A Bit of Bath Trivia
17 October 2017
Bath has an incredible history. If the walls of Bath could talk they’d never be short of stories to tell…
These are just a few little facts about Bath that we thought you might enjoy:
- The oldest church (not counting Roman temples) to be built on the site where Bath Abbey now stands was an Anglo-Saxon monastery built in 757AD. Unfortunately, it was smashed to rubble in the Norman invasion.
- King Edgar, the first king of England, was crowned in that Abbey in 973AD.
- Bath Abbey has several small holes, each a little bigger than a two-pound coin, in its fan vaulted ceiling. No one is quite sure why they’re there, but one of them, just above the nave, came in very useful for knowing when to ring the bells at the end of weddings.
Bath Mineral Water Hospital
(now known as the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases)
- It’s the oldest hospital in Bath, dating back to May 1742.
- It was the first national hospital to take patients from all over the UK, so in a way you could call it the beginnings of the NHS.
- In order to cover the cost of sending patients home after their treatment, providing them with necessary clothing, or burying them if they should die, patients from England had to pay £1.50 on entering, or £3 for those from Scotland or Ireland. Often this cost was covered by Benefactors or Boards of Guardians.
The Royal Crescent
- John Wood the Younger, the architect who designed the Royal Crescent, envisioned it as a symbolic temple to the moon (the nearby Circus designed by his father representing a temple to the sun).
- The Royal Crescent with its current-day grand façade originally had a large church spire emerging into the sky behind its centre. However the church was bombed during World War Two and was never replaced.
- The Crescent may look like one long building, but was in fact built as 30 separate houses. These houses have since been portioned further and many of the houses are now made up of a series of flats.
- They opened in 1792 with the name, Bath Vauxhall Gardens, and were the first commercial pleasure gardens in Bath.
- While the landed gentry Georgian ladies and gentleman promenaded in the grounds of the garden, their carriage drivers and sedan chair bearers could relax in the “Bath Tap” – the pub-style establishment located in the cellar of Sydney Hotel (now the Holburne Museum).
- It was the original location of the Bath and West show, which started out in Sydney Gardens in the first half of the 19th century as a show hosted by the Bath Horticultural and Floral Society.