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playmovictorian 29th January 2014 10:38 AM

Postcards from England
 
Good morning dear Friends :smile:

Before moving to Luxembourg where I currently live, I spent a little more than a decade living in England, a place I have enjoyed so much for its sceneries, traditions and many charms !

I invite you to discover or rediscover England through these Postcards which define for me what makes this country so unique and quintessentially British !

Welcome aboard :smile: !

Karim

playmovictorian 29th January 2014 10:51 AM

Welcome to the City of Bath !

So why not joining me in "taking the waters" in one of Britains jewel of a town which has welcomed visitors for more than 1000 years :wink:

Bath on the UK Map



City Map of Bath



Aerial View of the Royal Crescent



ROMAN BATH


There is a legend that Bath was founded in 860 BC when Prince Bladud, father of King Lear, caught leprosy. He was banned from the court and was forced to look after pigs. The pigs also had a skin disease but after they wallowed in hot mud they were cured. Prince Bladud followed their example and was also cured. Later he became king and founded the city of Bath.

In reality it is not known exactly when the health giving qualities of Bath springs were first noticed. They were certainly known to the Romans who built a temple there around 50 AD. The temple was dedicated to Sul, a Celtic god and Minerva the Roman goddess of healing. (The Romans hoped to please everybody by dedicating it to both gods). They also built a public baths which was supplied by the hot springs.

In the 60s and 70s AD a town grew up on the site of Bath. It was called Aquae Sulis, the waters of Sul. In the late 2nd century a ditch was dug around Roman Bath and an earth rampart was erected. It probably had a wooden palisade on top. In the 3rd century it was replaced by a stone wall.
In the 4th century Roman civilisation began to decline. The population of Roman towns decreased and trade shrank. The last Roman soldiers left Britain in 407 AD.

Karim

playmovictorian 29th January 2014 10:54 AM

SAXONS BATH


After the Romans left the Saxons invaded Eastern England. In 577 AD they won a battle at Dyrhan. They then captured Bath, Cirencester and Gloucester. The Saxons took over the settlements and life went on.

In the late 9th century Alfred the Great created a network of fortified towns across his kingdoms called burghs (from which we derive our word borough). If the Danes attacked all the local men could gather in the nearest burgh to fight them. Bath was one such burgh. By the 10th century it had a mint. So by that time Bath must have been a flourishing, although small, community. In 973 Edgar, the first king of all England was crowned in Bath.

Karim

playmovictorian 29th January 2014 10:57 AM

BATH IN THE MIDDLE AGES


In 1088 a rebellion occurred. The rebels sacked Bath and burned the monastery but the town soon recovered. The local Bishop moved his seat to Bath and in the early 12th century a great abbey was created which dominated Medieval Bath. The present building dates from the very end of the Medieval period. Oliver King was Bishop of Bath and Wells from 1495 to 1503. In 1499 he dreamed of angels ascending and descending ladders to Heaven. He heard a voice telling 'a king' to restore the church. The Bishop took the dream to mean he should rebuild the abbey.

During the Middle Ages the church also ran 2 almshouses in Bath, St John the Baptist's and St Catherine's. There was also a leper hostel outside the town walls. During the Middle Ages people still came to Bath to bathe in the hot springs hoping it would cure them of their ailments.

In 1189 Bath was given its first charter (a document granting the townspeople certain rights). The main industry in Medieval Bath was the manufacture of woollen cloth. The wool was spun. It was then fulled, that is it was pounded in a mixture of water and clay to clean and thicken it. Wooden hammers worked by a watermill pounded the wool. The wool was then stretched on tenterhooks to dry. It was then dyed.

Karim

playmovictorian 29th January 2014 11:01 AM

BATH IN THE 16th AND 17th CENTURIES


Henry VIII closed Bath abbey in 1539. Most of its buildings were then demolished.

During the 16th and 17th century the wool trade in Bath slowly declined. Increasingly Bath came to rely on sick people coming to bathe in the springs, hoping for a cure. It received a boost in the early 17th century when Anne of Denmark, wife of James I, came hoping to be cured of dropsy.
In 1590 Queen Elizabeth gave Bath a new charter. From then on Bath had a mayor and aldermen. There were some improvements in the little town. Bellots almshouses were built in 1609. In 1615 a 'scavenger' was appointed to clean the streets of Bath. In 1633 thatched roofs were banned because of the risk of fire.

However like all towns Bath suffered from outbreaks of the plague. It struck in 1604, 1625, 1636 and 1643.

In 1642 came civil war between king and parliament. In 1643 Bath was occupied by parliamentary troops. In July 1643 they fought a battle against the royalists north of the town. The royalists were victorious. The parliamentary army withdrew from the area and the royalists occupied Bath. However by 1645 the king was losing the civil war. In July 1645 the royalist commander in Bath surrendered to parliament.

In the late 17th century Bath continued to be a quiet market town. It largely depended on its springs. From 1661 Bath water was bottled and sold.

Karim

playmovictorian 29th January 2014 11:05 AM

BATH IN THE 18th CENTURY



ROYAL CIRCUS BUILT BY JOHN WOOD THE ELDER



THE ROYAL CRESCENT BUILT BY JOHN WOOD THE YOUNGER




In the 18th century Bath became a much more genteel and fashionable place. It boomed in size. This was largely due to the efforts of Richard 'Beau' Nash 1674-1762 who was made Master of Ceremonies. Many fine buildings were erected in this century. A Pump Room was built in 1706 (although the present one was built in 1795).

Architect John Wood the Elder 1704-1754 built Queen Square in 1728-1739. He built The Circus in 1754-60. His son John Wood the Younger was born in 1727. He built Royal Crescent in 1767-1774. He also built Assembly Rooms in 1769-71. The Octagon was built in 1767 and Margaret Chapel was built in 1773.

Pulteney Bridge was built in 1774. It was named after William Pulteney the first Earl of Bath and it was designed by Robert Adam.

From 1718 attempts were made to pave and properly clean the streets of Bath and to light them with oil lamps. A general hospital was built in Bath in 1742. The first bank in Bath opened in 1768. Sydney Gardens opened in 1795.

During the Summer Bath was full of rich visitors. They played cards, went to balls and horse racing, went walking and horse riding. However the high life was only for a small minority. There were a great many poor people in Bath, as there were in every town. Despite the fine architecture there was also plenty of squalor and overcrowding in Bath.

Karim

playmovictorian 29th January 2014 11:12 AM

The Beau Nash : a wigged Adventurer in 18th century's Bath !


At the start of the 18th century Bath was becoming a bit of a decayed city, then in walked Beau Nash, he was a bit of a dandy. He was a wigged adventurer. He dropped out from from Oxford University, the army and the law, he earned his money as a gambler and was an exquisite socialite. With Queen Anne's visit to Bath in 1802 Beau Nash saw his chance to make a fortune and influential friends. he Immediately set about transforming Bath into a 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 bad roads. Beau Nash and his great new city of pleasure and social elegance grew side by side. As Nash's influence increased, so Bath with its splendid new public buildings, orchestras and balls, began to rival London as the place to be seen.

Karim

playmovictorian 29th January 2014 11:19 AM

Sally Lunn's Bun a delicacy served in Bath's oldest house ( 1482 ) !





Sally Lunn, a young French refugee, arrived in England over 300 years ago. She found work at what is now known as Sally Lunn's House and began to bake a rich round and generous bread now known as the Sally Lunn Bun. This bun became a very popular delicacy in Georgian England as its special taste and lightness allowed it to be enjoyed with either sweet or savoury accompaniments !

Karim

playmovictorian 29th January 2014 11:27 AM

And finally a little anecdote about Bath...


Queen Victoria visited Bath when she was 11 years old for the opening of the Victoria Park located next to the Royal Crescent. She spent two days in the City and went back to London. But according to Bath's fashion standards of the time, a newspaper reported that she failed to make the right impression with a ridiculous dress and her "fat ankles" ! Needless to say that the future Queen did not take it well at all and never came back to Bath again. On her 50th Golden Jubilee, the Mayor of the Town had all the Dignitaries ligning on the platform, a huge brass band and a multitude of little Children waving little flags...and when the Royal Train approached the City, a very bitter Queen Victorian asked the train speed to be doubled and all the blinds to be lowered so that she could not see this "odious" City !

Well Queenie, you did not know what you missed !

Karim:smile:

playmovictorian 29th January 2014 11:46 AM

Here are a few pictures of my day in the beautiful City of Bath :smile: ...









Karim


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