Bath’s population multiplied itself by well over ten times during the course of the 18th century. From a still small classic medieval city of just 2000 people, with its market place and many mangers and defensive walls, Bath was transformed into a fashionable metropolis of nearly 30,000 citizens in just 100 years.
Into the ‘decayed’ country town that was Bath at the start of the 18th century, walked the wigged adventurer and dandy ‘Beau’ Richard Nash. A drop-out from Oxford University, the army and the law, Beau Nash earned his money as a gambler and immaculate socialite. With Queen Anne’s visit to Bath in 1802 Beau Nash saw his chance to make fortune and influential friends. Immediately, Nash set about transporting Bath into the kind of fashionable resort in which his gambling skills would thrive. Within just three years he had raised a considerable sum of money for the repair of Bath’s woeful roads. Beau Nash and his great new city of pleasure and social elegance grew side by side. As Nash’s influence increased, Bath with its splendid new public buildings, orchestras and balls, began to rival London
as the place to be seen.