Architectural Walk in Bath (Self Guided), Bath

This tour offers a walk through buildings constructed mostly during the Victorian era and the period after that. One of the characteristics of architecture of that time was the introduction of steel as a building component. Most of the attractions of this tour are listed buildings. The early twentieth century architectural traditions of Bath blend with the art deco style. The whole City of Bath was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
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Architectural Walk in Bath Map

Guide Name: Architectural Walk in Bath
Guide Location: England » Bath (See other walking tours in Bath)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 Km or 3.4 Miles
Author: rose
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Cleveland House
  • Bath Spa Railway Station
  • The Forum
  • Thermae Bath Spa
  • Bath Green Park Railway Station
  • The Corridor
  • St Stephen's Church
  • Cleveland Bridge
1
Cleveland House

1) Cleveland House

Located on Sydney Road in Bathwick, a leafy Georgian era suburb east of the city centre, Cleveland House marks the start of one of England’s great waterways. The Kennet & Avon Canal runs from south of Pulteney Bridge and through the Bath suburbs, before winding across the plains of Somerset and Wiltshire. The canal passes through the Bath locks and under nearby Sydney Gardens, before passing though a tunnel directly beneath Cleveland House. The Georgian Grade II listed building is the former headquarters of the Kennet & Avon Canal Company – there is even a trapdoor linking the house to barges passing through the tunnel, who would drop off their paperwork as they passed.

The Kennet & Avon Canal runs from Bath to Newbury in Berkshire, although stretches of the River Avon & Kennet on either side are included in its official length of 87 miles. Completed in 1810, the canal was vital to the industrial growth of the South West of England, providing a direct, navigable waterway between Bristol and London. The Avon Valley to the east of Bath features major rail and road links alongside the canal, with the River Avon close by. These strong transport links greatly helped Bath’s development in the 19th century.
2
Bath Spa Railway Station

2) Bath Spa Railway Station

Bath Spa station, Bath’s main line railway station, can be found at the southern end of the city center, close to the modern shops and restaurants of the city’s commercial district. A small station with two raised platforms, Bath Spa station was built by famous British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Part of the historic Great Western Main Line, Bath Spa is one of many stations along the line designed by Brunel, including Temple Meads station in nearby Bristol. Designed in a Mock Tudor style, the station opened in 1840 as Bath station, changing its name in 1949 to avoid confusion with the now closed Bath Green Park station. The station house itself is a Grade II listed building

The station is well connected, offering fast trains to Cardiff, capital of Wales, and London, capital of England and the UK, every half an hour. There are also regional trains serving nearby historic towns, including Bristol, Salisbury, Gloucester and Bradford-on-Avon. The western and southern coasts of England are also accessible by train from Bath Spa, and there is now a daily service to Glasgow that passes through the Midlands and North of England. Tickets should be purchased before boarding in the main ticket hall. There are ramps and lifts up to the raised platforms behind the main station building.
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
The Forum

3) The Forum

Situated on St. James’ Parade, amongst the shops and offices of the city’s commercial district, the Forum is one of Bath’s finest 20th century buildings. Built by architects Watkins & Wilmott in the Art Deco style and opened in the 1930s, the Forum was very much the focal point of Depression era Bath. The first super-cinema to open in the city, the Forum’s luxurious surroundings drew in crowds for half a century, closing its doors to the public in 1988. The building is now occupied by Bath City Church group who hold services and conferences there regularly – check the information outside to find details of forthcoming church services.

The Forum’s ornate ground floor auditorium and upstairs ballroom have been extensively restored under the church’s care, with help from esteemed local architects, the Stubbs Rich group. Both venues can be hired for private events. The Grade II* listed building remains closed to the public, although large groups may be able to arrange a tour. An impressive, imposing piece of architecture in the modern surroundings of Bath’s shopping centre, the Forum lies close to department stores, restaurants and Bath’s largest surviving cinema – the Odeon, five minutes’ walk away on St. James’ Street West.
4
Thermae Bath Spa

4) Thermae Bath Spa (must see)

You may not be able to swim in Bath’s world famous Roman Baths – but around the corner, a new attraction offers the next best thing. Thermae Bath Spa, redeveloped in the last decade, is an open air, naturally heated spa that combines the existing Georgian spa of Cross Bath with a brand new spa facility, New Royal Bath. Bath is home to the only naturally warm mineral water springs in the UK. The foundation of Bath in the Roman era, and its subsequent rebirth as a health resort in the 18th century, were down to this unique geographical feature.

With the reopening of the historic Cross Bath spa, and the addition of ultra-modern facilities, Thermae Bath Spa will ensure that Bath remains a booming spa town. The spa offers a range of packages for visitors, from £68 for a three hour spa session to £188 for a day in the facility. The spa’s frontage is constructed from distinctive Bath stone with a contemporary glass surround. Thermae Bath Spa is located on Hot Bath Street, in the middle of Bath’s historic city centre.
5
Bath Green Park Railway Station

5) Bath Green Park Railway Station

Once a busy railway station that linked Bath with the English Midlands, Bath Green Park station is now a relic of the Beeching Report. Dr Beeching carried out a post-war review of British rail travel that led to the closure of hundreds of British railway stations, including this one. Opened in 1870 as the terminus of the Midland line, the station was designed in a Georgian style befitting its location in the historic centre of Bath. For many years it took the name of nearby Queen Square, becoming Bath Green Park station after World War 2. It closed in 1971, leaving nearby Bath Spa as Bath’s only main line rail station.

Thankfully, the station has not been allowed to lie dormant, and has been regenerated. The platform area now hosts a regular market, whilst the ticket hall has been converted into a restaurant. Many shops and businesses have also found a home beneath the original glass and wrought iron roof. The building as a whole, including the Georgian style frontage, remain intact, and the iron bridge across the Avon, where trains would travel on their way to Manchester and the south coast, is still in place – although now it leads only to a local supermarket.
6
The Corridor

6) The Corridor

The Corridor runs from Bath’s High Street to the fringes of Union Street, Bath’s main shopping thoroughfare. One of the UK’s oldest surviving shopping arcades, it opened in 1825, as the Parisian fashion for boutique arcades spread across the English Channel to Britain. Modelled on London’s famous Burlington Arcade, it was designed by Henry Goodridge and was designed in the grand Georgian style of the time, once housing polished pillars and traditional glazed shop fronts. The arcade was redeveloped in Victorian times, with all shops fitted with plate glass frontages that are still in place today. The glass and wrought iron curved roof, which runs along the length of the arcade, also remains intact.

In the present day, the Corridor remains a popular destination for shoppers, and forms part of a maze of alleyways housing alternative stores and fashionable boutiques, as well as a number of elegant, affordable cafés. William Friese-Greene, the alleged inventor of cinematography, once owned a photographic workshop within the arcade. Sadly, The Corridor has experienced disaster in its history. In 1974, an IRA bomb detonated within the arcade, causing huge damage to this historic quarter of Bath, and forcing a complete restoration of this famous arcade.
7
St Stephen's Church

7) St Stephen's Church

St Stephen's Church was designed by James Wilson to serve the spiritual needs of northeast Bath. It was built between 1840-1845 using Bath Stone, a limestone sourced from the Limpley Stoke mine, which is situated in the Limpley Stoke Valley. The constructed church, however, remained unconsecrated until 1881. For the Royal School, a northeast aisle was added in 1866, thought to be designed by the Wilson & Willcox firm. The very wide apsidal chancel with the vestry and organ chamber was built by W. J. Willcox in 1882-1883, for £3,000. W. J. Willcox also designed the painted ceiling in 1886, which was executed by H. & F. Davis. The gothicised font and font cover are in marble and date from 1843. The c.1900 transept ceiling and reredos are by Sir T. G. Jackson. The crypt was converted into a community centre in 1993-1994 by Slade, Smith and Winrow. In 2007 the tower stonework was restored and the church bells replaced.
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
Cleveland Bridge

8) Cleveland Bridge

Crossing the River Avon north east of the city centre, Cleveland Bridge connects Bathwick on the eastern side of the river with the A4, leading out of town towards Bristol and London. This route heading north from the historic city centre has been a major trade route for the town throughout its history. The Georgian expansion of Bathwick led to a need for a bridge across the river at this location. The bridge was designed by Henry Goodridge, and opened in 1826. The bridge was constructed to carry horse drawn carriages across the river, and has since been reinforced to cope with heavier traffic.

The four distinctive buildings on each corner of the bridge, which resemble miniature Greek temples, were designed as toll houses. The building of the bridge was funded by local investors, who requested a toll be placed on traffic crossing the bridge. Goodridge insisted on the construction of four separate booths to fit his symmetrical, neo-classical design. Only one of the buildings was ever used for this purpose – the others were used as shops and small dwellings, and still are to this day. One of the toll houses is currently used as a studio by world famous sculptor Peter Hayes.

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