Among many stops on my Haggis Tour wander to and from Cornwall was the City of Bath. I was quite looking forward to seeing the old Roman Baths that give the modern city its name, but I knew very little else about the city. What I learned was that the night and half day we were there was not nearly enough and I intend to return one day.
First of course, I have to get in a little detail about the history of Bath. Back in the days when the ancient Romans occupied Britannia, Bath was the site of one of their outposts, Aquae Sulis (the waters of Sul). But the history of the site reaches back in time further than the Romans, it was a holy site to the Britons. They felt the healing waters of the natural springs here were the work of their goddess, Sul. Sul represented the boundary between the worlds. The Romans liked to incorporate the local deities into their pantheon and they felt that Sul was the equivalent of their Minerva. Thus, they dedicated the site to Sulis Minerva. This head is the remnants of a beautiful Roman statue that would have once stood in the temple dedicated to Sulis Minerva at what we now know as Bath. The baths themselves are still present and if you are even an armchair archaeologist/historian, you’ll enjoy getting to see the inner workings of the Roman baths (which still hold water), but everything pretty much above ground level at the baths is a Victorian re-imagining of what would have been there so I was only mildly interested in photographing it. Still, an amazing site to visit for a few hours, but not all there is to Bath!
Bath is known for it’s Georgian Architecture. It’s the time period when Bath became the place to be among the affluent and the city really boomed. And I have to say again, that I really didn’t have sufficient time to really capture it all, but this is one shot I really liked from Pulteney Bridge. This bridge over the River Avon is one of four like it in the world where shops fully line both sides of the bridge. Built in 1773, there have been alterations over the years, but restoration of the facades was completed in 1951 and this is a grade 1 listed building with English Heritage.
Another must see if you only have a little bit of time in Bath is Bath Abbey. Although the site started life as a Benedictine Monastery, today it is an Anglican parish church – quite a grand one though! It’s style is perpendicular Gothic, owing to the last major constructions done on the building in the 16th century. It’s been restored since but the style from that period remains. This church is widely known for its elaborate fan vaulting in the ceilings in the nave (although it’s a Victorian construction of what was originally planned to be there in the 1600’s). This photo was shot in on a wet morning on the day we left Bath. The weather was just beginning to fare off hence the wet paving stones.
One more photo of that gorgeous old Abbey. This one was taken at dusk as darkness was descending and they had turned on the lights on the outside of the Abbey. There’s obvious distortion because this was taken with what’s known as a Fish eye lens – it’s ultra wide angle but also due to its shape produces a very exaggerated field of view. I try to use it sparingly, but sometime you can produce some really beautiful images like this one with it.
For more photos of England and the rest of the United Kingdom, be sure to check out my Britain Prints!