Celebrating National Bookstart Week

Celebrating National Bookstart Week

Bath Central Library

Bath Central Library

Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Libraries are organising free events across the area to celebrate National Bookstart Week, June 8 – 14.

This year’s theme, Jungle Adventures, is based around Giles Andreae’s beloved picture book Rumble in the Jungle, which will be given away to hundreds of families at the events.

On Monday June 8, the Chairman of Bath & North East Somerset Council, Cllr Ian Gilchrist, will be leading celebrations at Radstock Library between 10am and 12 noon, with the help of the big blue Bookstart Bear.

Parents and carers are being encouraged to bring along their under-fives are invited to come and meet the Bear and enjoy jungle-themed stories, rhymes and craft activities.

There will also be an opportunity to hear jungle adventure stories and rhymes at the following events, which are all free and open to all families with children under five (rhymetimes are aimed at 0-3 years and storytimes at 2-5 yrs):

Monday June 8
Radstock Library, 10am – 12 noon (stories, rhymes & crafts with the Bookstart Bear)
Moorland Rd Library, Bath –10.30 – 11am (storytime)
Midsomer Norton Library – 11 – 11.30am (storytime)

Tuesday June 9
Keynsham Library – 10 – 10.30am & 11 – 11.30am (rhymetimes)
Weston Library, Bath – 10.30am – 11.15am (stories, rhymes & crafts with the Bookstart Bear)
Bath Central Library – 11 – 11.30am (storytime)

Bath Central Library

Bath Central Library

Thursday June 11
Keynsham Library – 10am – 10.30am (storytime)
Paulton Library – 1.30 – 2.30pm (storytime)
Saltford Library –2.30 – 3pm (storytime)

Friday June 12
Weston Library, Bath – 10.30 – 11am (rhymetime)

National Bookstart Week is an annual celebration of UK charity Book Trust’s flagship reading programme, Bookstart. It aims to reinforce to families the importance of getting in to the habit of reading every day – even if it’s just for ten minutes.

Councillor Martin Veal, (Conservative, Bathavon North), Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “Our libraries are providing a valuable resource to families with more and more under 5s joining their library every year. It’s never too early to start sharing books with your baby and give them a head start in life. National Bookstart Week is a wonderful opportunity to bring together young children and families across Bath and North East Somerset in a celebration of reading.”

If families are unable to make it along to their local event they can join in the fun at home, with plenty of jungle-themed arts and crafts, games and baking recipes all on the Bookstart website http://www.bookstart.org.uk/jungle.

For more information about Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Library Service, visit www.bathnes.gov.uk/libraries.

For your information: 

Book Trust is Britain’s largest reading charity. It has a vision of a society where nobody misses out on the life-changing benefits that reading can bring. Book Trust is responsible for a number of successful national reading promotions, sponsored book prizes and creative reading projects aimed at encouraging readers to discover and enjoy books. http://www.booktrust.org.uk

Book Trust’s flagship reading programme Bookstart supports parents and carers to enjoy books with their child from as early as possible with the gift of free books to children in the first year of their life and again when they are 3-4 years old. http://www.bookstart.org.uk
Research has shown that if a parent reads to their infant every day they will be almost 12 months ahead of those who are read to less often, in terms of their reading and language skills. (Kalb, G. & van Ours, J. C. (2013) Reading to Young Children: A Head-Start in Life? Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research).

Throughout the year Book Trust gives free books to 2.5 million parents and carers to read with their children. Inclusive packs are also available for children in care, with hearing or sight impairment, have fine motor delay or whose first language isn’t English.

Regular Bookstart-supported Storytime and Rhymetime sessions are held throughout the year in local libraries, nurseries and children’s centres.

Meeting Mr Bennet.

Meeting Mr Bennet.

For three years now l have been a member of the Mayor of Bath’s Honorary Corps of Guides – an organisation that has been active for the last 81 years in showing visitors to Bath around our lovely World Heritage city.

A very friendly group of Bath visitors meeting Martin on their Mayor's Guides trip this morning. Click on image to enlarge.

A very friendly group of Bath visitors meeting Martin on their Mayor’s Guides trip this morning. Click on image to enlarge.

I am humbled by other volunteer guides who have been doing this for up to forty years. It is a free service and we don’t even accept tips.

It’s a great way of connecting with our visitors. Bath welcomes around four and a half million a year – people who inject a fair bit of cash into our local economy.

This morning – Tuesday, May 18th – our party bumped into Martin – aka Mr Bennet – on duty outside the Jane Austen Centre. He makes all his own costumes and is reckoned to be the most photographed ‘street’ character in England.

Tomorrow he is off to a garden party at Buckingham Palace but has decided to wear a morning suit instead! More about the Mayor of Bath’s Honorary Corps via www.bathguides.org.uk/

Keynsham mosaics display leave ‘something to be desired’.

Keynsham mosaics display leave ‘something to be desired’.

Anthony Beeson

Anthony Beeson

A review now of the display of mosaics that have been incorporated into Keynsham’s new Civic Centre from Bristol-based Anthony Beeson who is an acknowledged Classical iconographer and an expert on Roman and Greek art and architecture.

He is also the Honorary Archivist of the Association for Roman Archaeology and this review has been published in the latest edition of the ARA News. Anthony is a member of the Association for the Study and Preservation of Roman Mosaics. He is a writer and former Art Librarian at Bristol City Libraries.

 ‘Keynsham’s new civic centre entitled the One Stop Shop opened. The building combines a number of civic services, from library to police, under one roof.
Keynsham, the town that lies between Bath and Bristol, has had a raw deal so far as its antiquities and the tourism that they would have generated are concerned. Its huge and architecturally outstanding Roman complex on Durley Hill was chosen as the site of a new cemetery in the 1920s.

The new One Stop Shop and library at Keynsham Civic Centre

The new One Stop Shop and library at Keynsham Civic Centre. Click on images to enlarge.

The obvious religious complex and the accompanying town believed to be Trajectus were first partly covered by Fry’s (later Cadbury’s) chocolate factory and, since the latter’s demise and following a controversial take-over, threatened by a plan for new housing on the site.
The remains of Keynsham’s great abbey were thoroughly dealt with by the construction of the town’s bypass in the 1960s. The Roman and medieval objects discovered rivalled anything displayed in either Bath or Bristol and should have generated enough civic pride in the town to have prompted a local museum.
The splendid mosaics found at Durley Hill were lifted and for many years were displayed as unrelated panels at the small museum founded at the gateway to Fry’s factory at Somerdale. In the 1980s this was closed and the mosaics and other antiquities went into long-term storage in the basement of the town hall.

The mosaic from room W as laid out in the Parish Church as part of Keynsham's millennium celebrations. The panels were still within frames at this time, but this was the first occasion when they had been placed into position since the 1920s. Photos: © Anthony Beeson.

The mosaic from room W as laid out in the Parish Church as part of Keynsham’s millennium celebrations. The panels were still within frames at this time, but
this was the first occasion when they had been placed into position since the 1920s.
Photos: © Anthony Beeson.

The late Charles Browne campaigned endlessly for their permanent display somewhere in the town, and at least managed a splendid show in the Parish Church in 2000 when the author and others had the delight of displaying the Durley Hill mosaics together in their original positions for the first time since their discovery (Beeson, 2001).
The mosaics and other finds then went back into obscurity, and were later moved to a warehouse in Pixash Lane that has become an archaeological store. It was with delight therefore that one heard the news that a proposed new civic centre was going to display the mosaics and other objects. This author visited the finished building in January with great expectations.
The spectacular mosaic from room W at the Durley Hill complex, previously divided into framed panels, has now been beautifully restored and the sections joined together. It occupies a sunken area between the library and community reception desks and is glazed over.
This is a controversial but currently popular way of dealing with mosaics. Glass and its supporting steel framework generally does nothing to enhance a mosaic beneath them. If the choice is there and floor space is lacking, a wall mounting is generally to be preferred.
The mosaic from room W as now displayed at Keynsham. The panels have been beautifully joined together giving one an idea of how the floor must have originally appeared. Care has been taken to position the steel structure above the joining guilloche strips. Neon lighting reflects in the glass. Photos: © Anthony Beeson.

The mosaic from room W as now displayed at Keynsham. The panels have been beautifully joined together giving one an idea of how the floor must have originally appeared. Care has been taken to position the steel structure above the joining guilloche strips. Neon lighting reflects in the glass.
Photos: © Anthony Beeson.

The steelwork at Keynsham does follow the shape of the guilloche framing of the panels in an attempt not to obscure the design too much and, on the whole, the display is better than it might have been.

Light reflection on the glass is also a problem with this type of display, and is unfortunately so at Keynsham as neon light strips have been placed on the ceiling over the floor.
Wonderful as it is to see the main pavement joined again, it is a pity that the building could not have been designed so that the mosaic could have been displayed better.
Unfortunately the remaining isolated panel with birds from the same floor is nowhere to be seen; it could have accompanied the beautiful rosette centre-piece from room J that is attached, slightly too high, to an otherwise blank staircase wall that overlooks the main pavement.
This rosette is one of the gems of mosaic work in its handling of colour and technique remaining to us from Roman Britain. An accompanying panel from this mosaic is unfortunately not

displayed with it.
Neither of the mosaics displayed has any museum labelling; there is a no-doubt expensive terminal that is supposed to inform the curious about them, but it was out of order when I visited. Someone had very kindly photocopied a leaflet about the mosaics, but the description of what was happening on the Achilles panel was muddled. One hopes that the information terminal provides a clearer description.

A view from the first floor of the One Stop Shop showing the distracting seating that has been placed overlapping the main panels of the mosaic from room W. Fortunately only two seats were occupied on this occasion. The great rosette from room J's mosaic may be seen on the staircase wall.

A view from the first floor of the One Stop Shop showing the distracting seating that has been placed overlapping the main panels of the mosaic from room W. Fortunately only two seats were occupied on this occasion. The great rosette from room J’s mosaic may be seen on the staircase wall.  Image © Anthony Beeson

What was particularly annoying with this new display, however, was the fact that someone (presumably the designer) had decided that it would be a great idea to place seating on three sides of the pavement, both blocking the central viewing area before the Europa panel and overlapping the edges of the mosaic.
Not only does one have to cope with reflected ceiling lighting and glass but also with people sitting with their legs and bags resting over the floor. No doubt this stems from some muddle-headed idea that it ‘brings the mosaic into the community’.
None of the library staff that I questioned had any idea who had made the decision to place the seating there. It is becoming depressingly commonplace in British museums, when reorganising and rebuilding such institutions, that designers’ and architects’ wishes override those of curatorial staff – when there are any.
Whilst one tried to view the glazed mosaic there appeared to be a permanent meeting of several people wearing name badges who successfully managed to obfuscate the Europa panel and made no attempt to move so that others might view it properly.
It really made this author wonder why so much money had been spent on displaying a national treasure only to allow it to be obscured so easily. I fortunately went at a quiet time, so one wonders what the experience would be if it had been busy.
The Roman window display of pottery and building materials from Keynsham sites

The Roman window display of pottery and building materials from Keynsham sites.  Image © Anthony Beeson

Windows at the One Stop Shop have been used as museum cases displaying minor stonework from the abbey and some pottery, tesserae and building materials from the Roman sites.

The cream of these collections, including a rare statue base dedicated to Silvanus, alas still remain in the store at Pixash Lane.
It is wonderful to have these mosaics finally on display, but what an opportunity to display Keynsham’s treasures properly has been missed.’
Bath history sing song

Bath history sing song

Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey

A children’s choir of 350 primary school pupils from all across the city will be coming together for a one-off performance on Tuesday 9 June, 6.30-8pm at Bath Abbey.

The children, who are all part of the Abbey’s Schools’ Singing Programme, will be singing the ‘New Best Tour of Bath with Songs’, a new piece of classical music composed specially for the occasion by award-winning composer, Thomas Hewitt Jones, the 2003 BBC Young Composer of the Year. Combined with the lyrics of Paul Williamson, the ‘New Best Tour of Bath’ is best described as a series of fun and lively stories about Bath’s past and present, told through song, and is designed to be family-friendly and accessible to children.

Composer, Thomas Hewitt Jones, and lyricist, Paul Williamson, explain: “Our audience will be taken on a magical journey of the wonders of Bath through the ages. The music will fire your imagination and hopefully capture your heart. But, what makes this concert different from other classical music concerts is that it will be very child-friendly; with lots of fun and imaginative stories – sung by children – for children. It’s certain to appeal to all ages especially the younger members of the audience and the young at heart. Do come and enjoy the journey with us!”

Highlights will include finding out more about Bath’s legendary origins and the mysteries of the Roman temple, seeing the celebrated portrait painter, Mr G – , at work in his studio and accompanying Mr and Mrs Mouse as they attend the Alderman’s Ball in Regency Bath.

An illustration by artist, Debbie Loftus, of one of the highlights of the ‘musical tour’ of Mr and Mrs Mouse attending the Alderman’s Ball in Regency Bath.

An illustration by artist, Debbie Loftus, of one of the highlights of the ‘musical tour’ of Mr and Mrs Mouse attending the Alderman’s Ball in Regency Bath.

On the night, the choir of 350 children from the Abbey’s Schools’ Singing Programme will be conducted by Shean Bowers, Choral Director for Schools at Bath Abbey. Shean Bowers says: “It promises to be a very exciting evening for all involved. The children have been working hard over the last few weeks, practising so that they can sing this world premiere to the best of their abilities. I am pleased that we are able to offer the children the opportunity to perform in front of an audience, alongside a professional baritone and musical ensemble, and in such a beautiful venue. For many, this will be their first experience singing live and we’d like it to be an experience of a lifetime.”

9 year old John from Widcombe Junior School, who is a member of the Abbey’s Schools Singing Programme, said: “I am so excited to be singing in the Abbey. My favourite piece is about Mr and Mrs Mouse; it is really fun and tells a really interesting story. Even though we have practised it lots, I am still not bored of it and really enjoy singing about it.”

The ‘New Best Tour of Bath with Songs’ will take place at Bath Abbey on Tuesday 9 June, 6.30pm to 8pm. Performers include: King Bladud’s New Best Bath Chamber Orchestra; children’s choir of 350 local primary school pupils from the Abbey’s Schools Singing Programme; Baritone – Craig Bissex; Conductor – Shean Bowers. Tickets are priced at £8 Adult, £6 Child (under 16) available via Bath Box Office on 01225 463362 / boxoffice@bathfestivals.org.uk
About Bath Abbey
Bath Abbey is a flourishing Church of England parish church which technically serves a small city centre parish (Bath Abbey with St James). This parish has a small residential population and primarily consists of commercial properties; and most of the regular congregation and the 692 people on the electoral roll live in other parishes or come from outside the city of Bath.

The Abbey holds daily services of morning or evening prayer or Holy Communion; and the standard pattern of Sunday worship is for five daily services attended on average by 630 people. Special services at Advent, Christmas and Easter are well attended; and many local organisations hold annual services in the Abbey.

The Abbey has four choirs: Men’s, Boys’ and Girls’ choirs support worship in services; whilst Melody Makers is a choir for younger children which performs in concerts in the Abbey once a term and at other events in and around Bath.

The Abbey runs a successful Schools Singing Programme, an outreach activity which supports singing within local schools and holds regular workshops and concerts in the Abbey. The Abbey welcomes approximately 400,000 visitors annually and is open daily all year round; many of these visitors being families and school parties.

Apart from being a place of prayer, worship, weddings and funerals, the Abbey has an important role as a visitor destination, a performance space (for audiences anywhere between 10 and 1,000), a general civic space and an exhibition space.

Paving the way for Bath’s visitors.

Paving the way for Bath’s visitors.

Nice to welcome a new contributor to the Virtual Museum of Bath. Ken Tatem is a local historian  who retired after 41 years in the Environment Agency and its predecessors. He was a Flood Risk Manager and Technical Specialist with particular expertise in the Bristol River Avon and is still consulted on flood issues. Ken is a member of the Mayor of Bath’s Corps of Honorary Guides – something he has enjoyed doing for the last three years. 

It’s interesting to read how local roads were funded and  managed. Maybe – if a future local administration ever considered ‘congestion charges’ the toll booths of old might re-open!

Once upon  time you had to pay to use this route into town!

Once upon time you had to pay to use this route into town!

In the 17th and 18th centuries, Bath’s need for visitors resulted in the roads leading into Bath being amongst the first in England to be turnpiked. This involved an Act of Parliament setting up a Trust empowered to erect gates for the collection of tolls for road improvement and maintenance. In 1707, Bath’s Turnpike Trust was set up for the purpose of improving the narrow, rutted, stony and flooded roads, which could be impassable in winter. The early responsibility was for the western end of the Great Western Road from London to Bath Spa, and a network of roads radiating into North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. Within Bath itself, turnpike gates were situated at Widcombe, on the Upper and Lower Bristol Road, on Lansdown Hill, and on the London Road.

Later important Turnpike Trusts controlling roads in Bath’s vicinity included the Bristol Trust on the A4 west in 1727, Cirencester and Bath Trust on the old A46 in 1743, Black Dog Trust on the A36 in 1752, and the Bradford Trust on the A363 in 1792. The 1757 Bricker’s Barn Trust from Box was taken over by the Bath Trust in order to improve the Box Hill Road as the alternative to the Kingsdown Road as the principal road from the east.

Daniel Defoe, writing between 1724 and 1726, says “turnpikes or toll-bars have been set up on several great roads of England, beginning at London, and proceeding thro’ almost all those dirty deep roads,….the benefits of a good road abundantly making amends for that little charge the travellers are put to at the turnpikes.” Whatever Defoe thought, from the outset, turnpikes were deeply unpopular. Occasionally, mobs would set out to smash the gate, the gatekeeper’s life sometimes being at risk. Often, gates were closed at night whilst the gatekeeper got a good night’s sleep.

Travel in the 18th Century was also at risk from robbers, and Bath was not without its Highwaymen. In December 1746, the Bath Journal reported that the Bristol stage was held up by two highwaymen. One notorious highwayman, John Poulter, who was eventually caught and hanged, lived in the old chapel at Chapel Plaister near Box. Beau Nash employed agents to try to catch robbers operating close to the city.

John Palmer’s Royal Mail coaches became a regular service, with the first coach passing through Bath in August 1784, and it was decided that they would pass through turnpikes free of charge. They blew horns to warn of their imminent arrival at toll-gates, and gate keepers were expected to open the gates without delaying the coaches. Obviously this led to some disagreements between coach drivers and gate keepers, and one recorded incident of a coach guard killing the toll-keeper by discharging his blunderbuss during an argument.

Because of the concern for security of the tolls collected at tollgates, the trusts constructed tollhouses next to the gates. The distinctive shape of toll-houses is to provide a bay window to give a view up and down the road. The position of the windows also discourages toll paying avoidance, as passers-by are aware that they can be seen. Although most toll-houses around Bath have been demolished, the structures of some can still be seen.

Bath Turnpike Trust

The 1841 census shows that gate keepers living in the toll-houses were often female, sometimes living alone, sometimes with their family including a husband pursuing some other occupation. Early 19th Century toll leases for many of the toll-houses describe them as having ‘a weighing machine and wash-house.’

As travellers neared Bath from London on the Box Road, they passed a series of toll-houses. The first of these was the now demolished Bathford Toll-house, situated between Eastwoods and the Bathford Nurseries. Mentioned in ‘Paterson’s Roads’ of 1829, but not in the 1841 census, it was probably short-lived. Further on in Batheaston they would encounter the ‘Batheaston Bar’ shown on George Manners’ 1827 map at the junction with Bannerdown Road.

Grosvenor Toll House 1862

Grosvenor Toll House 1862. Click on images to enlarge.

Next they would reach the Bailbrook Toll-house near the parish border between Swainswick and Batheaston. The toll-house is depicted in an 1830 lithograph which shows Brown’s Folly in the distance, thus fixing it to the south side of the London Road.
Further west, travellers would meet the Grosvenor Toll-house, built in the 1820’s, and situated on the north side of the road at the junction with St Saviours Road. In 1819 the toll-gate is called ‘London Gate, Parish of Walcot’, and is described as having a weighing engine and a brewhouse.

What's left of the former Grosvenor toll house.

What’s left of the former Grosvenor toll house.

There are earlier references to ‘London Gate’ and ‘Walcot Turnpike’ before the Toll-house at no. 1 The Balustrade, now occupied by estate agents, was built.
The historical map of Georgian Bath also shows a turnpike on the London Road at the junction with Snow Hill, with a possible toll-house on the north side, but no other source mentions this.

On the road from Westgate, towards Bristol, a long-lost Toll-house and smithy is shown in a 1903 photo on the north of the road, at the junction with Marlborough Lane. On the western side of the junction with Park Lane, Manners’ 1827 turnpike map shows a toll-house. Searle’s 1930s book mentions a toll-house on the Upper Bristol Road in 1770, but it’s not known which one he’s referring to. 1823 toll returns refer to the ‘Blue Lodge Toll Gate’ or ‘Upper Bristol Road Toll Gate’. Blue Lodge itself was a short distance up Park Lane, then known as Weston Lane. Both the 1841 and the 1871 Census mention a ‘Toll House’ in the Ecclesiastical District of All Saints Weston. This was probably on the Upper Bristol Road towards Newbridge, but its location is unknown.

South of the River, a turnpike stood on the Lower Bristol Road, with a possible toll-house on the corner where 13 Angel Place stands. ‘Bristol Gate’ or ‘Twerton Gate’ Toll-house demolished in mid 20th century stood on the east corner of Brook Road.

On the road between Widcombe and the Old Bridge, Manners’ 1827 map, and Godwin’s 1816 map show Widcombe Gate or Claverton Gate on the junction of Claverton Street, Lyncombe Hill and St Mark’s Road, next to St Mark’s Church. Godwin’s and Manners maps also show ‘Bathwick Gate’, at the beginning of Pulteney Road, adjacent to Widcombe Baptist Church.

Bloomfield Road

Bloomfield Road

The road to Radstock had turnpikes at two locations near Bath. At the junction of Bloomfield Road and Englishcombe Lane on the Old Radstock Road, the toll-house building still exists as part of Westfield Cottage, no. 150 Bloomfield Road. Holloway Gates toll-house stood at the junction of Bloomfield Road and Wellsway. When Wellsway, then known as the new Wells Road, was built, it included New Wells Gate.

Bathwick Toll House

Bathwick Toll House

The ‘Lansdown Gate & Bar, Parish of Walcot’ toll-house was on the east side of Lansdown Road where it joined Richmond Road. Along with the family of the gate-keeper it housed a wash-house and well-house.

Combe Hill Gate and Toll-house stood where Brassknocker Hill meets Claverton Down Road, these two roads being turnpiked under the 1757/59 Acts. Closer to Bath, on the Avenue, opposite Copseland, The Roundhouse includes the building of the Bath to Claverton Down toll-house.
Bath’s Turnpike Trust continued to take tolls until 1878.

Other Trusts

Tollhouse at Lower Swainswick

Tollhouse at Lower Swainswick

The Cirencester and Bath Trust’s Swainswick Toll-House can be seen on the old A46 at Lower Swainswick, opposite Deadmill Lane. A 20th Century extension has been built on the rear of the 1784 original, whose door has been blocked in.

Black Dog Trust turnpiked the old Warminster to Bath road in 1752. The Midford Toll House built about 1770 still stands. It was attacked in 1853 by those who objected to tolls, damage including theft of the turnpike gates, and shooting out of the toll-house lamp and window. An 1852 map also shows that the Trust had a Bathampton Toll-house on the south side of what is now the A36, at St George’s Hill Bathampton.

What remains of Bradford Trust’s Toll House is a feature connected to a modern bungalow on the corner of the Bradford Road just past the turning to Warleigh on the right as you drive from Bathford. Built in the late 18th Century, the remains are roofless, and with blocked windows and door. The 1861 census calls it ‘Lime Pit Gate’.


Until Pulteney Bridge was built in 1770, the Old Bridge on the site of today’s Churchill Bridge was the only bridge over the River Avon. New bridges were built with associated toll houses, Cleveland Bridge 1827, North Parade Bridge 1835, Halfpenny Bridge 1862 and in the 1850s, Bathampton Toll-house.

Cleveland Bridge

Cleveland Bridge

H. E. Godridge’s 1827 Cleveland Bridge, connecting the Bathwick estate to the London Road included a Greek style lodge on all four abutments. Only one, most likely the lodge on the south-west corner, was the toll-house. June Ward’s article in Guidelines No. 67 describes the interior of the toll-house.

Cleveland Bridge - but no one is collecting tolls anymore!

Cleveland Bridge – but no one is collecting tolls anymore!

The 1835 ‘toll collector’s residence’ for North Parade Bridge was built in the north west corner of the bridge, and was matched by a building enclosing a staircase on the east.

The proprietors and toll-keeper of the Halfpenny Bridge or Widcombe Footbridge were found guilty of the manslaughter of up to 12 people who died in the 1877 collapse of the bridge. Some 100 people had arrived at Bath Spa station, and were crossing the bridge to reach an agricultural show on Beechen Cliff. Apparently the toll-keeper insisted on closing the tollgate and collecting the tolls, which led to the excessive number of people standing on the bridge. The 3 storey 1862 toll-house stands at the south-west corner of the rebuilt bridge.

The Bathampton toll-bridge dates from the 1850s. The house on the north-west side of the bridge was built for the Bridge Company Turnpike Trust, and tolls are still collected from there today.
Grid References:
Bathford ST 791674
Batheaston ST 781675
Bailbrook ST 769668
Grosvenor ST 759662
Snow Hill ST 754658
Upper Bristol Road ST 743651
Blue Lodge ST 737653
Lower Bristol Road ST 748643
Twerton ST 734646
Claverton Street ST 753643
Bathwick ST 755643
Old Radstock Road ST 744632
Holloway ST 746638
Lansdown ST 748660
Combe Hill ST 778632
Round House ST 770642
Swainswick ST 763673
Midford ST 762607
Bathampton ST 768659
Bradford Road ST 788663

Turnpikes and Toll-bars, Mark Searle 1930
The Toll-houses of Somerset Janet Dowding & Patrick Taylor 2013
Census 1871
Ordnance Survey Historical map & guide to Georgian Bath 1985
Travelling Hopefully, Kirsten Elliott Guidelines 60,61.
http://www.turnpikes.org.uk/Turnpikes in Somerset.htm

Church of England Heritage Record Launched

Church of England Heritage Record Launched

An online database of the Church of England’s 16,000 church buildings has been launched by ChurchCare and Historic England.

Looking up through the chair stall to the East Window in Bath Abbey. Click on images to enlarge.

Looking up through the chair stall to the East Window in Bath Abbey. Click on images to enlarge.

According to the Church of England, The new Church Heritage Record contains over 16,000 entries on church buildings in England, covering a wide variety of topics from architectural history and archaeology, to worship and the surrounding natural environment.

Churchcare have added that the Record is continuously updated and developed. If you think you would like to help out, or you know of an interesting project happening in your area, contact Julie Patenaude at julie.patenaude@churchofengland.org.

For more information and to search the database, see the website https://facultyonline.churchofengland.org/churches

Caring for the past.

Caring for the past.

Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey

April the First marks the official arrival of Historic England, the public body that will look after and champion England’s historic environment.

Already the new body has announced the results of new research which shows English people recognise and protect the nationally significant sites in their area. A growing number of people are visiting the National Heritage List for England to find out about them.

Historic England has also revealed that almost everyone in England now lives within a mile of a designated heritage asset – a building, monument, archaeological site, battlefield, park or garden that is listed for protection.

Designation is the act of officially identifying the most important parts of our heritage so they can receive special protection and be added to the National Heritage List for England. We celebrate their significance – and make sure that our history can be enjoyed by present and future generations.

A poll of more than 5,000 adults has revealed that English people care deeply for their heritage. Just under two fifths (38%) have taken action to protect a local building or place from damaging change, or from becoming derelict or disused. The results suggest a higher-than-expected willingness among the public to protect heritage around them.

The Laura Place fountain looking down Great Pulteney Street to the Holburne Museum.

The Laura Place fountain looking down Great Pulteney Street to the Holburne Museum.

Awareness is also high from a poll of more than 1,750 people, with almost half (46%) of English people saying they know of a historically significant building or place within a mile of where they live, and almost two thirds (64%) saying they are interested in their local heritage.

Sir Laurie Magnus, Historic England Chairman, said: “These results are fascinating. They show that people care deeply about our heritage and the importance of protecting our spectacular castles, country houses, monuments, memorials and ancient archaeological sites. They are also concerned about the fate of their local heritage and increasingly recognise the importance of places of worship, parks and gardens, historic industrial sites and maritime heritage.”