The City of Bath

[ Photo Gallery # 84 }

Bath

Bath is the largest city in the ceremonial county of Somerset, England.  It is renowned in particular for its Roman spa baths, built c. 60 AD, when it went under the Latin name of Aquae Sulis (‘The Waters of Sulis’).   In 2011, the city had a population of almost 89 thousand.

Bath is in the valley of the River Avon, 97 miles (156 km) west of London.  The town is set in the rolling countryside of south-west England, and is known for its natural hot springs and 18th-century Georgian architecture.  It has strong connections with the 18th Century author, Jane Austen, who lived here during the Regency period from 1801 to 1806 and who set two of her novels, ‘Northanger Abbey’ and ‘Persuasion’, in Bath.

Honey-coloured Bath stone has been used extensively in the town’s architecture, including at Bath Abbey, noted for its fan-vaulting, tower and large stained-glass windows. The museum at the site of the original Roman-era Baths includes The Great Bath, statues and a temple.

In 1704, Richard (‘Beau’) Nash, the celebrated leader of fashion, became ‘Master of Ceremonies’ at the then rising spa town of  Bath.  He lived in the town for much of the first part of the 18th Century and played a leading role in making Bath the most fashionable resort in 18th-century England.

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I hope my gallery of photographs, taken in Bath on a visit to the city about 12 years ago, will give a taste of the pleasures and architectural delights of this city, one of the most visited in the United Kingdom.

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The River Avon and Pulteney Bridge at Bath. Designed by Robert Adam in a Palladian style, it is exceptional in having shops built across its full span on both sides. 

Bath14AvonWeir

The Avon Weir, beside Pulteney Bridge

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Close-up of the Avon Weir

Bath18Gardens

A more distant view of Pulteney Bridge and the Avon Weir

Bath19Mozart

Statue of Mozart in the Parade Gardens, Grand Parade, BATH

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View of the East window of Bath Abbey from the Parade Gardens

Bath29Abbey

Fan vaulting on the nave of Bath Abbey

Bath30Abbey

Close-up of the nave ceiling at Bath Abbey

 

 

Bath31Abbey

Memorial to Sir Richard Hussey Bickerton (1759-1832) in Bath Abbey.  He was a British naval officer, at times, second in command to Lord Nelson

Bath33Baths

The Great Bath – the entire structure above the level of the pillar bases is a later construction. There are four main features to the complex: the Sacred Spring, the Roman Temple, the Roman Bath House and the museum

Bath35Baths

The Spring rises within the courtyard of the Temple of Sulis Minerva and water from it feeds the Roman Baths

Bath37SallyLunns

Sally Lunn’s is much more than a world famous tea and eating house in the centre of Bath.  This historic building is one of the oldest houses in the city.  It owes its fame to the creation of the first Bath bun, an authentic regional speciality known throughout the world, and first introduced by the legendary young Huguenot baker, Sally Lunn, in Georgian Bath.

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Fire, Forge and Furnace

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‘The Smith’: Illus.from’The Book Of English Trades’, Museum of English Ryral Life, Reading University.

FIRE, FORGE & FURNACE

It began with the furnace
When limping Hephaestus
tamed his volcanic forge,
before Prometheus
poached fire,
and brought to mankind,
his creation,
those skills of
 inspired artistry
 in metal and the arts,
for which he suffered
until, released, liver-less,
 from his eagle-torn fate

So, his legacy,
passed on to the smith,
farrier, blacksmith, metalworker,
a noble calling
worthy trade
artist in iron
his skill
portrayed in metal
wrought within the fire
of Vulcan’s heart

Bent over the anvil
he finds his future
his art is in iron
his heart lies there too
the kiln his spirit
the anvil his easel
tongs his palette knife
his hammer his brush

Rendering and wrenching
forging
forcing his will
on that malleable metal
moulding with skill
stroking the steel
forming shape
to match imagination
to meet a need
create a masterwork
from his mind’s ferment

The furnace,
bellowed into life,
bright burning coals
in heat and fusion
throw shadows all around
as if their flickering flames
are desperate to escape
and return
to the place of their birth –
the fiery inferno
in Vulcan’s heart.

Hephaestus

Hephaestus

 

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