Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bath

Sunday 14 August
First stop was a visit to the Roman Baths and Temple and we spent a couple of hours learning about the site rediscovered in 1880. Part of the site, above floor level, has been reconstructed.
The hot springs had been a place of worship in Neolithic times and when the Romans arrived they built the bath houses and Temple.
Hypocaust for underfloor heating of Roman buildings consisting of pillars called pilae stacks made of tiles and concrete under the floor. Warm air flowed through the gaps to heat the floor.
Remains from the Temple wall are on display.
Part of a ceramic floor found on the site
When they left Britain the buildings fell into disrepair and were also possibly destroyed by Christians. The hot springs once again became a focal point in the 17th century when spas and baths such as the King's and Queen's Baths were built on the site of the springs over the Roman buildings and used largely for health treatments. In the 18th and 19th centuries people regularly came to Bath to 'take the waters'.
The Pump Room was a place where people went to drink the warm spring water as a 'cure'. This building was rebuilt in 1797.
Today the building is a restaurant though the waters can still be tasted there.

The Jane Austen Centre  was the next stop providing an interesting insight into the life of this nineteenth century author and the two books she set in Bath, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.
We then went to the Assembly Rooms but decided not to visit as only two of the smaller rooms were open to the public due to the ballroom being used as part of a fashion exhibition. We could view the room if we were prepared to pay four times the general admittance charge even though we did not want to view the fashion exhibition.
Instead we went to the Building of Bath Collection  for an introduction to the architecture and construction of the current city in the eighteenth century.

In the afternoon we went for a walk by the Avon River,
watched, in a wonderful setting, part of a ladies' cricket game between Bath and Bournemouth seconds teams
and watched part of a concert by Cricklade Band, formed in 1887, at the bandstand in the park.
The sun came out in the afternoon so there were blue skies and at times it was pleasantly warm.

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