The City of Bath, founded by the Romans as a thermal resort, grew into a major center of the wool industry in the Middle Ages. It grew into an attractive town in the 18th century under George III, with neoclassical Palladian buildings that mixed nicely with the Roman baths.
Bath in England
Bath is a city in the historic county of Somerset in southern England. It is part of the Bath and North East Somerset unitary authority.
Bath is set in a natural arena of high hills on the banks of the River Avon (Lower, or Bristol, Avon). It is one of the most exquisite and aesthetically distinguished cities in the United Kingdom, having been constructed from native limestone.
The late Perpendicular Gothic abbey church of St. Peter and St. Paul, built in the 16th century, is notable for its windows, but it is the richness of classical Georgian houses that line the steep valley sides that distinguish Bath. In 1987, the city was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Bath was formed as Aquae Sulis, devoted to the goddess Sulis Minerva, a combination of Celtic (Sul) and Roman (Minerva) deities. Due to mineral springs that are quite hot (115 °F or 46 °C), the site attracted the Romans, who named it after the goddess Sulis Minerva.
At the place where Edgar was crowned the first king of England in 973 CE, the Saxons established an abbey. Between 1088 and 1122, the Normans restored the church, transferring the diocese they had established at Wells to it.
In 1206, the bishop’s seat was returned to Wells, and the canons of Wells and the monks of Bath, of which the bishop was titular abbot, had a lengthy rivalry. Bath and Wells is still the name of the diocese.
Bath United Kingdom
City of baths, which were still used by royalty after being incorporated by charter in 1189, were shared in the west-of-England wool trade and later in the cloth trade. Bath had already reopened as a spa when portions of the Roman baths were found in 1755.
Bath has already been resurrected as a spa destination. The Elizabethan town was rebuilt and extended in the Palladian style by the architects John Wood the Elder and Younger and their patron.
Ralph Allen, who provided the stone from his local quarries and built the mansion of Prior Park (1735–48) overlooking the city during its heyday as a fashionable resort—presided over by the social figure Richard (“Beau”) Allen.
During its heyday as a fashionable resort, Nash, one of the greatest English dandies, was presided over by the social figure Richard. Robert Adam built Pulteney Bridge across the River Avon in 1769–74 to connect Bath with the new district of Bathwick.
The 18th-century Pump Room, located near the abbey in the encircled valley of the River Avon, provides access to the hot springs and Roman baths.
Queen Square, erected between 1728 and 1735 by John Wood the Elder, is one of the city’s 140 historic terraces and individual buildings.
The Circus, which was started by Wood in 1754 and finished by his son, The Royal Crescent, also designed by the father and completed by the son, was built between 1767 and 1775.
The Guildhall was built in 1775, while Lansdown Crescent was built in 1796–1797 by John Palmer. And the Holburne Museum’s art collection is now housed in a 1795 pavilion in Sydney Gardens, Bathwick.
The Assembly Rooms of 1771 were devastated in an air raid in 1942, severely affecting the entire city, although substantial repair and renovation have since taken place.
The Assembly Rooms, which were restored in 1963, currently house the Fashion Museum, which houses a world-class collection of stylish clothing from the seventeenth to twenty-first centuries.
Claverton Manor, 2 miles (3 kilometers) outside of town, is a late-nineteenth-century mansion that houses the American Museum in Britain, a vast museum of Americana.
The city is rich in literary associations since it was the primary centre of English high society outside of London in the 18th and early 19th centuries.
Tobias Smollett’s novels and Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s plays are vivid depictions of life at the time.
Jane Austen’s novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion (both 1817) depict the fashionable world of Bath around 1800 with gentle satire and a keen vision.
Bath Olivers, Bath buns, Bath bricks, and Bath (invalid) chairs are all named after William Oliver, an accomplished physician who created what is now the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases.
By the 1970s, the city’s spa facilities were all closed due to dwindling public support. Due to a growing interest in spa culture, in 2006, a new facility, Thermae Bath Spa, was opened near the hot springs in a flagship building that also included the restoration of five ancient buildings in the city’s old spa neighborhood.
The local economy relies heavily on tourism. Bath has a significant publishing and light engineering industry, despite not being predominantly a manufacturing center. Population: 90,144 in 2001; 94,782 in 2011.