Spring is just around the corner, and we’ve been preparing for a busy dress up season, starting with Clockwork Alchemy next week, then London, Bath, Tombstone, Germany, Paris, and a few Victorian Balls in between. Be sure to book your next gown or corset ahead of time, our bespoke slots are filling up for the year!
We’re only a little more than month away until we once again board Air New Zealand and head off to England…we’ll be spending four days in London and then moving on to Bath for the 2019 Prior Attire Ball. 🙂
Naturally this will require a new ball gown and it’s currently under construction…I can’t reveal the details just yet but don’t worry, there will be preview coming very soon. 🙂 Last year was a lot of fun and so we’re going to do it again but this time we’ll be visiting some of the sights around Bath in more detail than what we did the last time…and of course, well be “taking the waters”…well, more like taking a small sip.
Stay tuned for more soon!
We had such a good time at the 2018 Prior Attire Victorian Ball in Bath, England that we’re doing it again in 2019! We’ve already secured out tickets and made reservations on Air New Zealand (highly recommended). Sponsored by Prior Attire, a reproduction garment maker in England, the ball is scheduled for May 5, 2019 and will be held at the Bath Assembly Rooms which is a fantastic venue for a ball. We will also be spending some time in London, touring museums and looking for fabrics (and anything else that strikes our fancy).
It promises to be an excellent time and we’re looking forward to being able to take the waters at Bath again (well, maybe we’ll settle for tea…) and of course we’ll be designing new outfits- stay tuned for more! 🙂
Today I decided to change gears a bit and take in Bath’s Georgian Era (1714 – c. 1837) heritage a bit. For starters, I decided to first heap up is the Circus (aka King’s Circus), one of the best surviving examples of Georgian Era architecture. Originally designed by the architect John Wood the Elder, the Circus was were a series of townhouses arranged in three curved blocks, forming a circle surrounding a central park with three entrances:
Incidentally, the townhouses are still functioning residences and while their fronts look fairly uniform, the rear of the houses (facing outside of the circle) are all unique with small yards. Construction on the Circus was started in 1754 and completed in 1768 by Wood’s son, John Wood the Younger.
Here are some pictures that I took:
Here’s a picture that gives an idea of the curvature of the townhouses:
A short walk away was an even more impressive set of townhouses in the Royal Crescent:
The Crescent (later renamed the Royal Crescent) is a series of 30 terraced townhouses that were designed by John Wood the Younger and built between 1767 and 1774. Each townhouse shares a common Neoclassical facade and the original purchaser bought a share of the facade and then designed a house to their own specifications behind it; while the houses may appear to be cookie cutter along the inside curve of the crescent, each house is unique.
The house at No. 1, Royal Crescent has been restored to its original Georgian state and is now a museum and I took an opportunity to view it:
Because of the crowds, I was not able to get as many pictures as I wanted so most of what I got was in the servant’s part of the house (the tourists probably found that part boring): 🙂
And no kitchen was complete without the turnspit dog:
These unfortunate creatures were used to keep spits used for roasting meat turning at all times so that the meat would cook evenly.
With all my explorations, I decided that it was time to take a break…
Well, that’s all for now! 🙂
Walking about in Bath was a pleasant experience and there’s actually a lot to see for such a seemingly small town. Of course, no visit to Bath would be complete without a visit to the actual Roman bath so off to the Roman Baths Bath (yeah, the name’s a bit redundant but it wasn’t my idea). Unfortunately, when I arrived there, the crowds were pretty thick so I had to improvise my camera shots as best I could. The baths themselves are actually about a 100 feet or so below the level today’s street level (needless to say, there’s been a lot of building in Bath since the Romans were there) and when you enter the museum, you actually make your way down before actually viewing the baths proper.
From what I’ve read (for a quick historical overview, click HERE), the Roman baths were built on a natural hot spring that the pre-Roman Celtic inhabitants regarded as a sacred site. The Romans built a reservoir to retain the spring waters and then built the baths around that, upgrading and adding more rooms and buildings over a span of several centuries. Here are a few views from the top as you enter the museum complex:
A few interesting notes- the green color of the water is from algae and today, the baths are not considered safe to swim in, however if you want the experience, it can be done at the modern Thermae Bath Spa which was opened in 2006. The statues that line the upper deck like the one seen in the above picture are actually Victorian Era creations, NOT original statues.
Moving our way down, we get some closer views of the baths:
The water from the springs come out from the ground at about 69 to 96 °C (156.2 to 204.8 °F) and flowed through open channels that were meant to cool the water down a bit before entering into the baths themselves. Also, lead pipes were also used to further distribute water to other subsidiary baths:
The baths were lead-lined and remain so to this day; they’re cleaned out on a quarterly basis:
And yes, you can still take the waters at Bath…there was a drinking fountain with paper cups available to the public. For hygienic reasons, the water itself comes from a separate hole that’s been drilled into the spring. The thermal waters contain sodium, calcium, chloride and sulphate ions in high concentrations. I sampled the waters and found it to be cloudy warm water with a mineral taste- nothing really surprising (OK, I was less than impressed).
This brief overview doesn’t to justice to the majesty of the place and what’s especially interesting is that is one of a few surviving examples of a Roman bath. Also, the baths here had the advantage that they required no heating up the water- that was all done naturally. Almost all other Roman baths required the constant heating and its attendant costs and logistical issues. This is definitely worth a visit and shouldn’t be missed.