Day 13 in England: A Tour of Bath
We started our day in Bath the only way you can, with a walking tour of its renowned architecture. Led by Dr. Amy Frost, Architecture Curator of the Bath Preservation Trust, we explored the city.
Map of Bath, 1800, at the Museum of Bath Architecture
Our first stop was Bath Abbey. Much of the Abbey’s architecture is the work of Sir George Gilbert Scott who restored the building in the 1860s; however, you can still see parts of the building’s older structures including a section of medieval vaulted ceiling and a Norman pillar.
Left: western front of Bath Abby. Right: the medieval section of the ceiling over the choir area
After visiting the Abbey we opened up our umbrellas and took to the Georgian streets. We stopped at the Circus to see the Neo-Druidism work of John Wood the Elder. Then we walked up the street to the Royal Crescent to see the work of his son, John Wood the Younger. Both designs show how the built environment can play with nature and geometry.
The Royal Crescent, Bath
Only the front of these structures was cohesively designed. Each townhouse was subcontracted out to designers or craftsmen for completion so their internal layout was adjustable. A look at the buildings from the back shows the individuality of each unit.
The back of a row of houses in Bath
Our next stop was Lansdown Tower. Built in 1826 by William Beckford, the tower was meant to be a quiet retreat for the famous collector. One of the many amazing objects at the Tower is James Wyatt’s original builder’s model of Fonthill Abbey, the cathedral-like home Beckford built for himself.
Above: Lansdown (or Beckford’s) Tower. Below: the model of Fonthill Abbey
The last optional tour of the day was of the Roman Baths for which the city is famous. A walk around the pools illustrates just how old the city truly is and how many layers of history are here.
The main pool of the Roman Baths
By Alexandra Ward, WPAMC Class of 2017