Day 13 in England- Glass, Bath Stone, Pennant Pavement, and Iron–Oh My!
English Design History Trip
January 30, 2015:
Friday was our second day in Bath and our last full day in England. As usual, we made the most of our day—I can’t believe how much we learned and saw today on top of all we had already in this amazing trip! For most of the day, Dr. Amy Frost, curator for the Bath Preservation Trust, led us on an extensive walking tour of Bath, seeing the inside as well as outside of the city’s historic built environment in its signature palette of Bath stone, pennant pavement, wrought iron, and glass. The tour started in the Abbey and included a contextual orientation in the soon to reopen Museum of Bath Architecture. We then moved on to an exploration of upstairs and downstairs in No. 1 Royal Crescent, led by its curator, Victoria Barwell, and ended atop William Beckford’s tower, with lunch along the way at the Assembly Rooms café. Amy was incredibly knowledgeable about the Trust’s collection, Bath’s buildings, as well as the history of the city and current governmental and commercial challenges the Trust deals with. She is essentially a curator and caretaker of the entire city of Bath. As with other curators we have met on this trip, Amy was a really good role model for those of us who intend to pursue curatorial or public history careers. She shared a lot of really interesting and helpful information about her curatorial experience and job responsibilities and difficulties.
After our great tour, we visited the Roman Baths. This large ancient site in the heart of Bath’s medieval city footprint, right next to the Abbey, was only discovered and excavated in the late nineteenth century!
We ended our day with a group dinner of fantastic Nepalese food at Yak Yeti Yak. Afterwards, we all met in the front room of the hotel to wish Winterthur Fellow Kevin Adkisson a happy birthday. We all had some of his special and apropos Jane Austen-themed cake, fortifying ourselves for packing our suitcases!
Goodbye, Bath! Goodbye, England! Cheerio, toodle-pip, etc.!
By Lauren McDaniel, PhD student in the University of Delaware’s American Civilization Program