Today I caught the train out to Bath. A town rich with Roman history.
There are two bus routes in Bath, with both routes intersecting at the train station. I caught the inner city Red Route first to see the sights around the landmarks of town and get a lay of the land for walking later.
The tour started by passing the rail viaduct from Bristol. Designed by none other than Brunel. His work on the entire train line between Paddington and Bristol means his name pops up a fair bit along the entire GWR corridor. The stone pillars provide a bit of architectural flair along with the functional purpose of structural support.
We then entered Queen Square and passed the iconic Palladian frontages designed by John Wood the Elder. These facades set the architectural style seen around most of England with the strong rectangular blocks, pillars, and window awnings “setting fresh standards for urban development”. The most interesting part is that Wood only designed and built the facades. The plots themselves behind the facades were then on-sold to other developers to construct the buildings themselves behind the facade resulting in a lot of the buildings being different sizes behind the frontage.
We looped around Queen Square again and made our way up hill towards the top of town, passing the Jane Austen Centre and Mary Shelly’s House of Frankenstein before reaching The Circus. Also designed by John Wood the Elder, The Circus is a circular townhouse construction around a green roundabout with grass and trees. Each of the three floors of townhouse have different designs to highlight different architectural styles. Doric, Roman and Corinthian.
Construction started but Wood died early in the construction and the project was taken over by his son John Wood the Younger. Wood went on to design connections to The Circus from the main city of Bath as wel as a connection to his own project. The Royal Crescent, a large semi-circular construction similar to The Circus but comprised of only one half that overlooked expansive green land and the main city.
From here the bus headed along Weston Road past the golf training field and the north side of the Victoria Botanical Gardens. It was here that we heard the story of then Princess Victoria visiting Bath to open the gardens in her name. A journalist at the time reported that her outfit on the day of the opening was gaudy. A conflicting story also mentions that it was a town resident who commented on the size of her ankles. Either way the then Princess heard this and vowed never to visit the town of Bath again. And she didn’t for the entire duration of her reign. Such to the point that when the train would pass through Bath on the way to Bristol the handmaids would draw the blinds of the train so Queen Victoria did not gaze upon the town and the townspeople would be unable to see her as she passed through.
The Skyline Green Route took us out through the outskirts of the city up to the hillside heights on Claverton Down Road where there would be prime views of the landscape of the city… Any time other than Spring. The new growth on the trees made it almost impossible to see anything of the city, despite old mate’s best efforts to stand on the top deck even after various warnings for us not to do so.
So the Skyline Route was not the best but there were still some interesting bits of information. There was an old gatehouse that was once used to collect taxes on trade merchants that was now a private residence. The descent down Ralph Allen Drive that used to be a quarry line for trains to carry goods down to the Bath train station. And the Churchill Bridge, named after wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill who apparently frequented the area.
After the Skyline tour I had a bite to eat for lunch, well, I tried to have a bite to eat but when I stepped inside to grab cutlery for my food a seagull made off with some of my chips! The restaurant kindly offered to replace the chips and everyone around my table got a laugh out of it, they could have shooed it off though…
After lunch I jumped back on the Red Line City Tour and headed to the top end of town again and walked my way all the way back down to the riverfront. Snapping some photos on my way before deciding that I had seen enough. I would have visited the local market however I feel like I’m already pushing my luck with souvenirs and baggage weight so I don’t want to go to too many more places I might end up buying things.
Jumped on the train to head back to Worle. Overheard a rather nasty woman verbally harassing a woman for the colour of her skin, thankfully the GWR staff walk through the trains regularly and I suspect they booted her off the train at the next stop. The woman being abused was incredibly calm about it and many people down her end of the carriage gave her support when the other woman was removed. An eventful train ride to wrap up the day.
Tomorrow we are heading to Dig for Victory day, a history day for the 1940’s including period vehicles, period fashion, and wartime memorabilia. Should be an interesting day.