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Bath is the largest
city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It can be defined as a ...
in the
county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and Robert Chambers (publisher bo ...

county
of
Somerset ( en, All The People of Somerset) , locator_map = , coordinates = , region = South West England South West England is one of nine official regions of England. It consists of the counties of Bristol Bristol () is a City status ...

Somerset
, England, known for and named after its
Roman-built baths
Roman-built baths
. In 2011, the population was 88,859.(Combined populations of the 16 wards that made-up the unparished area at the time of the 2011 census.) Bath is in the valley of the River Avon, west of
London London is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a estuary down to the North Sea, and has b ...

London
and southeast of
Bristol Bristol () is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routle ...

Bristol
. The city became a
World Heritage site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for h ...
in 1987. The city became a
spa A spa is a location where mineral-rich spring water (and sometimes seawater) is used to give medicinal baths. Spa towns or spa resorts (including hot springs resorts) typically offer various health treatments, which are also known as baln ...

spa
with the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
name ' ("the waters of
Sulis In the localised Celtic polytheism Ancient Celtic religion, commonly known as Celtic paganism, comprises the religious beliefs and practices adhered to by the Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age system, three-age d ...

Sulis
") 60 AD when the Romans built
baths
baths
and a temple in the valley of the River Avon, although
hot springs A hot spring, hydrothermal spring, or geothermal spring is a spring Spring(s) may refer to: Common uses * Spring (season), a season of the year * Spring (device), a mechanical device that stores energy * Spring (hydrology), a natural source of ...
were known even before then.
Bath Abbey Bath Abbey is a parish church of the Church of England and former Benedictines, Benedictine monastery in Bath, Somerset, Bath, Somerset, England. Founded in the 7th century, it was reorganised in the 10th century and rebuilt in the 12th and 16t ...

Bath Abbey
was founded in the 7th century and became a religious centre; the building was rebuilt in the 12th and 16th centuries. In the 17th century, claims were made for the curative properties of water from the springs, and Bath became popular as a
spa town A spa town is a based on a (a developed ). Patrons visit spas to "take the waters" for their purported health benefits. The word ''spa'' is derived from the name of , a town in . set up a medical practice in the English town of in 1668 ...
in the
Georgian era The Georgian era is a period in British history from 1714 to , named after the House of Hanover, Hanoverian Kings George I of Great Britain, George I, George II of Great Britain, George II, George III of the United Kingdom, George III and George ...
.
Georgian architecture Georgian architecture is the name given in most English-speaking countries to the set of architectural style An architectural style is a set of characteristics and features that make a building or other structure notable or historically iden ...
, crafted from Bath stone, includes the
Royal Crescent The Royal Crescent is a row of 30 terraced houses laid out in a sweeping Crescent (architecture), crescent in the city of Bath, Somerset, Bath, England. Designed by the architect John Wood, the Younger and built between 1767 and 1774, it is am ...

Royal Crescent
,
Circus A circus is a company of performers who put on diverse entertainment shows that may include s, , trained animals, acts, s, s, , s, , s, , and as well as other and stunt-oriented artists. The term ''circus'' also describes the performance w ...

Circus
, Pump Room and
Assembly Rooms In Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the List of European islands by area, largest European islan ...
where
Beau Nash upright=1.4, Beau Nash. Beau Nash (18 October 1674 – 3 February 1761), born Richard Nash, was a celebrated dandy A dandy, historically, is a man who places particular importance upon physical appearance, refined language, and leisurely ho ...
presided over the city's social life from 1705 until his death in 1761. Many of the streets and squares were laid out by
John Wood, the Elder John Wood, the Elder, (1704 – 23 May 1754), was an English architect An architect is a person who plans, designs and oversees the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in connection with the desi ...
, and in the 18th century the city became fashionable and the population grew.
Jane Austen Jane Austen (; 16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist known primarily for her six major novels, which interpret, critique and comment upon the British landed gentry The landed gentry, or the ''gentry'', is a l ...

Jane Austen
lived in Bath in the early 19th century. Further building was undertaken in the 19th century and following the
Bath Blitz The term Bath Blitz refers to the air raids by the German ''Luftwaffe The ''Luftwaffe'' () was the aerial warfare branch of the '' Wehrmacht'' during World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as W ...
in World War II. Bath became part of the county of Avon in 1974, and, following Avon's abolition in 1996, has been the principal centre of
Bath and North East Somerset Bath and North East Somerset (commonly referred to as BANES or B&NES) is the district of the Unitary authorities of England, unitary authority of Bath and North East Somerset Council that was created on 1 April 1996 following the abolition of the ...
. Bath has up to 1.3 million yearly visitors, making it one of ten English cities visited most by overseas tourists. Attractions include the spas, canal boat tours, Royal Crescent, Bath Skyline, Parade Gardens and Royal Victoria Park which hosts
carnival Carnival is a Western Christian 250px, St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, the largest church building in the world today. Western Christianity is one of two sub-divisions of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abra ...
s and seasonal events. Shopping areas include SouthGate shopping centre,
The Corridor Corridor or The Corridor may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Films *The Corridor (1968 film), ''The Corridor'' (1968 film), a 1968 Swedish drama film *The Corridor (1995 film), ''The Corridor'' (1995 film), a 1995 Lithuanian drama fi ...
arcade Arcade most often refers to: * Arcade (architecture) An arcade is a succession of contiguous arch An arch is a vertical curved structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or syst ...
and artisan shops at Walcot, Milsom,
Stall Stall may refer to: Enclosures * Animal stall, a small enclosure, as for market goods, or for an animal * Restroom stall, an enclosure providing privacy to the user of a single toilet in a public restroom * Market stall, a makeshift or mobile struc ...
and York Streets. There are theatres, including the
Theatre Royal
Theatre Royal
, as well as several museums including the
Museum of Bath Architecture The Museum of Bath Architecture (formerly known as the Building of Bath Museum and the Building of Bath Collection) in Bath, Somerset Somerset (; Archaism, archaically Somersetshire) is a Ceremonial counties of England, county in South We ...
, the
Victoria Art Gallery The Victoria Art Gallery is a public art museum in Bath, Somerset Somerset (; Archaism, archaically Somersetshire) is a Ceremonial counties of England, county in South West England which borders Gloucestershire and Bristol to the north, W ...
, the
Museum of East Asian Art The Museum of East Asian Art or MEAA is in Bennett Street, Bath, Somerset, Bath, Somerset, England. Just a few metres off The Circus in central Bath, the Museum of East Asian Art is situated in a restored Georgian architecture, Georgian house. ...
, the
Herschel Museum of Astronomy The Herschel Museum of Astronomy at 19 New King Street, Bath, England, is a museum that was inaugurated in 1981. It is located in a preserved town house that was formerly the home of William Herschel and his sister Caroline. Location The mus ...
, Fashion Museum, and the Holburne Museum. The city has two universities – the
University of Bath A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of higher education, higher (or Tertiary education, tertiary) education and research which awards academic degrees in various Discipline (academia), academic d ...

University of Bath
and
Bath Spa University Bath Spa University is a public university A public university or public college is a university or college that is in state ownership or receives significant Government spending, public funds through a national or subnational government, as ...
– with
Bath College Bath College is a Further Education college in the centre of Bath, Somerset and in Westfield, Somerset, England. It was formed in April 2015 by the merger of City of Bath College and Norton Radstock College. The College also offers Higher Educa ...
providing
further education Further education (often abbreviated FE) in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a s ...
. Sporting clubs include
Bath Rugby Bath Rugby is a professional rugby union Rugby union, commonly known simply as rugby, is a Contact sport#Terminology, close-contact team sport that originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. One of the Comparison of rug ...
and Bath City F.C. The city is also home to software, publishing and service-oriented industries such as
Future plc Future plc is a British media company founded in 1985. It publishes more than 50 magazines in fields such as video games, technology, films, music, photography, home, and knowledge. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange London Stock Exch ...
and
Rotork Rotork plc is a British-based company manufacturing industrial flow control equipment. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. History The company was established as a small engineering workshop in B ...
.


History


Iron Age and Roman

The hills in the locality such as
Bathampton Down Bathampton Down is a flat limestone plateau in Bathampton Bathampton () is a village and civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government. It is a territorial designation which is the l ...
saw human activity from the
Mesolithic The Mesolithic (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...

Mesolithic
period. Several
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the Three-age sys ...
round barrow A round barrow is a type of tumulus A tumulus (plural tumuli) is a mound A mound is a heaped pile of earth, gravel, sand, rocks, or debris. Most commonly, mounds are earthen formations such as hills and mountains, particularly ...
s were opened by John Skinner in the 18th century.
Solsbury Hill Little Solsbury Hill (more commonly known as Solsbury Hill) is a small flat-topped hill and the site of an Iron Age hill fort. It is located above the village of Batheaston in Somerset, England. The hill rises to above the River Avon, Brist ...

Solsbury Hill
overlooking the current city was an
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's pa ...
hill fort A hillfort is a type of earthwork used as a fortified A fortification is a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically ...
and the adjacent Bathampton Camp may also have been one. A
long barrow Long barrows are a style of monument constructed across Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on context. Beginning with foreign exploration during the Age of D ...
site believed to be from the
Beaker people The Bell Beaker culture (or, in short, Beaker culture) is an archaeological culture An archaeological culture is a recurring Assemblage (archaeology), assemblage of types of Artifact (archaeology), artifacts, buildings and monuments from a specif ...

Beaker people
was flattened to make way for
RAF Charmy Down RAF Charmy Down is a former Royal Air Force (RAF) Royal Air Force station, station in Somerset, England, approximately north-northeast of Bath, Somerset, Bath and west of London. Opened in 1941, it was used initially by the RAF and from 1943 by ...
. Archaeological evidence shows that the site of the
Roman baths'
Roman baths'
main spring may have been treated as a shrine by the
Britons The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mix ...
, and was dedicated to the goddess
Sulis In the localised Celtic polytheism Ancient Celtic religion, commonly known as Celtic paganism, comprises the religious beliefs and practices adhered to by the Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age system, three-age d ...

Sulis
, whom the
Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...
identified with
Minerva Minerva (; ett, Menrva) is the Roman goddess Roman mythology is the body of of as represented in the and . One of a wide variety of genres of , ''Roman mythology'' may also refer to the modern study of these representations, and to ...

Minerva
; the name Sulis continued to be used after the Roman invasion, appearing in the town's Roman name, ' (literally, "the waters of Sulis"). Messages to her scratched onto metal, known as
curse tablets A curse tablet ( la, tabella defixionis, defixio; el, κατάδεσμος, katadesmos) is a small tablet with a curse A curse (also called an imprecation, malediction, hex, execration, malison, anathema, or commination) is any expressed wis ...
, have been recovered from the sacred spring by archaeologists. The tablets were written in
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
, and cursed people whom the writers felt had wronged them. For example, if a citizen had his clothes stolen at the baths, he might write a curse, naming the suspects, on a tablet to be read by the goddess. A temple was constructed in AD 60–70, and a bathing complex was built up over the next 300 years. Engineers drove oak piles into the mud to provide a stable foundation, and surrounded the spring with an irregular stone chamber lined with lead. In the 2nd century, the spring was enclosed within a wooden
barrel-vaulted with a barrel vaulted soffit. Note the absence of Clerestory, clerestory windows, all of the light being provided by the Rose window at one end of the vault. , New York City A barrel vault, also known as a tunnel vault or a wagon vault, is an arc ...
structure that housed the
caldarium 230px, Caldarium from the Roman Baths at Bath, England. The floor has been removed to reveal the empty space where the hot air flowed through to heat the floor. A caldarium (also called a calidarium, cella caldaria or cella coctilium) was a room w ...
(hot bath),
tepidarium The tepidarium was the warm (''tepidus'') bathroom of the Roman baths , Budapest File:Les mosaïques des thermes 2.JPG, The mosaics of the thermal baths In ancient Rome In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civiliz ...

tepidarium
(warm bath), and
frigidarium A frigidarium is a large cold pool at the Roman bath In ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one o ...

frigidarium
(cold bath). The town was later given
defensive walls A defensive wall is a fortification A fortification is a military construction or building designed for the defense of territories in warfare, and is also used to establish rule in a region during peacetime. The term is derived from La ...
, probably in the 3rd century. After the failure of Roman authority in the first decade of the 5th century, the baths fell into disrepair and were eventually lost as a result of rising water levels and silting. In March 2012 a hoard of 30,000 silver Roman coins, one of the largest discovered in Britain, was unearthed in an archaeological dig. The coins, believed to date from the 3rd century, were found about 150 m (450 ft) from the Roman baths.


Post-Roman and medieval

Bath may have been the site of the
Battle of Badon The Battle of Badon also known as the Battle of Mons Badonicus ( la, obsessioBadonici montis, "Blockade/siege of the Badonic Hill"; ''Bellum in monte Badonis'', "Battle on Badon Hill"; ''Bellum Badonis'', "Battle of Badon"; Old Welsh: ''Bado ...
(500  AD ), in which
King Arthur King Arthur ( cy, Brenin Arthur, kw, Arthur Gernow, br, Roue Arzhur) was a Legend, legendary Celtic Britons, British leader who, according to Historians in England during the Middle Ages, medieval histories and Romance (heroic literature), ...

King Arthur
is said to have defeated the
Anglo-Saxons The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Cultural identity is a part of a person's identity Identity may refer to: Social sciences * Identity (social science), personhood or group affiliation in psychology and sociology Group expression ...
. The town was captured by the
West Saxons Wessex (; ang, Westseaxna rīċe , 'the Kingdom of the West Saxons') was an Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a who inhabited . They traced their origins to the 5th century settlement of incomers to Britain, who migrated to the island f ...
in 577 after the
Battle of Deorham The Battle of Deorham (or Dyrham) was a decisive military encounter between the West Saxons and the Britons of the West Country The West Country is a loosely defined area of south-western England. The term usually encompasses the historic co ...
; the Anglo-Saxon poem ''
The Ruin "The Ruin" is an elegy in Old English, written by an unknown author probably in the 8th or 9th century, and published in the 10th century in the ''Exeter Book'', a large collection of poems and riddles. The poem evokes the former glory of an unnam ...

The Ruin
'' may describe the appearance of the Roman site about this time. A monastery was founded at an early date – reputedly by
Saint David Saint David ( cy, Dewi Sant; la, Davidus; ) was a Welsh bishop of Mynyw (now St Davids) during the 6th century. He is the patron saint of Wales. David was a native of Wales, and a relatively large amount of information is known about his lif ...
although more probably in 675 by Osric, King of the
Hwicce Hwicce () was a tribal kingdom in Anglo-Saxon England Anglo-Saxon England or Early Medieval England, existing from the 5th to the 11th centuries from the end of Roman Britain until the Norman Conquest, Norman conquest in 1066, consisted of var ...

Hwicce
, perhaps using the walled area as its precinct.
Nennius Nennius – or Nemnius or Nemnivus – was a Welsh monk of the 9th century. He has traditionally been attributed with the authorship of the ''Historia Brittonum ''The History of the Britons'' ( la, Historia Brittonum) is a purported history of ...
, a 9th-century historian, mentions a "Hot Lake" in the land of the Hwicce along the
River Severn , name_etymology = , image = SevernFromCastleCB.JPG , image_size = 288 , image_caption = The river seen from Shrewsbury Castle Shrewsbury Castle is a red sandstone castle in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, Englan ...
, and adds "It is surrounded by a wall, made of brick and stone, and men may go there to bathe at any time, and every man can have the kind of bath he likes. If he wants, it will be a cold bath; and if he wants a hot bath, it will be hot".
Bede Bede ( ; ang, Bǣda , ; 672/326 May 735), also known as Saint Bede, The Venerable Bede, and Bede the Venerable ( la, Beda Venerabilis), was an English Benedictine The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Ordo Sa ...

Bede
described hot baths in the geographical introduction to the ''Ecclesiastical History'' in terms very similar to those of Nennius.
King Offa Offa (died 29 July 796 AD) was King of the King of the Romans (variant used in the early modern period) File:Nezahualpiltzintli.jpg">Aztec King Nezahualpiltzintli of Texcoco King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of ...

King Offa
of
Mercia Mercia (, ang, Miercna rīċe; la, Merciorum regnum) was one of the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Cultural identity is a part of a person's identity Identity may refer to: Social sciences * Id ...

Mercia
gained control of the monastery in 781 and rebuilt the church, which was dedicated to
St. Peter Saint Peter; he, שמעון בר יונה, Šimʿōn bar Yōnāh; ar, سِمعَان بُطرُس, translit=Simʿa̅n Buṭrus; grc-gre, Πέτρος, Petros; cop, Ⲡⲉⲧⲣⲟⲥ, Petros; lat, Petrus; ar, شمعون الصفـا, Sham' ...

St. Peter
. According to the Victorian churchman
Edward Churton Edward Churton (26 January 1800 – July 1874) was an English churchman and Spanish scholar. Life He was born on 26 January 1800 at Middleton Cheney, Northamptonshire, the second son of Ralph Churton, archdeacon of St David's. He was educated at ...
, during the Anglo-Saxon era Bath was known as ''Acemannesceastre'' ('Akemanchester'), or 'aching men's city', on account of the reputation these springs had for healing the sick. By the 9th century the old Roman street pattern was lost and Bath was a royal possession.
King Alfred Alfred the Great (848/49 – 26 October 899) was king of the West Saxons from 871 to and king of the Anglo-Saxons from to 899. He was the youngest son of King Æthelwulf of Wessex, Æthelwulf, who died when Alfred was young. Three of Alfred's ...

King Alfred
laid out the town afresh, leaving its south-eastern quadrant as the abbey precinct. In the
Burghal Hidage The Burghal Hidage () is an Old English language, Anglo-Saxon document providing a list of over thirty fortified places (burhs), the majority being in the ancient Kingdom of Wessex, and the taxes (recorded as numbers of Hide (unit), hides) assigne ...
, Bath is recorded as a
burh A burh () or burg was an Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages ...
(borough) and is described as having walls of and was allocated 1000 men for defence. During the reign of
Edward the Elder Edward the Elder (– 17 July 924) was King of the Anglo-Saxons This list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 12 July 927, when it emerged fro ...

Edward the Elder
coins were
minted Minted is an online marketplace of independent artists and designers. The company crowdsource Crowdsourcing is a sourcing model in which individuals or organizations obtain goods or services, including ideas, voting, micro-tasks and finance ...
in Bath based on a design from the
Winchester Winchester is a cathedral city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London ...

Winchester
mint but with 'BAD' on the obverse relating to the Anglo-Saxon name for the town, Baðum, Baðan or Baðon, meaning "at the baths", and this was the source of the present name.
Edgar of England Edgar ( ang, Ēadgār ; 8 July 975), known as the Peaceful or the Peaceable, was King of the English This list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of England begins with Alfred the Great, who initially ruled Kingdom of Wessex, Wessex, one o ...
was crowned king of England in
Bath Abbey Bath Abbey is a parish church of the Church of England and former Benedictines, Benedictine monastery in Bath, Somerset, Bath, Somerset, England. Founded in the 7th century, it was reorganised in the 10th century and rebuilt in the 12th and 16t ...

Bath Abbey
in 973, in a ceremony that formed the basis of all future English coronations.
William Rufus William II ( xno, Williame;  – 2 August 1100), the third son of William the Conqueror William I (c. 1028Bates ''William the Conqueror'' p. 33 – 9 September 1087), usually known as William the Conqueror and sometimes Wi ...

William Rufus
granted the town, abbey and mint to a royal physician, John of Tours, who became Bishop of
Wells Wells most commonly refers to: * Wells, Somerset, a cathedral city in Somerset, England * Well, an excavation or structure created in the ground * Wells (name) Wells may also refer to: Places ;Canada *Wells, British Columbia ;England * Wells ( ...
and Abbot of Bath, following the sacking of the town during the
Rebellion of 1088 The Rebellion of 1088 occurred after the death of William the Conqueror and concerned the division of lands in the Kingdom of England and the Duchy of Normandy between his two sons William Rufus and Robert Curthose. Hostilities lasted from 3 to 6 ...
. It was papal policy for bishops to move to more urban seats, and John of Tours
translated Translation is the communication of the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text. The English language draws a terminological distinction (which does not exist in every language) between ''transla ...
his own from Wells to Bath. The bishop planned and began a much larger church as his cathedral, to which was attached a priory, with the bishop's palace beside it. New baths were built around the three springs. Later bishops returned the episcopal seat to Wells while retaining the name Bath in the title,
Bishop of Bath and Wells The Bishop of Bath and Wells heads the Church of England Diocese of Bath and Wells in the Province of Canterbury in England. The present diocese covers the overwhelmingly greater part of the (ceremonial) county of Somerset and a small area of Dor ...
. St John's Hospital was founded around 1180 by Bishop
Reginald Fitz Jocelin Reginald fitz Jocelin (died 26 December 1191) was a medieval Bishop of Bath and an Archbishop of Canterbury-elect in England. A member of an Anglo-Norman noble family, he was the son of a bishop, and was educated in Italy. He was a household cle ...
and is among the oldest
almshouse An almshouse (also known as a bede-house, poorhouse, or hospital) is charitable The practice of charity means the Volunteering, voluntary giving of help to those in need, as a Humanitarianism, humanitarian act. There are a number of Philosophy, ...
s in England. The 'hospital of the baths' was built beside the hot springs of the , for their health-giving properties and to provide shelter for the poor infirm. Administrative systems fell within the
hundreds A hundred is the natural number following 99 and preceding 101. Hundred may also refer to: Units and divisions * Hundred (word) formerly also equal to 120 or other values * Hundred (unit) sometimes equal to 120 or other values ** Hundredweight (cw ...
. The Bath Hundred had various names including the Hundred of Le Buri. The Bath Foreign Hundred or Forinsecum covered the area outside the city and was later combined into the Bath Forum Hundred. Wealthy merchants had no status within the hundred courts and formed guilds to gain influence. They built the first guildhall probably in the 13th century. Around 1200 the List of Mayors of Bath, first mayor was appointed.


Early modern

By the 15th century, Bath's abbey church was dilapidated and Oliver King, Bishop of Bath and Wells, decided to rebuild it on a smaller scale in 1500. The new church was completed just a few years before Bath Priory was Dissolution of the Monasteries, dissolved in 1539 by Henry VIII of England, Henry VIII. The abbey church became derelict before being restored as the city's parish church in the Elizabethan era, when the city experienced a revival as a
spa A spa is a location where mineral-rich spring water (and sometimes seawater) is used to give medicinal baths. Spa towns or spa resorts (including hot springs resorts) typically offer various health treatments, which are also known as baln ...

spa
. The baths were improved and the city began to attract the aristocracy. A Royal charter granted by Queen Elizabeth I of England, Elizabeth I in 1590 confirmed City status in the United Kingdom, city status. During the English Civil War, the city was garrisoned for Charles I of England, Charles I. Seven thousand pounds was spent on fortifications, but on the appearance of parliamentary forces the gates were thrown open and the city surrendered. It became a significant post for the New Model Army under William Waller. Bath was retaken by royalists following the Battle of Lansdowne fought on the northern outskirts of the city on 5 July 1643. Thomas Guidott, a student of chemistry and medicine at Wadham College, Oxford, set up a practice in the city in 1668. He was interested in the curative properties of the waters, and he wrote ''A discourse of Bathe, and the hot waters there. Also, Some Enquiries into the Nature of the water'' in 1676. It brought the health-giving properties of the hot mineral waters to the attention of the country, and the aristocracy arrived to partake in them. Several areas of the city were developed in the House of Stuart, Stuart period, and more building took place during Georgian era, Georgian times in response to the increasing number of visitors who required accommodation. Architects John Wood, the Elder, John Wood the Elder and John Wood, the Younger, his son laid out the new quarters in streets and squares, the identical façades of which gave an impression of palatial scale and classical decorum. Much of the creamy gold Bath stone, a type of limestone used for construction in the city, was obtained from the Combe Down and Bathampton Down Mines owned by Ralph Allen (1694–1764). Allen, to advertise the quality of his quarried limestone, commissioned the elder John Wood to build a country house on his Prior Park estate between the city and the mines. Allen was responsible for improving and expanding the postal service in western England, for which he held the contract for more than forty years. Although not fond of politics, Allen was a civic-minded man and a member of Bath Corporation for many years. He was elected mayor for a single term in 1742. In the early 18th century, Bath acquired its first purpose-built theatre, the Old Orchard Street Theatre. It was rebuilt as the , along with the Grand Pump Room, Bath, Grand Pump Room attached to the Roman Baths and Bath Assembly Rooms, assembly rooms. Master of ceremonies
Beau Nash upright=1.4, Beau Nash. Beau Nash (18 October 1674 – 3 February 1761), born Richard Nash, was a celebrated dandy A dandy, historically, is a man who places particular importance upon physical appearance, refined language, and leisurely ho ...
, who presided over the city's social life from 1705 until his death in 1761, drew up a code of behaviour for public entertainments. Bath had become perhaps the most fashionable of the rapidly developing British spa towns, attracting many notable visitors such as the wealthy London bookseller Andrew Millar and his wife, who both made long visits. In 1816 it was described as "a seat of amusement and dissipation", where "scenes of extravagance in this receptacle of the wealthy and the idle, the weak and designing" were habitual.


Late modern

The population of the city was 40,020 at the 1801 census, making it one of the largest cities in Britain. William Thomas Beckford bought a house in Lansdown Crescent, Bath, Lansdown Crescent in 1822, and subsequently two adjacent houses to form his residence. Having acquired all the land between his home and the top of Lansdown, Bath, Lansdown Hill, he created a garden more than in length and built Beckford's Tower at the top. Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia spent the four years in exile, from 1936 to 1940, at Fairfield House, Bath, Fairfield House in Bath. During World War II, between the evening of 25 April and the early morning of 27 April 1942, Bath suffered three air raids in reprisal for Royal Air Force, RAF raids on the German cities of Lübeck and Rostock, part of the Luftwaffe campaign popularly known as the Baedeker Blitz. During the
Bath Blitz The term Bath Blitz refers to the air raids by the German ''Luftwaffe The ''Luftwaffe'' () was the aerial warfare branch of the '' Wehrmacht'' during World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as W ...
, more than 400 people were killed, and more than 19,000 buildings damaged or destroyed. Houses in
Royal Crescent The Royal Crescent is a row of 30 terraced houses laid out in a sweeping Crescent (architecture), crescent in the city of Bath, Somerset, Bath, England. Designed by the architect John Wood, the Younger and built between 1767 and 1774, it is am ...

Royal Crescent
,
Circus A circus is a company of performers who put on diverse entertainment shows that may include s, , trained animals, acts, s, s, , s, , s, , and as well as other and stunt-oriented artists. The term ''circus'' also describes the performance w ...

Circus
and The Paragon, Bath, Paragon were burnt out along with the
Assembly Rooms In Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the List of European islands by area, largest European islan ...
. A Explosive material, high explosive bomb landed on the east side of Queen Square (Bath), Queen Square, resulting in houses on the south side being damaged and the Francis Hotel, Bath, Francis Hotel losing of its frontage. The buildings have all been restored although there are still signs of the bombing. A postwar review of inadequate housing led to the clearance and redevelopment of areas of the city in a postwar style, often at variance with the local Georgian style. In the 1950s the nearby villages of Combe Down, Twerton and Weston, Bath, Weston were incorporated into the city to enable the development of housing, much of it council house, council housing. In 1965 town planner Colin Buchanan (town planner), Professor Colin Buchanan published ''Bath: A Planning and Transport Study'', which to a large degree sought to better accommodate the motor car, including the idea of a traffic tunnel underneath the centre of Bath. Though criticised by conservationists, some parts of the plan were implemented. In the 1970s and 1980s it was recognised that conservation of historic buildings was inadequate, leading to more care and reuse of buildings and open spaces. In 1987 the city was selected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, recognising its international cultural significance. Since 2000, major developments have included the Thermae Bath Spa, the SouthGate, Bath, SouthGate shopping centre, the residential Western Riverside project on the Stothert & Pitt factory site, and the riverside Bath Quays office and business development.


Government

Since 1996, the city has a unitary authorities in England, single tier of local government — Bath and North East Somerset Council.


Historical development

Bath had long been an ancient borough, having that status since 878 when it became a royal borough (Burghal Hidage, burh) of Alfred the Great, and was reformed into a municipal borough in 1835. It has formed part of the Historic counties of England, county of Somerset since 878, when ceded to Wessex, having previously been in
Mercia Mercia (, ang, Miercna rīċe; la, Merciorum regnum) was one of the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Cultural identity is a part of a person's identity Identity may refer to: Social sciences * Id ...

Mercia
(the River Avon had acted as the border between the two kingdoms since 628). However, Bath was made a county borough in 1889, independent of the newly created Administrative counties of England, administrative county and Somerset County Council. Bath became part of Avon when the non-metropolitan county was created in 1974, resulting in its abolition as a county borough, and instead became a non-metropolitan district with Borough status in the United Kingdom, borough status. With the abolition of Avon in 1996, the non-metropolitan district and borough were abolished too, and Bath has since been part of the unitary authority district of
Bath and North East Somerset Bath and North East Somerset (commonly referred to as BANES or B&NES) is the district of the Unitary authorities of England, unitary authority of Bath and North East Somerset Council that was created on 1 April 1996 following the abolition of the ...
(B&NES). The unitary district included also the Wansdyke (district), Wansdyke district and therefore includes a wider area than the city (the 'North East Somerset' element) including Keynsham which is home to many of the council's offices, though the council meets at the Guildhall, Bath, Guildhall in Bath. Bath was returned to the Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county of Somerset in 1996, though as B&NES is a unitary authority, it is not part of the area covered by Somerset County Council.


Charter trustees

Because Bath is Unparished area, unparished, there is no longer a city council (or Parish councils in England, parish council) – Bath City Council having ended in 1996 with the abolition of the Districts of England, district of Bath. The City of Bath's ceremonial functions, including its City status in the United Kingdom, formal status as a city, #Twinning, its twinning arrangements,Bath and North East Somerset Council
Twinning
List of Mayors of Bath, the mayoralty of Bath – which can be traced back to 1230 – and control of the city's coat of arms, are maintained by the charter trustees of the City of Bath. The councillors elected by the electoral wards that cover Bath (#Electoral wards, see below) are the trustees, and they elect one of their number as their chair and mayor. The mayor holds office for one municipal year and in modern times the mayor begins their term in office on the first Saturday in June, at a ceremony at Bath Abbey with a civic procession from and to the Guildhall. The 793rd mayor, who began her office on 6 June 2020, is Manda Rigby. A deputy mayor is also elected.


Coat of arms

The coat of arms includes a depiction of the Bath city walls, city wall, and two silver strips representing the River Avon, Bristol, River Avon and the hot springs. The sword of Paul the Apostle, St. Paul is a link to Bath Abbey. The supporters, a lion and a bear, stand on a bed of acorns, a link to Bladud, the subject of the Legend of Bath. The knight's helmet indicates a municipality and the Crown (headgear), crown is that of King Edgar (referencing his coronation at the Abbey). A mural crown, indicating a
city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It can be defined as a ...
, is alternatively used instead of the helmet and Edgar's crown. The Arms bear the motto "Aqvae Svlis", the Roman name for Bath in
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
script; although not on the Arms, the motto "Floreat Bathon" is sometimes used ("may Bath flourish" in Latin).


Bath City Forum

Bath and North East Somerset Council has established the Bath City Forum, comprising B&NES councillors representing wards in Bath and up to 13 co-opted members drawn from the communities of the city. The first meeting of the Forum was held on 13 October 2015, at the Guildhall, where the first Chair and vice-chair were elected.


Parliamentary elections

Bath is one of the oldest extant Parliament of the United Kingdom, parliamentary constituencies in the United Kingdom, being in continuous existence since the Model Parliament of 1295. Before the Reform Act 1832, Bath elected two members to the unreformed House of Commons, as an ancient parliamentary borough. From 1832 until 1918 it elected two MPs and then was reduced to one. Historically the constituency covered only the city of Bath, however it was enlarged into some outlying areas between 1997 and 2010. The constituency since 2010 once again covers exactly the city of Bath (it is co-extensive with the unparished area), and is currently represented by Liberal Democrats (UK), Liberal Democrat Wera Hobhouse who beat Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Ben Howlett (politician), Ben Howlett at the 2017 United Kingdom general election, 2017 general election and retained her seat at the 2019 United Kingdom general election, 2019 general election. Howlett had replaced the retiring Liberal Democrats (UK), Liberal Democrat Don Foster (politician), Don Foster at the 2015 United Kingdom general election, 2015 general election. Foster's election was a notable result of the 1992 United Kingdom general election, 1992 general election, as Chris Patten, the previous Member (and Cabinet of the United Kingdom, Cabinet Minister) played a major part, as Chairman of the Conservative Party, in re-electing the government of John Major, but failed to defend his marginal seat.


Electoral wards

The fifteen Wards and electoral divisions of the United Kingdom, electoral wards of Bath are: Bathwick, Combe Down, Kingsmead, Bath, Kingsmead, Lambridge, Lansdown, Bath, Lansdown, Moorlands, Newbridge, Bath, Newbridge, Odd Down, Oldfield Park, Southdown, Twerton, Walcot, Westmoreland, Bath, Westmoreland, Weston, Bath, Weston and Widcombe, Bath, Widcombe & Lyncombe, Bath, Lyncombe. These wards are co-extensive with the city, except that Newbridge includes also two parishes beyond the city boundary. These wards return a total of 28 councillors to Bath and North East Somerset Council; all except two wards return two councillors (Moorlands and Oldfield Park return one each). The most recent 2019 Bath and North East Somerset Council election, elections were held on 2 May 2019 and all wards returned Liberal Democrats (UK), Liberal Democrats except for Westmoreland which returned Independent politician, independents. Boundary changes enacted from 2 May 2019 included the abolition of Abbey, Bath, Abbey ward, the merger of Lyncombe and Widcombe wards, the creation of Moorlands ward, and the replacement of Oldfield with Oldfield Park, as well as considerable changes to boundaries affecting all wards.


Geography and environment


Physical geography

Bath is in the Avon Valley and is surrounded by limestone hills as it is near the southern edge of the Cotswolds, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the limestone Mendip Hills rise around south of the city. The hills that surround and make up the city have a maximum altitude of on the Lansdown plateau. Bath has an area of . The floodplain of the Avon has an altitude of about above sea level, although the city centre is at an elevation of around above sea level. The river, once an unnavigable series of Braided river, braided streams broken up by swamps and ponds, has been managed by weirs into a single channel. Periodic flooding, which shortened the life of many buildings in the lowest part of the city, was normal until major flood control works were completed in the 1970s. Kensington Meadows is an area of mixed woodland and open meadow next to the river which has been designated as a local nature reserve. Water bubbling up from the ground as List of geothermal springs in the United Kingdom, geothermal springs originates as rain on the Mendip Hills. The rain percolates through limestone aquifers to a depth of between where geothermal energy raises the water's temperature to between 64 and 96 °C (approximately 147–205 °F). Under pressure, the heated water rises to the surface along fissures and faults in the limestone. Hot water at a temperature of rises here at the rate of daily, from the Pennyquick Fault (geology), geological fault. In 1983, a new spa-water bore-hole was sunk, providing a clean and safe supply for drinking in the Pump Room. There is no universal definition to distinguish a hot spring from a Geothermal gradient, geothermal spring, although, by several Hot spring#Definitions, definitions, the Bath springs can be considered the only hot springs in the UK. Three of the springs feed the thermal baths.


Climate

Along with the rest of South West England, Bath has a temperate climate which is generally wetter and milder than the rest of the country. The annual mean temperature is approximately . Seasonal temperature variation is less extreme than most of the United Kingdom because of the adjacent sea temperatures. The summer months of July and August are the warmest, with mean daily maxima of approximately . In winter, mean minimum temperatures of are common. In the summer the Azores high pressure affects the southwest of England bringing fair weather; however, Convection, convective cloud sometimes forms inland, reducing the number of hours of sunshine. Annual sunshine rates are slightly less than the regional average of 1,600 hours. In December 1998 there were 20 days without sun recorded at Yeovilton. Most of the rainfall in the south-west is caused by Low-pressure area, Atlantic depressions or by convection. Most of the rainfall in autumn and winter is caused by the Atlantic depressions, which is when they are most active. In summer, a large proportion of the rainfall is caused by sun heating the ground, leading to convection and to showers and thunderstorms. Average rainfall is around . About 8–15 days of snowfall is typical. November to March have the highest mean wind speeds, and June to August have the lightest winds. The predominant wind direction is from the southwest.


Green belt

Bath is fully enclosed by Green belt (United Kingdom), green belt as a part of a wider environmental and planning policy first designated in the late 1950s, and this extends into much of the surrounding district and beyond, helping to maintain local green space, prevent further urban sprawl and unplanned expansion towards Bristol and Bradford-on-Avon, as well as protecting smaller villages in between. Suburbs of the city bordering the green belt include Batheaston, Bathford, Bathampton, the University of Bath campus, Ensleigh, Twerton, Upper Weston, Odd Down, and Combe Down. Parts of the Cotswolds AONB southern extent overlap the green belt north of the city, with other nearby landscape features and facilities within the green belt including the River Avon, Kennet and Avon Canal, Bath Racecourse, Bath Golf Club,
Bathampton Down Bathampton Down is a flat limestone plateau in Bathampton Bathampton () is a village and civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government. It is a territorial designation which is the l ...
, Bathampton Meadow Nature Reserve, Bristol and Bath Railway Path, the Cotswold Way, Limestone Link route, Pennyquick Park, Little Solsbury Hill, and Primrose Hill.


Demography


District

According to the United Kingdom Census 2011, 2011 census, Bath, together with North East Somerset, which includes areas around Bath as far as the Chew Valley, had a population of 176,015. Demography shows according to the same statistics, the district is overwhelmingly populated by people of a white background at 94.6% – significantly higher than the national average of 87.17%. Other ethnic groups in the district, in order of population size, are multiracial at 1.6%, Asian at 2.6% and black at 0.8% (the national averages are 1.98%, 6.92% and 3.01%, respectively). The district is largely Christians, Christian at 56.5%, with no other religion reaching more than 0.7%. These figures generally compare with the national averages, though the irreligion, non-religious, at 32.7%, are significantly more prevalent than the national 25.67%. 83.9% of residents rated their health as good or very good, higher than the national level (81.40%). Nationally, 18% of people describe themselves as having a long-term illness; in Bath it is 16.10%.


City

The United Kingdom Census 2011, 2011 census recorded a population of 94,782 for the Bath built-up area and 88,859 for the unparished area (the city), with the latter exactly corresponding to the boundaries of the parliament constituency. The Bath built-up area extends slightly beyond the boundaries of the city itself, taking in areas to the northeast such as Bathampton and Bathford. The 2001 census figure for the city was 83,992. By 2019, the population was estimated at 90,000. An inhabitant of Bath is known as a Bathonian. The table below compares the city (the unparished area) of Bath with the unitary authority district as a whole (including the city) and South West England.


Economy


Industry

Bath once had an important manufacturing sector, particularly in crane manufacture, furniture manufacture, printing, brass foundries, quarries, dye works and Plasticine manufacture, as well as many mills. Significant Bath companies included Stothert & Pitt, Bath Cabinet Makers and Portland stone#History, Bath & Portland Stone. Nowadays, manufacturing is in decline, but the city boasts strong software, publishing and service-oriented industries. The city's attraction to tourists has also led to a significant number of jobs in tourism-related industries. Important economic sectors in Bath include education and health (30,000 jobs), retail, tourism and leisure (14,000 jobs) and business and professional services (10,000 jobs). Major employers are the National Health Service, the city's two universities, and the Bath and North East Somerset Council, as well as the Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom), Ministry of Defence although a number of MOD offices formerly in Bath have recently moved to
Bristol Bristol () is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routle ...

Bristol
. Growing employment sectors include information and communication technologies and creative and cultural industries where Bath is one of the recognised national centres for publishing, with the magazine and digital publisher Future plc employing around 650 people. Others include BuroHappold Engineering, Buro Happold (400) and IPL Information Processing Limited (250). The city boasts over 400 retail shops, half of which are run by independent specialist retailers, and around 100 restaurants and cafes primarily supported by tourism.


Tourism

One of Bath's principal industries is tourism, with annually more than one million staying visitors and 3.8 million day visitors. The visits mainly fall into the categories of heritage tourism and cultural tourism, aided by the city's selection in 1987 as a World Heritage Site in recognition of its international cultural importance. All significant stages of the history of England are represented within the city, from the Roman Baths (including their significant Celts, Celtic presence), to Bath Abbey and the Royal Crescent, to the more recent Thermae Bath Spa. The size of the tourist industry is reflected in the almost 300 places of accommodation – including more than 80 hotels, two of which have 'five-star' ratings, over 180 bed and breakfasts – many of which are located in Georgian architecture, Georgian buildings, and two campsites located on the western edge of the city. The city also has about 100 restaurants and a similar number of pubs and bars. Several companies offer open top bus tours around the city, as well as tours on foot and on the river. Since the opening of Thermae Bath Spa in 2006, the city has attempted to recapture its historical position as the only town or city in the United Kingdom offering visitors the opportunity to bathe in naturally heated spring waters. In the 2010 Google Street View Best Streets Awards, the Royal Crescent took second place in the "Britain's Most Picturesque Street" award, first place being given to The Shambles in York. Milsom Street, Bath, Milsom Street was also awarded "Britain's Best Fashion Street" in the 11,000-strong vote.


Architecture

There are many Roman archaeology, archaeological sites throughout the central area of the city. The themselves are about below the present city street level. Around the hot springs, Roman foundations, pillar bases, and baths can still be seen, however all the Stonemasonry, stonework above the level of the baths is from more recent periods. Bath Abbey was a Norman architecture, Norman church built on earlier foundations. The present building dates from the early 16th century and shows a Perpendicular Gothic, late Perpendicular style with flying buttresses and crocketed pinnacles decorating a Battlement, crenellated and pierced parapet. The choir and transepts have a fan vault by Robert Vertue, Robert and William Vertue. A matching vault was added to the nave in the 19th century. The building is lit by 52 windows. Most buildings in Bath are made from the local, golden-coloured Bath stone, and many date from the 18th and 19th century. The dominant style of architecture in Central Bath is Georgian; this style evolved from the Palladian architecture, Palladian revival style that became popular in the early 18th century. Many of the prominent architects of the day were employed in the development of the city. The original purpose of much of Bath's architecture is concealed by the honey-coloured classical façades; in an era before the advent of the luxury hotel, these apparently elegant residences were frequently purpose-built lodging houses, where visitors could hire a room, a floor, or (according to their means) an entire house for the duration of their visit, and be waited on by the house's communal Domestic worker, servants. The masons Reeves of Bath were prominent in the city from the 1770s to 1860s. The Circus consists of three long, curved terraces designed by the elder John Wood to form a circular space or theatre intended for civic functions and games. The games give a clue to the design, the inspiration behind which was the Colosseum in Rome. Like the Colosseum, the three façades have a different order of architecture on each floor: Doric order, Doric on the ground level, then Ionic order, Ionic on the piano nobile, and finishing with Corinthian order, Corinthian on the upper floor, the style of the building thus becoming progressively more ornate as it rises. Wood never lived to see his unique example of town planning completed as he died five days after personally laying the foundation stone on 18 May 1754. The most spectacular of Bath's terraces is the Royal Crescent, built between 1767 and 1774 and designed by the younger John Wood. Wood designed the great curved façade of what appears to be about 30 houses with Ionic columns on a rusticated ground floor, but that was the extent of his input: each purchaser bought a certain length of the façade, and then employed their own architect to build a house to their own specifications behind it; hence what appears to be two houses is in some cases just one. This system of town planning is betrayed at the rear of the crescent: while the front is completely uniform and symmetrical, the rear is a mixture of differing roof heights, juxtapositions and fenestration. The "Queen Anne fronts and Mary-Anne backs" architecture occurs repeatedly in Bath and was designed to keep hired women at the back of the house. Other fine terraces elsewhere in the city include Lansdown Crescent and Somerset Place, Bath, Somerset Place on the northern hill. Around 1770 the neoclassicism, neoclassical architect Robert Adam designed Pulteney Bridge, using as the prototype for the three-arched bridge spanning the Avon an original, but unused, design by Andrea Palladio for the Rialto Bridge in Venice. Thus, Pulteney Bridge became not just a means of crossing the river, but also a shopping arcade. Along with the Rialto Bridge and the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, which it resembles, it is one of the very few surviving bridges in Europe to serve this dual purpose. It has been substantially altered since it was built. The bridge was named after Frances and Sir William Pulteney, 5th Baronet, William Pulteney, the owners of the Bathwick estate for which the bridge provided a link to the rest of Bath. The Georgian streets in the vicinity of the river tended to be built high above the original ground level to avoid flooding, with the carriageways supported on vaults extending in front of the houses. This can be seen in the multi-storey cellars around Laura Place south of Pulteney Bridge, in the colonnades below Grand Parade, and in the grated coal holes in the pavement of North Parade. In some parts of the city, such as George Street, and London Road near Cleveland Bridge, the developers of the opposite side of the road did not match this pattern, leaving raised pavements with the ends of the vaults exposed to a lower street below. The heart of the Georgian city was the Pump Room, which, together with its associated Lower Assembly Rooms, was designed by Thomas Baldwin (architect), Thomas Baldwin, a local builder responsible for many other buildings in the city, including the terraces in Argyle Street and the Guildhall, Bath, Guildhall. Baldwin rose rapidly, becoming a leader in Bath's architectural history. In 1776 he was made the chief Bath City Surveyor, City Surveyor, and Bath City Architect. Great Pulteney Street, where he eventually lived, is another of his works: this wide boulevard, constructed around 1789 and over long and wide, is lined on both sides by Georgian terraces. In the 1960s and early 1970s some parts of Bath were unsympathetically redeveloped, resulting in the loss of some 18th- and 19th-century buildings. This process was largely halted by a popular campaign which drew strength from the publication of Adam Fergusson's ''The Sack of Bath''. Controversy has revived periodically, most recently with the demolition of the 1930s Churchill House, a neo-Georgian municipal building originally housing the Electricity Board, to make way for a new Bath bus station, bus station. This is part of the Southgate redevelopment in which an ill-favoured 1960s shopping precinct, bus station and multi-storey car park were demolished and replaced by a new area of mock-Georgian shopping streets. As a result of this and other changes, notably plans for abandoned industrial land along the Avon, the city's status as a World Heritage Site was reviewed by UNESCO in 2009. The decision was made to let Bath keep its status, but UNESCO has asked to be consulted on future phases of the Riverside development, saying that the density and volume of buildings in the second and third phases of the development need to be reconsidered. It also demands Bath do more to attract world-class architecture in new developments.


Culture

Bath became the centre of fashionable life in England during the 18th century when its Old Orchard Street Theatre and architecture, architectural developments such as Lansdown Crescent, the Royal Crescent, The Circus (Bath), The Circus, and Pulteney Bridge were built. Bath's five theatres – , Ustinov Studio, The egg, Bath, the Egg, the Rondo Theatre, and the Mission Theatre – attract internationally renowned companies and directors and an annual season by Peter Hall (director), Sir Peter Hall. The city has a long-standing musical tradition; Bath Abbey, home to the Klais Orgelbau, Klais Organ and the largest concert venue in the city, stages about 20 concerts and 26 organ recitals each year. Another concert venue, the 1,600-seat art deco The Forum, Bath, The Forum, originated as a cinema. The city holds the annual Bath International Music Festival and Mozartfest, the annual Bath Literature Festival (and its Bath Festival of Children's Literature, counterpart for children), the Bath Film Festival, the Bath Digital Festival. the Bath Fringe Festival, the Bath Beer Festival and the Bath Chilli Festival. The Bach Festivals occur at two and a half-year intervals. An annual Bard of Bath competition aims to find the best poet, singer or storyteller. The city is home to the
Victoria Art Gallery The Victoria Art Gallery is a public art museum in Bath, Somerset Somerset (; Archaism, archaically Somersetshire) is a Ceremonial counties of England, county in South West England which borders Gloucestershire and Bristol to the north, W ...
, the
Museum of East Asian Art The Museum of East Asian Art or MEAA is in Bennett Street, Bath, Somerset, Bath, Somerset, England. Just a few metres off The Circus in central Bath, the Museum of East Asian Art is situated in a restored Georgian architecture, Georgian house. ...
, and Holburne Museum, numerous commercial art galleries and antique shops, as well as a number of other museums, among them Bath Postal Museum, the Fashion Museum, the Jane Austen Centre, the
Herschel Museum of Astronomy The Herschel Museum of Astronomy at 19 New King Street, Bath, England, is a museum that was inaugurated in 1981. It is located in a preserved town house that was formerly the home of William Herschel and his sister Caroline. Location The mus ...
and the Roman Baths. The Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution (BRLSI) in Queen Square was founded in 1824 from the Society for the encouragement of Agriculture, Planting, Manufactures, Commerce and the Fine Arts founded in 1777. In September 1864, BRLSI hosted the 34th annual meeting of the British Science Association, which was attended by explorers David Livingstone, Richard Francis Burton, Sir Richard Francis Burton, and John Hanning Speke. The history of the city is displayed at the
Museum of Bath Architecture The Museum of Bath Architecture (formerly known as the Building of Bath Museum and the Building of Bath Collection) in Bath, Somerset Somerset (; Archaism, archaically Somersetshire) is a Ceremonial counties of England, county in South We ...
, which is housed in a building built in 1765 as the Trinity Presbyterianism, Presbyterian Church. It was also known as the Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon, Countess of Huntingdon's Chapel, as she lived in the attached house from 1707 to 1791.


Bath in the arts

During the 18th century Thomas Gainsborough and Thomas Lawrence, Sir Thomas Lawrence lived and worked in Bath. John Maggs, a painter best known for coaching scenes, was born and lived in Bath with his artistic family.
Jane Austen Jane Austen (; 16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist known primarily for her six major novels, which interpret, critique and comment upon the British landed gentry The landed gentry, or the ''gentry'', is a l ...

Jane Austen
lived there from 1801 with her father, mother and sister Cassandra, and the family resided at four different addresses until 1806. Jane Austen never liked the city, and wrote to Cassandra, "It will be two years tomorrow since we left Bath for Clifton, with what happy feelings of escape." Bath has honoured her name with the Jane Austen Centre and a city walk. Austen's ''Northanger Abbey'' and ''Persuasion (novel), Persuasion'' are set in the city and describe taking the waters, social life, and music recitals. William Friese-Greene experimented with celluloid and motion pictures in his studio in the 1870s, developing some of the earliest movie camera technology. He is credited as being one of the inventors of cinematography. Satirist and Political journalist William Hone was born in Bath in 1780. Taking the waters is described in Charles Dickens' novel ''The Pickwick Papers'' in which Pickwick's servant, Sam Weller (character), Sam Weller, comments that the water has "a very strong flavour o' warm flat irons". The Royal Crescent is the venue for a chase between two characters, Dowler and Winkle. Moyra Caldecott's novel ''The Waters of Sul'' is set in Roman Bath in AD 72, and ''The Regency Detective'', by David Lassman and Terence James, revolves around the exploits of Jack Swann investigating deaths in the city during the early 1800s. Richard Brinsley Sheridan's play ''The Rivals'' takes place in the city, as does Roald Dahl's chilling short story, The Landlady (Roald Dahl), "The Landlady". Many films and television programmes have been filmed using its architecture as the backdrop, including the 2004 Vanity Fair (2004 film), film of William Makepeace Thackeray, Thackeray's ''Vanity Fair (novel), Vanity Fair'', ''The Duchess (film), The Duchess'' (2008), ''The Elusive Pimpernel (1950 film), The Elusive Pimpernel'' (1950) and ''The Titfield Thunderbolt'' (1953). In 2012, Pulteney Weir was used as a replacement location during post production of the film adaptation of Les Misérables (2012 film), ''Les Misérables''. Stunt shots were filmed in October 2012 after footage acquired during the main filming period was found to have errors. In August 2003 The Three Tenors sang at a concert to mark the opening of the Thermae Bath Spa, a new hot water Thermae, spa in the city centre, but delays to the project meant the spa actually opened three years later on 7 August 2006. In 2008, 104 decorated pigs were displayed around the city in a public art event called "King Bladud's Pigs in Bath". It celebrated the city, its origins and artists. Decorated pig sculptures were displayed throughout the summer and were auctioned to raise funds for Two Tunnels Greenway.


Parks

Royal Victoria Park, a short walk from the city centre, was opened in 1830 by the 11-year-old Queen Victoria, Princess Victoria, and was the first park to carry her name. The Urban park, public park is overlooked by the Royal Crescent and covers . It has a skatepark, tennis courts, a bowling green, a putting green and a 12- and 18-hole golf course, a pond, open-air concerts, an annual travelling funfair at Easter, and a children's play area. Much of its area is lawn; a notable feature is a ha-ha that segregates it from the Royal Crescent while giving the impression from the Crescent of uninterrupted grassland across the park to Royal Avenue. It has a "Green Flag Award", the national standard for parks and green spaces in England and Wales, and is registered by English Heritage as of Register of Historic Parks and Gardens of special historic interest in England, National Historic Importance. The botanical gardens were formed in 1887 and contain one of the finest collections of plants on limestone in the West Country. A replica Roman Temple was built at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924, and, following the exhibition, was dismantled and rebuilt in Victoria Park in Bath. In 1987 the gardens were extended to include the Great Dell, a disused quarry with a collection of Pinophyta, conifers. Other parks include Alexandra Park on a hill overlooking the city; Parade Gardens, along the river near the abbey in the city centre; Sydney Gardens, an 18th-century pleasure garden; Henrietta Park; Hedgemead Park; and Alice Park.
Jane Austen Jane Austen (; 16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist known primarily for her six major novels, which interpret, critique and comment upon the British landed gentry The landed gentry, or the ''gentry'', is a l ...

Jane Austen
wrote "It would be pleasant to be near the Sydney Gardens. We could go into the Labyrinth every day." Alexandra, Alice and Henrietta parks were built into the growing city among the housing developments. Linear Park is built on the old Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway line, and connects with the Two Tunnels Greenway which contains the longest cycling and walking tunnel in the UK. Cleveland Pools were built around 1815 close to the River Avon, now the oldest surviving public outdoor lido in England, and plans have been submitted for its restoration.


Bath and Queen Victoria

Victoria Art Gallery and Royal Victoria Park are named after Queen Victoria, who wrote in her journal "The people are really too kind to me.". This feeling seemed to have been reciprocated by the people of Bath: "Lord James O'Brien brought a drawing of the intended pillar which the people of Bath are so kind as to erect in commemoration of my 18th birthday.".


Food

Several foods have an association with the city. ''Sally Lunn buns'' (a type of teacake) have long been baked in Bath. They were first mentioned by name in verses printed in the Bath Chronicle, in 1772. At that time they were eaten hot at public breakfasts in Spring Gardens. They can be eaten with sweet or savoury toppings and are sometimes confused with ''Bath buns'', which are smaller, round, very sweet and very rich. They were associated with the city following The Great Exhibition. Bath buns were originally topped with crushed comfits created by dipping caraway seeds repeatedly in boiling sugar; but today seeds are added to a 'London Bath Bun' (a reference to the bun's promotion and sale at the Great Exhibition). The seeds may be replaced by crushed sugar granules or 'nibs'. Bath has lent its name to one other distinctive recipe – ''Bath Olivers'' – a dry baked biscuit invented by Dr William Oliver, physician to the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Mineral Water Hospital in 1740. Oliver was an anti-obesity campaigner and author of a ''"Practical Essay on the Use and Abuse of warm Bathing in Gluty Cases"''. In more recent years, Oliver's efforts have been traduced by the introduction of a version of the biscuit with a plain chocolate coating. ''Bath Chaps'', the salted and smoked cheek and jawbones of the pig, takes its name from the city and is available from a stall in the daily covered market. Bath Ales brewery is located in Warmley and Abbey Ales Brewery, Abbey Ales are brewed in the city.


Twinning

Bath is Twin towns and sister cities, twinned with four other cities in Europe. Twinning is the responsibility of the Charter Trustees and each twinning arrangement is managed by a Twinning Association. There is also a historic connection with Manly, New South Wales, Australia, which is referred to as a sister city, and there is a partnership arrangement with Beppu, Ōita, Beppu, Ōita Prefecture, Japan.


Formal twinning

*Aix-en-Provence, France *Alkmaar, Netherlands *Braunschweig, Germany *Kaposvár, Hungary


Education

Bath has two universities, the
University of Bath A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of higher education, higher (or Tertiary education, tertiary) education and research which awards academic degrees in various Discipline (academia), academic d ...

University of Bath
and
Bath Spa University Bath Spa University is a public university A public university or public college is a university or college that is in state ownership or receives significant Government spending, public funds through a national or subnational government, as ...
. Established in 1966, the University of Bath was named University of the Year by ''The Sunday Times'' (2011). It offers programs in politics, languages, the physical sciences, engineering, mathematics, architecture, management and technology. Bath Spa University was first granted degree-awarding powers in 1992 as a university college before being granted university status in August 2005. It offers courses leading to a Postgraduate Certificate in Education. It has schools in the following subject areas: Art and Design, Education, English and Creative Studies, Historical and Cultural Studies, Music and the Performing Arts, Science and the Environment and Social Sciences.
Bath College Bath College is a Further Education college in the centre of Bath, Somerset and in Westfield, Somerset, England. It was formed in April 2015 by the merger of City of Bath College and Norton Radstock College. The College also offers Higher Educa ...
offers
further education Further education (often abbreviated FE) in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a s ...
, and Norland College provides education and training in childcare.


Sport

Bath Rugby Bath Rugby is a professional rugby union Rugby union, commonly known simply as rugby, is a Contact sport#Terminology, close-contact team sport that originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. One of the Comparison of rug ...
is a rugby union team in the English Premiership (rugby union), Premiership league. It plays in blue, white and black kit at the Recreation Ground (Bath), Recreation Ground in the city, where it has been since the late 19th century, following its establishment in 1865. The team's first major honour was winning the John Player Cup, now sponsored as the Liverpool Victoria, LV Cup and also known as the Anglo-Welsh Cup, four years consecutively from 1984 until 1987. The team then led the English Premiership (rugby union), Courage league in six seasons in eight years between 1988 and 1989 and 1995–96, during which time it also won the renamed Pilkington Cup in 1989, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1995 and 1996. It finally won the Heineken Cup in the 1997–98 season, and topped the Zürich Premiership (now Aviva Premiership) in 2003–04. The team's squad includes several members who also play, or have played in the England national rugby union team, English national team, including Lee Mears, Rob Webber, Dave Attwood, Nick Abendanon and Matt Banahan. Colston's School, Bristol, has had a large input in the team over the past decade, providing several current 1st XV squad members. The former England Rugby Team Manager and former Scotland national rugby union team, Scotland national coach Andy Robinson used to play for Bath Rugby team and was captain and later coach. Both of Robinson's predecessors, Clive Woodward and Jack Rowell, as well as his successor Brian Ashton (rugby union), Brian Ashton, were also former Bath coaches and managers. Bath City F.C. is the major Association football, football team. Bath City gained promotion to the Conference Premier from the Conference South in 2010. Bath City F.C. play their games at Twerton Park. Until 2009 Team Bath F.C. operated as an affiliate to the University Athletics programme. In 2002, Team Bath became the first university team to enter the FA Cup in 120 years, and advanced through four qualifying rounds to the first round proper. The university's team was established in 1999 while the city team has existed since before 1908 (when it entered the Western Football League, Western League). However, in 2009, the Football Conference ruled that Team Bath would not be eligible to gain promotion to a National division, nor were they allowed to participate in The Football Association, Football Association cup competitions. This ruling led to the decision by the club to fold at the end of the 2008–09 Conference South competition. In their final season, Team Bath F.C. finished 11th in the league. Bath City narrowly missed out on election to the English Football League in 1978. Bath also has Non-League football clubs Odd Down F.C. who play at Lew Hill Memorial Ground and Larkhall Athletic F.C. who play at Plain Ham. Many cricket clubs are based in the city, including Bath Cricket Club, who are based at the North Parade Ground and play in the West of England Premier League. Cricket is also played on the Recreation Ground, just across from where the Rugby is played. The Recreation Ground is also home to Bath Croquet Club, which was re-formed in 1976 and is affiliated with the South West Federation of Croquet Clubs. The Bath Half Marathon is run annually through the city streets, with over 10,000 runners. TeamBath is the umbrella name for all of the University of Bath sports teams, including the aforementioned football club. Other sports for which TeamBath is noted are Track and field, athletics, badminton, basketball, skeleton (sport), bob skeleton, bobsleigh, field hockey, hockey, judo, modern pentathlon, netball, rugby union, swimming, tennis, triathlon and volleyball. The City of Bath Triathlon takes place annually at the university. Bath Roller Derby Girls, Bath Roller Derby Girls (BRDG) are Bath's only Flat Track Roller derby league. Founded in 2012, they compete in the British Roller Derby Championships Tier 3. As of 2015, they are full members of the United Kingdom Roller Derby Association (UKRDA.) Bath is home to a vibrant Table Tennis League, made up of 3 divisions and a number of clubs based in Bath and the surrounding area.


Transport


Roads

Bath is approximately south-east of the larger city and port of Bristol, to which it is linked by the A4 road (England), A4 road, which runs through Bath, and is a similar distance south of the M4 motorway at junction 18. The potential new junction 18a linking the M4 motorway with the A4174 Avon Ring Road will provide an additional direct route from Bath to the motorway. The city introduced a Class C Clean Air Zone on 15 March 2021, which charges the most polluting vehicles £9 per day (and up to £100 per day for coaches and HGVs) to drive in the city centre. It is the first pollution road charging zone outside London in the UK. In an attempt to reduce the level of car use, park and ride schemes have been introduced which paradoxically are designed to increase traffic volumes, with sites at Odd Down, Lansdown and Newbridge. A very large increase in city centre parking was also provided under the new SouthGate shopping centre development, which necessarily introduces more car traffic. In addition, a bus gate scheme in Northgate aims to reduce private car use in the city centre. National Express Coaches, National Express operates Coach (bus), coach services from Bath bus station to a number of cities. Bath also has a network of bus routes run by First West of England, with services to surrounding towns and cities, such as
Bristol Bristol () is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routle ...

Bristol
, Corsham, Chippenham, Devizes, Salisbury, Frome and
Wells Wells most commonly refers to: * Wells, Somerset, a cathedral city in Somerset, England * Well, an excavation or structure created in the ground * Wells (name) Wells may also refer to: Places ;Canada *Wells, British Columbia ;England * Wells ( ...
. Faresaver Buses, Faresaver Bus company also operate numerous services to surrounding towns. The Bath Bus Company runs open top double-decker bus tours around the city, as well as frequent services to Bristol Airport. Stagecoach West also provides services to Tetbury and the South Cotswolds. A Transport economics, transportation study (the Bristol/Bath to South Coast Study) was published in 2004 after being initiated by the Government Office, Government Office for the South West and Bath and North East Somerset Council. It was undertaken by WSP Global as a result of the Trunk road, de-trunking in 1999 of the A36/A46 trunk road network from Bath to Southampton.


Rivers and canals

The city is connected to Bristol and the sea by the River Avon, navigable via lock (water transport), locks by small boats. The river was connected to the River Thames and London by the Kennet and Avon Canal in 1810 via Bath Locks; this waterway – closed for many years but restored in the last years of the 20th century – is now popular with narrowboat users. Bath is on National Cycle Route 4, with one of Britain's first Cycling infrastructure, Bicycle Paths (cycleway), the Bristol and Bath Railway Path, to the west, and an eastern route toward London on the canal towpath. Bath is about from Bristol Airport.


Railways

Bath is served by the Bath Spa railway station (designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel), which has regular connections to London London Paddington station, Paddington, Bristol Temple Meads railway station, Bristol Temple Meads, Cardiff Central railway station, Cardiff Central, Cheltenham Spa railway station, Cheltenham, Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance (see Great Western Main Line), and also Westbury, Wiltshire, Westbury, Warminster, Weymouth, Dorset, Weymouth, Salisbury, Southampton, Portsmouth and Brighton (see Wessex Main Line). Services are provided by Great Western Railway (train operating company), Great Western Railway. There is a suburban station on the main line, Oldfield Park railway station, Oldfield Park, which has a limited commuter service to Bristol as well as other destinations. Bath Green Park railway station, Green Park Station was once the terminus of the Midland Railway, and junction for the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway, whose line, always steam hauled, went through the Devonshire tunnel (under the Wellsway, St Luke's Church and the Devonshire Arms), through the Combe Down Tunnel and climbed over the Mendip Hills, Mendips to serve many towns and villages on its run to Bournemouth. This example of an English rural line was closed by Beeching cuts, Beeching in March 1966. Its Bath station building, now restored, houses shops, small businesses, the Saturday Bath Farmers Market and parking for a supermarket, while the route of the Somerset and Dorset within Bath has been reused for the Two Tunnels Greenway, a shared use path that extends National Cycle Route 24 into the city.


Trams


Historic

The Bath Tramways Company was introduced in the late 19th century, opening on 24 December 1880. The gauge cars were horse-drawn along a route from London Road to the Bath Spa railway station, but the system closed in 1902. It was replaced by electric tram cars on a greatly expanded gauge system that opened in 1904. This eventually extended to with routes to Combe Down, Oldfield Park, Twerton, Newton St Loe, Weston and Bathford. There was a fleet of 40 cars, all but 6 being double deck. The first line to close was replaced by a bus service in 1938, and the last went on 6 May 1939.


Possible re-introduction

In 2005 a detailed plan was created and presented to the Council to re-introduce trams to Bath, but the plan did not proceed, reportedly due to the focus by the Council on the government-supported busway planned to run from the Newbridge park and ride into the city centre. Part of the justification for the proposed tram reintroduction plan was the pollution from vehicles within the city, which was twice the legal levels, and the heavy traffic congestion due to high car usage. In 2015 another group, Bath Trams building on the earlier tram group proposals has created interest in the idea of re-introducing trams with several public meetings and meetings with the Council. In 2017, Bath and North East Somerset Council announced a feasibility study, due to be published by March 2018, into implementing a light rail or tram system in the city. In November 2016, the Local enterprise partnership, West of England Local Enterprise Partnership began a consultation process on their Transport Vision Summary Document, outlining potential light rail/tram routes in the region, one of which being a route from Bristol city centre along the A4 road (England), A4 road to Bath to relieve pressure on bus and rail services between the two cities.


Media

Bath's local newspaper is the ''Bath Chronicle'', owned by Local World. Published since 1760, the ''Chronicle'' was a daily newspaper until mid-September 2007, when it became a weekly. The BBC Bristol website has featured coverage of news and events within Bath since 2003. For television, Bath is served by the BBC West Broadcasting House, Bristol, studios based in Bristol, and by ITV Wales & West, ITV West Country, formerly HTV, also from studios in Bristol. Radio stations broadcasting to the city include BBC Radio Bristol which has a studio in Kingsmead Square in the city centre, BBC Radio Somerset in Taunton, The Breeze (radio station), The Breeze on 107.9FM and Heart West Country, formerly GWR FM, as well as The University of Bath's University Radio Bath, a student-focused radio station available on campus and also online. Launched in 2019, is an online Community Radio Station. Bath is sometimes covered by Bristol's local media, including ''Bristol Live Magazine''.


See also

* The Bathonian Age (168.3 – 166.1 million years ago), a Jurassic Period of geological time named for Bath * Grade I listed buildings in Bath and North East Somerset * List of people from Bath * List of spa towns in the United Kingdom * Bath, Ontario, named for Bath, Somerset, and now part of Loyalist, Ontario


References


External links

*
Official tourist information

Mayor of Bath
* * {{Authority control Bath, Somerset, Cities in South West England Towns in Bath and North East Somerset Former non-metropolitan districts of Avon Spa towns in England World Heritage Sites in England River Avon, Bristol Bathonian, Unparished areas in Somerset Geographical articles missing image alternative text