sydney Gardens became a municipal park in 1909.

Bath & North East Somerset Council is working with the local community on a long-term plan to help conserve the space for future generations.

Notices about the pruning and replanting works have gone up in the gardens.

Notices about the pruning and replanting works have gone up in the gardens.

The public park is a remnant of what was a Georgian pleasure garden which provided outside catering, grottos, mazes and swing boat rides for those prepared to pay an admission fee.

Councillor Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North), the Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “This is crucial work that will really improve the park for local people and visitors to Bath.

A close up of an information notice that has gone up in the gardens. Click on images to enlarge.

A close up of an information notice that has gone up in the gardens. Click on images to enlarge.

We aim to open up the park, allowing views across the city whilst removing some of the more secluded areas to help combat anti-social behaviour. It will create new spaces for planting and restore the original landscape design for the gardens.”

The Council’s contractors may need to restrict access to some areas temporarily and members of the public are asked to follow advice on signage. Pruning over the summer will be supervised by a qualified ecologist to avoid disturbance to any nesting birds.

Evidence of recent poplar pruning

Evidence of recent poplar pruning

The Council’s parks team will continue to work with the Sydney Gardens Steering Group – a partnership of friends and residents groups, representatives from the Holburne Museum, and local Councillors – to help improve the space over the coming year.

Jonny East, Chairman of Friends of Sydney Gardens, said: “The Friends of Sydney Gardens promotes the preservation and conservation of Sydney Gardens, together with community-supported improvements.

To this end we are delighted to work with Bath & North East Somerset Council on the programme of shrub pruning and landscape improvements.”

More information on the pruning and landscaping works is available at www.bathnes.gov.uk/sydneygardens

I hear some sort of anti-skateboard surface is going to be added to the main pathway to stop what is becoming a bit of a dangerous hazard.