Filed under Bath history

Octagon Chapel Bath – Update

This chapel was the first subscription chapel in England. William Herchell was organist there and his sister was in the choir. It is one of he most beautiful Georgian buildngs in Bath, but when the Royal Photographic Society moved out it struggled to find new purpose, especially after the main street entrance was sold for … Continue reading


Curse Tablets

Here is an extraordinary item from Highways & Byways on Yorkshire, as it raises a lot of questions as to its origins: At Gretna Bridge not many years ago was found a pair of tablets which illustrate so luridly the manner in which the hate of families found vent,… Two leaden plates were dug out … Continue reading

Quite a Diet

Obesity was common in wealthy English of the 18th and 19th century, but here’s a doctor who put himself on an impressively drastic diet. This is from the Chester Courant of 1809: Resurrection of Corpulence The celebrated Dr Cheney, of the last century, by an abstemious diet so reduced himself as to be able to … Continue reading

Bath Pump Room

Bath Pump Room

This is where visitors to the spa used to come in the mornings for a large drink of the famous waters. You can still try the stuff – tastes rather metallic, but I’ve had worse. Cheltenham water is said to be truly awful. This is now an upmarket tea room, and if you are lucky … Continue reading

George Cruikshank at The Holburne Museum

Cruikshank’s satirical political images are some of the most famous of the late 18th/early 19th century England. He showed no sign of his own politics, but took great joy in sending up the politicians of all shades and royalty of the age. But he was much more than a precursor of today’s political cartoonists; he … Continue reading

Bath’s Oldest Charity

John Loveday also visited Bath: “The Town-house [ie town or guild hall] is an handsome Stone Building, supported on open Arches; the large Room above Stairs is adorned with man Pictures of the Aldermen and other Members of the Corporation, which their Member, General Wade, was at the expense of drawing to hang up here; … Continue reading

A Lecture on Heads

This is one of the most misleading titles for a travelling show, from the Bath Journal of 1773. It seems to be based on an earlier show, which lasted 4 hours unscripted, doing impersonations of various types of people – showing us how bland we have become. But this seems to be the dawn of … Continue reading

An Unmissable Show

This is the only account I’ve found for this so doubt it was much of a crowd puller. It is perhaps of more interest for the fact that it existed at all. This is from the Bath Journal of 1773: This is to acquaint the curious, that there is to be seen at the Wheatsheaf, … Continue reading

Printed Punishment

This is from the Bath Journal of 1773 15 Nov If this happened to day this poorly paid man probably would have had to employ a solicitor and then face fines or community service. This seems a more satisfactory outcome. No mention is made why he behaved in such an odd way, but I suspect … Continue reading

A Tiny Space in Bath

A Tiny Space in Bath

This is something I spotted in Bath, on Upper Borough Walls, but hidden from the street so I had to lean over a wall to get the pic. It says this is the former site of the burial ground for the General Hospital, opened in 1736 and held 238 bodies when it was closed in … Continue reading