Image Gallery – Old Postcards of Bath

Abbey

After its ruin in 1539 the Abbey was restored and has been supported ever since by successive generations of those who’s church it has been and by other benefactors. The Bath Abbey 2000 campaign of restoration and conservation has continued that tradition. Bath Abbey is now an active parish church in the Church of England. In 1999 it celebrated its five hundredth anniversary.

The Abbey from Orange Grove

Bath Abbey stands at the heart of the city of Bath; during the past 12 and a half centuries it has been the site for 3 different churches.

The first was an Anglo-Saxon Abbey dating from 757 which was pulled down by the Norman conquerors of England soon after 1066; following that a very large Norman cathedral was built around 1090, but it was larger than the Monastery could afford, and by the end of the 15th Century it was in ruins.

The present Abbey was founded in 1499, ruined after the dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539 by order of Henry VIII

Bathampton

The village lies two miles east of the City of Bath and has a population of around 1800. The River Avon and the Kennet and Avon canal pass through the village.

Bath Abbey taxis

Begun in 1499, Bath Abbey is the last of the great medieval churches of England. The west front is unique. It depicts the dream that inspired the Abbeys founder, Bishop Oliver King, to pull down the ruined Norman cathedral and raise the present building on its foundations. The cleaning of the west front was the first of the Bath Abbey 2000 projects to be completed.

Collonade

The collonade was added to the open end of the churchyard to prevent visual attention from being distracted from the Abbey, which was the centrepiece of the churchyard.

Forum

Built during the 1930’s, this splendid building was called the Forum Cinema, but is now owned by the church.

They have kept the building in fabulous condition and is now Bath City Church.

The Healing waters of Bath

The hot springs of Bath were popular with Royalty and aristocracy because they were thought to have soothing and healing powers; many believed that if an infertile woman bathed in them she would soon become with child.

Glorious times of Beau Nash

A drop out of Oxford University, the army and the law, Beau Nash earned his money as a gambler and an 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 transforming Bath into the kind of fashionable resort in which his gambling skills would thrive.

As Nash’s influenced increased, Bath with its splendid new buildings, orchestras and balls began to rival London as the places to be seen.

Kings Bath

In the 11th Century the Kings bath was built over the temple precinct and spring, as part of an infirmary.

Mineral Fountain

Bath offers many places to sample its miraculous water. Not least of these is the fountain bath – a spectacular construction on Great Pulteney Street, the terraces of which cascade hot water over eager bathers and down into the weir behind Walcott Street.

Union Passage

Baths reputation for fine shopping was established in Georgian times and remains true to this day.

The city has a wide selection and variety of shops; over half are independent and specialist business’, ready to offer you a truly unique experience with a good choice of unusual and exciting goods.

Bath pageant of 1909

A splendid building was especially built to commemorate the great historical pageant held at Bath in July 1909.

The building can still be seen in Sydney Gardens.

Bath Spa Hotel

Once an elegant private house dating back to the 1800’s and now one of the UK’s grandest hotels, the Bath Spa has just been named by condé Nast Traveller magazine as UK Spa hotel of the Year.

Bath Tram

In 1904 Bath Electrical Tramways replaced an earlier horse drawn system. The tracks eventually covered a distance of nearly 15 miles.

Bath Tramways Motor Co

Considerable disruption was caused by road closure during installation. The fleets consisted of 36 double-decked cars, 6 single decked and 1 water car with snow broom. The depot and power station were in Walcott Street.

Quote from Colin Maggs, Bath Tramways, 1904 – 1939

Battle of Lansdown

In July 1643, two armies met at Bath. A huge Royalist force had marched from Wells and taken Bradford on Avon. By securing Bradford’s vital bridge, they threatened to circle and destroy the smaller Parliamentary army barracked in Bath, just a few miles down river.

It was a bittersweet victory, Parliament was defeated, but not without huge losses to the Royalists.

Union Street

Bath has been one of the UK’s main shopping city’s for over a hundred years, as people would come to bathe in the waters and to be seen, but the other reason was to buy goods unobtainable at home.

Tram Shed

The depot and power station for the trams was at Walcott Street, built in 1904.

Bus Tour

The best way to see Bath has always been by open topped buses. Even though the buses are very different these days, the tours have always been popular, because Bath has been one the main centres of tourism in Europe ever since the Roman Baths were built and people came from all over the world to bathe in them.

Churchyard

The churchyard serves as a passageway between Stall Street to the west and the High Street and York Street to the east. The churchyard is in front of the west front of the Abbey, occupying the most privileged position.

Cooling Room

Amongst the main components found in Roman Baths, cooling rooms are thought to have been essential. They are repeatedly found along with the cold bath, hot bath and changing room.

Dedication of the Temple of Bath circa ad 160

In Celtic times, the sacred spring was surrounded by an oak tree grove, where druids worshipped the guardian goddess Sul. The Romans built their magnificent temple where the druid’s grove had been.

Grand Pump Room

You can still sample the medicinal spring from the Pump Room.

The interior design of the present day restaurant is little changed since it was built by Thomas Baldwin and John Palmer between 1770 and 1795.

Grand Pump Room Hotel

The Grand Pump Room is the social heart of Bath and the perfect place to end your visit to the Roman Baths with either lunch or afternoon tea. Entertainment in this Grand public salon is provided by the Pump Room trio or sometimes a solo pianist.

Great Pultney Street

The celebrated architect Thomas Baldwin constructed Great Pulteney in 1789 at the bequest of Sir William Pulteney. 1000ft by 100ft, it has classical proportions and is reminiscent of French boulevards and remains one of Baths most breath taking sites.

At the end of the impressive Great Pulteney Street is the magnificent Holborn Museum, and all along its length there are many more impressive buildings, mainly hotels.

Sydney Gardens is situated just behind the road, which was built in 1789 by Thomas Baldwin for Sir William Pulteney

Guildhall

Baths magnificent Guildhall is situated on Bridge Street, close to the famous Pulteney Bridge. Thomas Baldwin, who went on to become Bath City’s main architect, built it in the 1770’s, to much acclaim.

Hedgemead Park

Situated below Camden Crescent on London Road towards the end of Walcott Street, this impressive park came about when the houses below Camden Crescent collapsed in 1889 due to a landslide.

High Street

Once the English Royal family started coming to bathe in the waters of Bath, so the city became very important and that meant that fine architecture and luxurious became widespread. Of course aristocrats and royalty love to shop, so Bath’s retail and tourism industry was booming.

At the start of Georgian times, Bath was transformed into a fashionable metropolis of nearly 30,000 citizens when just 100 years earlier it had still been a small medieval city of just 2000 people.

Jolly’s

Jolly’s is the worlds oldest department store and it has the most prestigious site on the upmarket and elegant Milsom Street, in the heart of the City of Bath.

Lansdown Crescent

John Palmer built Lansdown Crescent in 1789. The crescent is composed of twenty splendid terraced houses in one sweeping, unbroken elliptical movement. It is situated at the top of Lansdown Road, with magnificent views over the City of Bath.

Midland Railway Station

Opened on Wednesday 4th August 1869, there were no special celebrations arranged, but still many local people came the thrill of riding on the first train.

Northgate

Another of Baths popular places to shop, here is now a shopping centre there.

Roman Bath

The Romans built a reservoir around the hot springs, a sophisticated series of Baths and a temple, dedicated to the Goddess Sulis Minerva. As a religious shrine and bathing complex, Aquae Sulis attracted visitors from across Britain and Europe – foreshadowing Bath’s status as a tourist attraction.

The art and engineering of the remarkable Baths at Minerva’s temple offer us a glimpse of Roman Britain at its most glorious.

The complex housed no fewer than 5 healing hot baths by the time it was completed in the 4th Century ad.

Orange Grove

First created as a communal garden area in the 18th century as a social walking area, with linear tree planting and gravel surface.

The road was macadamised in 1820 and the trees were removed in 1830.

Prior Park

Inspired by the entrepreneur and philanthropist Ralph Allen, from about 1734 until his death in 1764, this 28-acre, 18th century landscape garden lies in a dramatic site running down a small steep valley to the very edge of Bath.

Pump Room

The first Pump Room was built in 1704, in the style of an orangery, taking two years to build. It was then enlarged in 1796, but as yet more visitors came to Bath in 1796, it was taken down and rebuilt in its entirety.

Queen Charlotte Pump Rooms

“The Pump Room was built for the invalids, in which they might be supplied with water from a covered pump and afterward to take the exercise prescribed to them, sheltered from the inclemency of the weather”

Sculpture from Temple of Minerva

Among the most significant Celtic works of art of Roman Europe is the outstanding Sun Gods head that welcomed pilgrims to the temple of Sulis Minerva in Bath. Within its garlands of druids oak leaves and framed by great serpentine locks of hair, the head of the Celtic Sun God glowered all-seeing from its Roman temple pediment, transfixing Roman and Briton alike.

Roman Bath – Roman Remains

With the demise of Roman occupation in Britain, the great baths and temple of Aquae Sulis fell into ruin. They remained hidden until 1790 when foundations were being dug up for the Pump Room.

Saw Close

The large building in the picture was a day and Sunday school built by a group of Protestants descended from Presbyterians who defied religious laws of Charles II. It was built in 1836 and restored in 1860.

Sham Castle

Built by Sanderson Miller for Ralph Allen in 1762, it perches above the city on its eastern slopes, a castellated façade with rows of blind windows and arrow slits.

Southgate Street

Even hundreds of years ago Bath was a popular tourist site, with people coming to take to the waters and to be seen, but also because the shops were similar in quality to those in London but with the advantage that they were all closely grouped together.

Stall Street

The quality and variety of shops still bring people to Bath and still have the great advantage of all being within walking distance of each other.

Duck Son & Pinker

William Duck, a native of Bath who was formerly a hairdresser, founded the Duck Son & Pinker store at Bridge Street, Bath, in 1848.

His first piano shop was at no 2 Pulteney Bridge.

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