Bath, England architecture
Outstanding Universal Value
The city of Bath in South West England was founded in the 1st century AD by the Romans who used the natural hot springs as a thermal spa. It became an important centre for the wool industry in the Middle Ages but in the 18th century under the reigns of George l, ll and III it developed into an elegant spa city, famed in literature and art.
The City of Bath is of Outstanding Universal Value for the following cultural attributes: The Roman remains, especially the Temple of Sulis Minerva and the baths complex (based around the hot springs at the heart of the Roman town of Aquae Sulis, which have remained at the heart of the City’s development ever since) are amongst the most famous and important Roman remains north of the Alps, and marked the beginning of Bath’s history as a spa town.
The Georgian city reflects the ambitions of John Wood Senior (1704-1754), Ralph Allen (1693-1764) and Richard “Beau” Nash (1674-1761) to make Bath into one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, with architecture and landscape combined harmoniously for the enjoyment of the spa town’s cure takers.
The Neo-classical style of the public buildings (such as the Assembly Rooms and the Pump Room) harmonises with the grandiose proportions of the monumental ensembles (such as Queen Square, Circus and Royal Crescent) and collectively reflects the ambitions, particularly social, of the spa city in the 18th century.
The individual Georgian buildings reflect the profound influence of Palladio (1508-1580) and their collective scale, style and the organisation of the spaces between buildings epitomises the success of architects such as the John Woods (elder 1704-1754, younger 1728-1782), Robert Adam (1728-1792), Thomas Baldwin (1750-1820) and John Palmer (1738-1817) in transposing Palladio’s ideas to the scale of a complete city, situated in a hollow in the hills and built to a picturesque landscape aestheticism creating a strong garden city feel, more akin to the 19th century garden cities than the 17th century Renaissance cities.