Entries Tagged as 'Reside5'

Reside5 – The Great Bath Feast 2016

Now in its fifth year and firmly established as a firm favourite in Bath’s festival calendar, The Great Bath Feast is once again set to delight revelers with a tantalising array of foodie events.

From tastings to talks to walking tours, there is nourishment on offer for anyone with an inquisitive palate. After much deliberating and several slices of cake, we have picked five events which make our taste buds tingle.

1. Bath Bites Food & Drink Fair

Abbey Churchyard, 1st – 9th October

New to this year’s succulent schedule is a daily food fair in the shadows of Bath’s iconic abbey. Local vendors will be serving a variety of hot and cold delicacies including Persian kebabs, gourmet hot dogs and smoked ribs. Sweet treats are of course an essential requirement at any such occasion, and The Donut Man will ensure that your doughnut, waffle and chocolate kebab cravings are sated.

2. Brindisa’s Monika Linton

Topping & Co. Booksellers, 1st October

The chances are that you’ve tasted a Brindisa product, even if you’re unaware of Monika Linton and her incredible journey from starting Brindisa on a shoestring right through to it becoming a sought-after outlet at the world-renowned Borough Food Market, a wholesale business providing hundreds of ingredients to the country’s finest delis and restaurants, and a chain of tapas restaurants extending across London and into the heart of Barcelona.

At this event, Monika will speak about the transformation undertaken by Brindisa in the last 28 years and offer insights and tastings of her favourite Spanish cuisine.

3. Chris Staines Supper Club with Pong Cheese

Igloo, Abbey Hotel, 4th October

Chris Staines, Executive Chef at the Abbey Hotel, is a veteran of the Great Bath Feast scene having previously hosted sold out supper clubs in collaboration with Ping Combes. This year he’s teamed up with Bath-based Pong Cheese to offer a dinner menu oozing with cheesy goodness, with a fully stacked cheese board to follow. The meal will be held in the Abbey Hotel’s stylish subterranean bar, Igloo.

4. Whisky & Indian Tapas Evening

Demuth’s Cookery School, 6th October

Rachel Demuth ran the award-winning Demuths Restaurant for 26 years before setting up her acclaimed vegetarian cookery school which champions local produce. Independent Spirit is a haven of fine whiskies, beers, wines and spirits in central Bath, whose knowledge of all things booze is even greater than the myriad of bottles lining their shelves. This tasting evening pairs Demuth’s freshly prepared Indian snacks with Independent Spirit’s whisky of choice – Paul John whisky, made in Goa.

5. Lunch with Raymond Blanc

Brasserie Blanc, 5th October

Raymond Blanc OBE, one of Britain’s most famous and respected chefs is synonymous with classic French cuisine. Despite being entirely self-taught, he has a well known chain of restaurants throughout the UK and a two Michelin star restaurant in Oxfordshire.

Raymond Blanc’s influence spreads far and wide, having trained and employed chefs such as Heston Blumenthal, Michael Caines and Marco Pierre White, among many others. In Brasserie Blanc’s 20th year, Raymond Blanc will be joining diners to speak about his commitment to local, sustainable food.

If you’ve indulged in the Great Bath Feast, please share your experiences with us on Twitter or Facebook.


Reside5 – Bath’s Best Breakfasts

Just as spinach gave Popeye the muscles to bop Bluto on the head, breakfast lends us all the get up and go we require to face a day’s work and still have the beans for that game of squash in the evening. We are currently in the midst of National Breakfast Week, a week long awareness drive that highlights the importance of a healthy and nutritious daily breakfast.

To help get your day off to a hearty, if not healthy start, we have picked five of our favourite brekkie destinations from Bath’s ever-expanding menagerie of eateries.

White bread or brown? Scrambled, poached, fried or boiled? Who serves the best breakfast in Bath? Join in the conversation with us on Twitter and Facebook.


1. Kingsmead Kitchen
Kingsmead Square
Photo credit: instagram.com/fieldfirefeast/

Formerly the Jazz Cafe, this recently re-styled restaurant is renowned locally for its generous breakfasts and expertly made coffee. Ingredients are grown and reared on the family farm in Wiltshire, so you can be confident that your meal is fresh, local and of very high quality.

Start your day with: Shakshuka. Kingsmead Kitchen offers magnificent fry-ups, of course it does, but for something a bit different try these baked eggs in a spiced tomato sauce with feta and sourdough.


2. Komedia Arts Café
Komedia, Westgate Street
Photo credit: komedia.co.uk/bath/arts-cafe

Head chef Tom Davey trained at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Canteen, which previously occupied the site where the award winning Arts Café now stands. Many of the values synonymous with River Cottage can still be recognised – an emphasis on freshly prepared food and locally, ethically sourced ingredients. For those who are late to rise in the morning, their brunch, nominated for a Bath Good Food Award in 2015, is served from 11am; vegetarians and vegans are well catered for on the menu.

Start your day with: Smoked Haddock Eggs. The café sources its fish from Wing of St Mawes, a family run Cornish company providing fresh fish caught by local fisherman. The smoked haddock is grilled and served with poached eggs and homemade hollandaise sauce.


3. Same Same But Different
Bartlett Street
Photo credit: facebook.com/same-same-but-different-132806240099937

This family-run restaurant has gradually garnered a spectacular reputation amongst locals for inventive, high quality food, with their lunch and dinner tapas menus proving especially popular. Same Same But Different also offers outstanding breakfasts, with a varied menu offering everything from a Full English to their specialty – perfectly cooked, fluffy poached eggs.

Start your day with: Eggs Picante. Same Same offer poached eggs done several different ways, but this correspondent favours them served with bacon, spicy chorizo, melted cheese, tabasco and hollandaise – all atop a toasted muffin.


4. Green Rocket Café
Pierrepoint Street
Photo credit: thegreenrocketcafe.co.uk

The traditional English breakfast is usually the preserve of the carnivore – bacon piled onto bangers, chased down with black pudding. How refreshing, then, that Bath should have such an inventive exclusively vegetarian restaurant that offers some of the best breakfasts you could wish for – carnivorous or otherwise. Their freshly made, spectacularly colourful smoothies make a wonderful accompaniment.

Start your day with: Monster Veggie Brekky. This antidote to the traditional fry-up includes homemade baked beans, skin-on sauteed potatoes and herby sausages… and much more. The dish can be produced both gluten free and suitable for vegans.


5. Café Retro
York Street
Photo credit: caferetro.wordpress.com

Café Retro has been offering delicious breakfasts in Bath for more than 20 years, and its menu includes all of the classic dishes that would be found in a quintessential vintage café, with the odd trans-Atlantic and continental influence also apparent. Stacked pancakes with streaky bacon and maple syrup rub shoulders with eggs benedict and croque monsieurs.

Start your day with: The Big Breakfast. There is a time and a place for the indulgent, satisfying treat that is the Full English breakfast, and that place is Café Retro. Their Big Breakfast offers everything you could ask for from a Full ‘Ish – back bacon, locally sourced sausages, black pudding, egg, hash browns, beans, tomato, mushrooms and toast. Once consumed, sit back in the satisfying knowledge that you will not need to eat anything else for the rest of the day.

These five breakfasts should be enough to satisfy even the greatest of appetites, but it is of course not an exhaustive list – Bath has too many superb delis, cafés and restaurants to be able to mention them all. If we have omitted your best brekkie, please let us know on Twitter and Facebook.

These locations have been added to the Reside Map of Bath, which plots all of the sites of interest that are mentioned in our blogs. Why not have a use it to guide yourself around the city?


Reside5 – Bath’s Best Burgers

For many, a burger is an essential part of daily life; McDonald’s sell 75 meat patties every second, feeding around 1% of the world’s population each day. For others it is a work of art; the construction of a burger alone can provoke a series of impassioned dichotomies amongst foodies: gherkin or no gherkin? Ketchup or relish? Bread roll or brioche bun? The burger is so popular that it now has its own dedicated day in the calendar; the 27th of August is now National Burger Day.

As any local resident will know, Bath has a myriad of high quality independent restaurants, and those wishing to celebrate National Burger Day are in luck. In fact, such is the choice that you may struggle to decide who to reward with your custom. Fear not, for our commitment to this cause has led us to eat many a burger, just so we can bring you this highly informed Reside5.

Who serves your favourite burger? Have we forgotten anyone? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook.


1. Burgers & Barrels
Victoria Buildings, Lower Bristol Road
Photo credit: burgersnbarrels.co.uk

A cosy bar that has gained popularity for its cocktails and stonking great burgers, especially ‘The Hulk’ – two kilos of prime beef, drenched in melted cheese and squeezed between a couple of buns which by comparison look minuscule.

Consume The Hulk within 30 minutes and it’s free; failure will cost you £30. To date, 70 people have tried… and 67 have failed. A wide range of other delicious burgers are available for us mere mortals who would probably faint at the mere sight of The Hulk.


2. Schwartz Bros.
102 Walcot Street / Sawclose
Photo credit: eatdrinksleepshop.com

When we posed the question of Bath’s best burger to our Twitter followers, this gourmet takeaway which has remained under family ownership for nearly 40 years came out as the clear favourite:

The company’s website proudly proclaims the sources of its beef and the exact cuts that they use, so diners can be confident that they are eating a burger of the highest quality.


3. Grillstock
The Vaults, Brunel Square
Photo credit: grillstock.co.uk

Having initially made waves in (whisper it quietly) Bristol, Grillstock brought their brand of ‘proper Southern style BBQ’ to Bath and have firmly established themselves as one of the most popular destinations for hungry West Country folk.

The Lockjaw Burger will satisfy most stomachs, comprising two 5oz patties, pulled pork, brisket, burnt ends, cheese and pickles. Those who have already conquered The Hulk may wish to attempt the Grand Champion; Grillstock will give you a generous 60 minutes to consume four different types of meat – but no burger is included, so we cannot officially sanction the challenge on National Burger Day!


4. Bath Brew House
James Street West
www.thebathbrewhouse.comPhoto credit: thebathbrewhouse.com

Bath Brew House is renowned for its on-site brewery, which helped them to be christened Bath’s CAMRA Pub of the Year 2015. This means that not only can you enjoy an exquisite burger here, you can also wash it down with some mouthwatering ale that you won’t find anywhere else.

The burger of choice is the Maximus, a towering concoction of beef, bacon, brisket, pulled pork, beetroot, onion ring, fried egg and whatever else the chefs can lay their hands on!


5. G.P.T Smokehouse
Lower Bristol Road
Photo credit: crumbsmag.com

The Tack Brothers established Bath’s other favourite smokehouse quite literally from the embers of their previous business, which was tragically destroyed by a fire.

G.P.T is perhaps best known for its delicious sticky ribs, but their signature Dirty Burger with smoked bacon represents the wonderful woody flavours of the handmade hot smoker that they imported specially from Oklahoma.

These burger joints have all been added to our Reside Map of Bath, which pinpoints the eclectic points of interest that we write about in our blogs – from burgers to ghost signs to historical plaques! Feel free to look at it as you wander the city, you may find yourself standing right next to an undiscovered gem.


Reside5 – I Ain’t Afraid Of No Ghost Sign!

Bath is rightfully globally renowned for its glorious Georgian architecture and radiant Bath stone, which to this day still gives onlookers an idea of how the city’s 18th Century streets would have appeared. Look closer, however, past the curved façade of The Royal Crescent and the imperious columns of The Circus, and you will notice the faded remnants of a more recent past.

Bath’s Listed walls play host to a great many ghost signs – advertisements that were painted or mounted onto an external wall, mostly before the Town and Country Planning Act (the basis of today’s Listed Building system) was introduced in 1947. Since then, these signs have been left to fade into obscurity, just like the businesses whose wares they used to promote.

There are an incredible array of ghost signs in Bath; some are obscured, some are barely legible, others look as though they were painted yesterday. We have picked 5 of our favourite signs, but wherever you are in the city – remember to look up! You will probably find one close to where you are standing, and if you find one we have missed – send it to us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

1. Hay Hill Dairy

Location: Hay Hill


Hay Hill is a picturesque pedestrianised street connecting lower Lansdown Road with The Paragon. This sign advertises a business that is not only a dairy, but also a “cheese ham / bacon factor”. ‘Cheese Ham / Bacon Factor’ was not the popular reality show of the day; a ‘factor’ was an agent who would buy and sell goods on commission.

2. The George Gregory Book Store & Lending Library

Location: Argyle Street

Argyle Street

The ghost sign is now accompanied by a rather tasteful false window, illustrating what the building may have look like in times gone by. The well-worn bottom line of the sign declares George Gregory’s bookshop to be ‘well stocked with all the latest fiction’. Given that the shop was situated on Grove Street during the very late 19th & early 20th Centuries, locals would have flocked to the store for the latest tomes by the likes of Oscar Wilde, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & Thomas Hardy.

3. J.Ellett: Smith & Plumber

Location: Prince’s Street

Prince's Street

A striking alternative to the painted ghost signs so often seen in the city, this iron sign has a more industrial appearance, in keeping with the business being advertised. A ‘smith’ would smelt and forge metal, so it is possible that J.Ellett could have personally been responsible for the sign that adorns the building.

4. Asylum For Teaching Young Females Household Work

Location: Gay’s Hill

Gays Hill

Little is known about one of the more bizarre signs that you will see on Bath’s walls; the word ‘asylum’ implies that the building in question was a type of correctional facility, rather than an educational institution.

Update: Kirsten Elliott, a local historian and writer, kindly contacted us on Twitter to tell us the intriguing and tragic story behind this sign. Kirsten can be found on Twitter at @KirstenTElliott, and her publications are available at www.akemanpress.com:

“There can be no more eloquent expression of the attitudes of the wealthy to poor girls in the early nineteenth century than the sign on Gays House in Margaret’s Hill, Bath. The Asylum for the Maintenance and Instruction of Young Females in Household Work was founded in 1819. It was ‘intended for the reception of such destitute female children who are of an age to leave school but not yet old enough for household service.’ Since children went into service at the age of twelve, this is a chilling indictment of the times.

Although attracting titled patrons, and being the subject of charity balls and concerts, by 1827 it was in trouble financially. There had been typhus, and paid nurses had been required. After just over twelve years, in 1832, it was forced to close. In that time, 61 girls were placed in service, eight discharged for ill-health, three expelled, five died, and seventeen were left in the asylum. The children are long gone – but the sign reminds us of the not so good old days.”

5. Nestle’s Milk

Location: Cleveland Cottages

IMG_0271 - Copy

In 1873, two brothers from Illinois established the first British branch of the Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company in Chippenham, just a few miles outside of Bath. In 1905, the company merged with its fierce rival, The Nestlé Company; this sign presumably post-dates the merger. The image to the left of the word ‘milk’ depicts the Swiss flag set against a white background.

So rich is Bath’s history, that these glorious faded signs can be easily overlooked. If you spot one you think we’ve missed, please send it to us so that we can include it in a future blog!

These ghost signs have been added to Reside’s Map of Hidden Bath, which also plots items of interest from earlier blogs.


Reside5 – Plaqueadder Goes Forth!

In this third and final instalment of our ‘Plaque’ trilogy, we return to the lives hidden behind Bath’s historical plaques. Our previous two blogs – Plaque To The Future and The Empire Strikes Plaque – shone a light on ten remarkable lives, from the first White Rajah to a dueling thespian to the pioneer of the abolition of slavery, and this blog introduces five further colourful characters.


1. William Pitt

15 Johnstone Street
Here lived William Pitt
A.D. 1802

In modern times, we have come to distrust those who rise to power at an early age, but William Pitt was aged just 24 when he first became Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1783.

He remains Britain’s youngest ever Prime Minister, and went on to serve a second term in office. Over the course of both terms, he served as Prime Minister for just shy of 19 years – the second longest serving Prime Minister in British history. His tenure in office coincided with a turbulent time abroad; the American War of Independence strained public finances and forced Pitt to introduce the first ever income tax. Pitt resigned as Prime Minister in 1801, but three years later and with Napoleon threatening invasion, King George asked him to form a new government. The war against France strained Pitt’s already weakened health, and he died just a few months after Britain’s decisive victory at Trafalgar.


2. Prince Louis Napoleon III

Sydney Place
Prince Louis Napoleon.
Napoleon III. Stayed here 1846. B. 1808. D. 1873.

Louis Napoleon III, nephew and heir to Napoleon I, was the first President of the French Second Republic. However, his path to the throne was not straightforward and led him via London and Bath to the becoming the first French President to be elected by popular vote. Ever since the fall of Napoleon I, a movement existed in France to return a Bonaparte to the throne. Napoleon I’s son lived in virtual imprisonment in Vienna, and he harboured no ambition to return to public life. Upon his death, Louis Napoleon assumed the role heir to the dynasty and leader of the Bonaparte movement.

His first attempted coup began in Strasbourg but was quickly quelled. Napoleon sought refuge in Switzerland and subsequently fled to London, where he was well received by the political leaders of the day. From London, he planned his second coup, which turned out to be a bigger fiasco than the first, as all mutineers were arrested on the beach as they arrived in France. Napoleon was imprisoned, only to simply walk out of the prison gates six years later disguised as a labourer carrying timber. He returned to London, again warmly greeted.

It was at this stage of his life that he made frequent visits to Bath, staying in the Sydney Hotel – now the Holburne Museum. In 1848, Napoleon returned to France amidst the chaos of the French Revolution; King Louis-Philippe had abdicated and assumed his own exile in London, and a new constitution was drafted. The Second Republic was born, and Napoleon was voted its leader with a staggering 74% of the votes cast.


3. Sarah Siddons

33 The Paragon
Here dwelt Sarah Siddons B.1755 D.1831

Considered by many as the greatest Lady Macbeth, Sarah Siddons’ performance of the Scottish queen was described by a noted critic as being ‘above nature’. She enjoyed a 20 year career as the leading actress at one of London’s premier venues, the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. She retired from the stage in 1812; her final performance of Lady Macbeth had to be halted, such was the enthusiastic response from the audience to the famous sleepwalking scene. When the applause would not cease, the curtain was lowered; after several minutes it was raised again to reveal Mrs Siddons in her civilian clothes, who went on to deliver an 8 minute farewell speech.

The 1950 film ‘All About Eve’ features a fictional award for stage acting called the Sarah Siddons Award. In 1952, the award was made reality and is annually given to an actor for an outstanding performance in a Chicago theatrical production; past winners include Faye Dunaway, Lauren Bacall, Julie Andrews and Elaine Stritch.


4. Major John André

22 The Circus
Here dwelt Major Andre A.D. 1770

By the age of 29, John André has worked his way through the ranks of the British army to become the head of the secret intelligence. His early military career had seen him posted to Canada via Boston and Philadelphia. In 1775, during an American siege on St John’s, he became a prisoner of war and was transferred to Pennsylvania. Later the following year, he was released back to the British army as part of a prisoner exchange. In 1777, André was one of 17,000 British soldiers to land in Maryland and occupy Philadelphia, where he spent the next 9 months living in Benjamin Franklin’s house. When the time came to evacuate the city, Major André looted the house and took with him musical instruments, scientific apparatus and an oil painting of Franklin, which was not returned to the United States until the first half of the 20th century.

In September 1780, André became detached from his regiment who, under heavy artillery fire, had retreated without him. In order to rejoin them, André had to pass through American-held territory, which he attempted to do disguised in civilian clothes with an American passport. Having successfully done this, Major André was then stopped and searched in British territory by soldiers wearing British uniforms. When he informed them that he was a British officer, his captors revealed themselves to be undercover Americans. André tried to change his story by brandishing his American passport, but by this point suspicions had been aroused and he was arrested. After one further failed escape attempt, Major John André was hanged as a spy at noon on October 2nd 1780.


5. Sir William Herschel

19 New King Street
Here lived William Herschel A.D. 1781

It was from German-born astronomer William Herschel’s New King Street abode that he first spotted what he thought was a new comet or star in the night sky. After further observations and calculations, he realised that this was actually a previously undiscovered planet beyond the orbit of Saturn.

The planet was initially named the ‘Georgian Star’, which curried Royal favour but didn’t exactly roll off the tongue; eventually the planet became known as Uranus. To this day, the astrological symbol for Uranus represents the capital initial letter of Herschel’s surname: 50px-Uranus's_astrological_symbol.svg

The discovery made Herschel famous overnight and led to his appointment as ‘Court Astronomer’ by George III. 19 New King Street is today the location of the Herschel Museum of Astronomy, a testament to his life and work.

This blog concludes our Plaque Trilogy and, whilst we have selected fifteen of the most intriguing and fascinating stories, Bath’s Georgian walls are lined with many more names. You can find the locations of every plaque we have mentioned in our blogs by clicking here; they are found on some of Bath’s most famous streets, so why not use the map to help you to guide yourself around the city and find them? You can refer to our blogs to find out more about each plaque once you have found it.

If you would like to share your own personal favourites, we would love to hear from you. You can find us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+; you can even sometimes find us wandering around Bath!


Reside5 – The Great Bath Feast

Such is the passion in Bath for high quality, locally sourced food and drink, the city’s motto should really be ‘Liberty, Equality, Gastronomy’. The Great Bath Feast is a month-long celebration of all things edible, and this year’s event promises to be the biggest, busiest and most filling one yet. From farmers’ markets to cocktail classes, there are 150 events during October that are bound to appeal to anybody with an appetite. To save you the hassle, we have waded through the listings and picked out five events which made our taste buds tingle. If you try any of our recommendations, please do let us know how you get on, either on Twitter, Facebook or Google+. Bon appetit!

Bath Feast Logo

1. The Great Bath Breakfast
Various locations throughout October

Nineteen eateries across Bath will be celebrating the Full English during October by serving high quality, locally sourced breakfasts. For the full list, you can either click the above link or just follow the sumptuous smell of sizzling bacon. There are enough days in October to try them all, but we suggest trying The Hare and Hounds, the Komedia Arts Café & Graze (who list the origins of their ingredients on their website!). All of which leaves you with just one important decision to make: tomato ketchup or brown sauce?


2. High Tea with The Thoughtful Bread Company
Barton Street, 12th, 19th & 26th October

The Thoughtful Bread Company quite thoughtlessly opened their first shop just across the road from Reside this year. Our daily travails now regularly take us past their incredible array of breads, pastries and cakes, and several waistbands in the office have suffered as a consequence. The prospect of a Thoughtful Bread High Tea was too much for this correspondent to resist, and I booked myself in as soon as the Great Bath Feast brochure was released. Finger sandwiches, micro wraps, petits four and double choc ganache brownies are expected to appear on the menu.


3. Wan Ping Coombes with Chris Staines at Allium Brasserie
North Parade, 14th & 15th October

Many of us who were glued to BBC1’s Masterchef earlier this year were blown away by the flair and creativity of the eventual winner, and local resident, Ping Coombes’ Malaysian-inspired food. This 4-course menu will contain starters and main course created by Ping, with puddings by Allium Brasserie head chef Chris Staines. The pair are catering four meals over two days and, with half of the sittings already sold out, you’ll have to act quickly if you want to try Ping’s famous Wan Ton Soup!


4. Yammo! Pizza Show
Walcot Street, 14th October

Yammo! offers authentic and high quality Neopolitan food, and its vibrant atmosphere, passionate staff and stunning pizzas (using a secret pizza dough recipe) have made it a popular destination for visitors and locals alike. The Pizza Show is one of just five different Great Bath Feast events hosted by Yammo! during October, and they promise a breathtaking array of pizza varieties including fried, folded, sweet & savoury. Oh, and if you have any room left at the end, ask to try their misto fritto starter – delizioso!


5. Bath Brew House vs. Smoke House
James Street West, 23rd October

Bath prides itself on its wide array of very high quality local ales, and the very popular Bath Brew House has its own microbrewery right in the heart of the city. A smoke house is also located at the foot of the beer garden, with their own beer often being used in the smoking process. This evening will take place in the Tank Room, where guests will be invited by the head brewer to match a range of beers with dishes that have been smoked on the premises.

If our blog has set your stomach rumbling, do head out this October and experience The Great Bath Feast. Don’t forget to tweet us to let us know what you get up to – we’re always looking for new places to eat!

Photo credits: greatbathfeast.co.uk / yammo.co.uk


Reside5 – The Empire Strikes Plaque

In Plaque To The Future, our first blog in this series looking at Bath’s array of historical plaques and the stories behind them, we focused on five of the city’s most distinguished former residents. In our second blog on this subject, we have carefully combed through the names which adorn our Georgian walls and looked into the lives of five lesser known characters.

Online research being what it is, we have decided to avoid one website which informed us that Jacob von Hogflume, inventor of time travel, dwelt on Milsom Street a mere three hundred years before his birth. Not only are the below plaques real, they also come with very interesting stories.

1. Sir James Brooke

1 Widcombe Crescent
Here lived Sir James Brooke, K.C.B. First Rajah of Sarawak b.1803 d. 1868

Although Brooke spent part of his youth in Bath, he built a significant reputation as far afield as Sarawak, a Malaysian state on the island of Borneo, where he was appointed Rajah by the Sultan of Brunei. In 1833, the 30 year old James Brooke splashed a £30,000 inheritance on a 142 tonne schooner which he promptly navigated to Borneo. Upon his arrival, he assisted in quelling the uprising against the Sultan, thereby winning his affections and, in 1841, he was granted the governorship of Sarawak – a title which he kept until his death in 1868.

The Brooke dynasty, known as the ‘White Rajahs’, continued to rule Sarawak until the Japanese invasion in 1941. Unlike other British occupancies during the same era, the Brookes endeavored to protect the indigenous population against exploitation, and by 1941 were working towards a new, more democratic constitution.

2. William Smith

29 Pulteney Street
In this house, William Smith, the father of English geology, dictated “The Order Of The Strata” December 11th 1799

During his lifetime, William Smith was the great unsung hero of British Geology. He has since been credited with creating the first nationwide geological map, as well as the first ever large scale map of the area around Bath, but was shunned by his contemporaries and the scientific community. It is thought that his humble education and upbringing prevented him from moving in particularly learned circles. As a result, his work was plagiarised and flogged at a fraction of the cost for which he was trying to sell it.

His famous map of Great Britain, for which he spent his unemployed years traveling the length and breadth of the country, did not receive the credit it deserved until 1831 when Smith was formally recognised by Geological Society of Great Britain. By this point, he had spent time in a debtor’s prison and his home had been seized by bailiffs.

3. James Quin

4 Pierrepont Street
Here lived James Quin b.1693 d.1766

James Quin was a celebrated thespian whose colourful antics makes the lives of today’s Hollywood stars seem particularly humdrum by comparison. At the age of 25, with a couple of high profile performances under his belt, the actor was convicted of manslaughter for killing another actor in a duel. The general public, however, viewed this as more of an accident than a tragedy, as the victim had provoked the standoff, rather than Quin. Not to be dissuaded by this experience, Quin had an almost identical episode later in his career when accosted by a younger actor who had taken offense at some sarcastic criticism from his elder fellow performer. When heated words turned to voilence, Quin drew his pistol and killed the man, with similarly forgiving legal consequences. Quin’s confidence in the face of danger even followed him into the theatre, where he once drew his weapon on a drunk who had taken to the stage and threatened the life of the venue’s manager.

Away from the threats of drunken punters and bitter actors, Quin enjoyed a remarkable career in the theatre, populating some of London’s best known stages with high profile Shakespearean interpretations, including a great working rivalry with David Garrick, whose attempted to lure Quin away from his theatrical home in Covent Garden. Instead of accepting the bait from one of theatre’s most influential names, Quin used the offer to elicit a salary of £1000 per year from his manager which, by my calculations, equates to a modern annual salary of about £85,000.

4. Frederic Weatherly

10 Edward Street
Here lived Fred E. Weatherly, K.C. Song writer 1919 to 1928 b. 1848 d.1929

Fred Weatherly was a barrister who, unlike others in this blog, remained rooted to the West Country for the majority of his life. Born and raised in Portishead, he later moved to Penn Lea Road in Weston, and then on to Edward Street in central Bath. As well as being a practising lawyer and an author of prose publications, Weatherly is undoubtedly best known as a lyricist having written words for more than 3,000 popular songs.

Whilst living in Bath, he wrote a song entitled ‘Danny Boy’ which, to his dismay, was did not meet with great success. Two years later, his Irish-born sister-in-law sent him an old traditional tune called ‘Londonderry Air’; Weatherly matched his lyrics to the tune and the following year gave the song to singer Elsie Griffin. It went on to become one of the most popular songs of the century. Other songs whose lyrics were penned by Weatherly include ‘Roses of Picardy’, one of the most memorable songs from World War I and ‘The Holy City’, a song that earned a mention in James Joyce’s Ulysses.

5. Beau Nash

Saw Street
Here lived Beau Nash M.C. 1743-1761

By far and away our favourite plaque to adorn Bath’s walls, is this aptly slinky gold and black number marking Bath’s dandy and glitzy Master of Ceremonies from 1704 until his death in 1761. Always elegantly, if outrageously, attired (hence the nickname ‘Beau’), Nash was responsible for arranging balls, dances and social gatherings, at which he would ensure that correct and proper conduct was adhered to. At the time, Bath’s natural spa waters and regular visits from royalty were provoking a steady influx of visitors to the city, something which Nash capitalised on to such an extent that Bath’s population grew from 2,000 to 30,000 in the space of just 100 years.

Nash is also credited with introducing a new code of conduct into Bath’s social circles which allowed for greater social integration. He banned swearing in public places, the wearing of swords and even prohibited ‘exhibitions of resentment from either gentlemen or ladies, on the grounds that someone had danced out of turn’. Nash was a great gambler, something which would be part of his making and also his downfall. Whilst the high-flyers flocking to the city reveled in this indulgent pastime, which was closely and conscientiously regulated by Nash, new anti-gambling laws were introduced in 1745 which altered people’s perceptions towards gambling its greatest advocate – Beau Nash. His life ended with him in severe financial straits, but having given the city more than it ultimately gave him.

From Rajahs to dandies to dueling actors and lyricists, Bath’s properties have hosted a fascinating array of characters whose lives have included an astonishing range of accomplishments. But… who have we missed? Is there a jewel amongst Bath’s plaques who we have not yet included in our blogs? If so, let us know on TwitterFacebook or Google+ and, as long as they’re not called Jacob Von Hogflume, we might include them in our next blog.


Reside5 – Half Term Trips

For many, the peace and romance of Valentine’s Day will be shattered at around 3pm as Bath’s schools jettison an avalanche of excitable children from the sanctuary of the schoolyard and tyrannised teachers hastily secure the gates behind them for a week. With half term upon us, many a hassled household will be doing their best to balance work, life and a tangle of tireless tykes, so it is important to have an impressive armoury of activities at the ready.

Just as well, then, that we have scoured the region and picked 5 of our favourite things to do, places to be and sights to see with the kids during half term. We hope that it helps you to plan some fantastic family fun, and please let us know what you get up to on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

1. Bath City Farm
Kelston View, BA2 1NW
Twitter: @BathCityFarm
(photo credit: bathcityfarm.org.uk)

The presence of Shetland ponies, Dexter cattle, Wiltshire Horn sheep, pygmy goats, boar and guinea fowl on the southwestern outskirts of Bath might cause you to think that Old MacDonald has decamped to the city. They actually belong to Bath City Farm, a 37 acre community organisation which promotes sustainable farming and living. Whilst picturesque walks can be enjoyed over the farmland, the stars of the show are undoubtedly the animals who roam the fields and can be cautiously approached as long as an adult’s in attendance. The pigs, chickens and ducks can be fed with feed from the farm shop, and pony grooming sessions are also occasionally available. To top it all off, entry to this wonderful community experience is absolutely free, although donations are gratefully accepted.

2. The Egg Theatre
Sawclose, BA1 1ET
Twitter: @theeggbath
(photo credit: guide2bath.com)

The Egg is a cosy and comfortable theatre dedicated to children and families, and they have a half term agenda packed with adventure and excitement. Wanted: Rabbit gets half term off to a thrilling start with the tale (tail?) of a manhunt (rabbithunt?) for an escaped jailbird (jailrabbit? – enough, Ed.). On Monday, there is evocative storytelling with live musical accompaniment and the rest of the week is occupied by Grandpa’s Railway, a poignant story from the highly acclaimed M6 Theatre Company.

3. Adventure Golf
Royal Victoria Park, BA1 2NR
(photo credit: visitbath.co.uk)

Unless the weather dramatically changes over the next few days, you may have to turn up to Victoria Falls Adventure Golf dressed for the Niagara Falls. However, kids couped up indoors contracting cabin fever is not a pleasant experience, so a trip to the Adventure Golf clad in anoraks may well be the solution. 18 holes of very crazy golf wend their way between waterfalls and over waterways, so there is always a chance of getting splashed even if the weather holds!

4. Frozen Sing-Along at Little @ Komedia
Westgate Street, BA1 1EP
Twitter: @LittleTheatreUK
(photo credit: flickr.com/thelittletheatrecinema)

In a world… where children are scowled upon in a cinema for the slightest rustling, bustling or fidgeting, what a relief it will be to take your musical minors to a movie theatre where participation is very much encouraged. As far as family films are concerned, Frozen was the big hit of the winter and Bath’s favourite cinema, The Little Theatre, is hosting sing-along screenings at Komedia this half term. Packed with typical Disney belters, this is an event which is sure to bring the house down.

5. Two Tunnels Greenway
Twitter: @twotunnelsbath
(photo credit: ctcwest.org.uk)

Opened in 2013 to much acclaim, the Two Tunnels Greenway is a cycle path which follows a disused railway line which connects Bath to the Midford Valley, making use of two tunnels which had been blocked off since the Beeching cuts in 1966. The tunnels are both lit and music is played in the lengthier of the two tunnels; best of all they provide shelter from whatever the elements are doing outside. Any grown-ups in the cycling parties will be pleased to know that the route leads past some very pleasant pubs – cycling can be such thirsty work.

As the school bells signal the start of half term, I hope that our blog will help you to feel ready to entertain the whole family this half term. And don’t forget to let us know what you got up to!


Reside5 – Christmas in Bath

It’s the week before Christmas and here at Reside,
We feel it our duty to help and to guide.
We love Bath in winter and have cherry-picked things,
That reflect Christmas and the joy that it brings.

So when you get home from your Christmas excursion
And are indulging in some mince pie immersion,
Or sipping away at your ale or your bitter,
Don’t keep it to yourself, tell us – on Facebook or Twitter.

1. Peter Pan at the Theatre Royal
12 December 2013 – 12 January 2014
Twitter: @TheatreRBath

Bath’s Theatre Royal will be retaining its place in the heart of all panto loving families this Christmas with a production of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan – one of the best-loved stories in children’s literature.

The fun starts when Peter Pan flies into the Darling children’s nursery one night and whisks them off to Neverland. And there the magic begins, with Tinkerbell, Tiger Lily and the Lost Boys, as the children go into combat with Captain Hook and his pirate crew.

There will be flying, special effects, comedy, singing, dancing and lots of audience participation in traditional panto style. Jessica Punch stars as Peter Pan and look out for young dancers from Bath’s Dorothy Coleborn School of Dance playing the Lost Boys.

2. Christmas at the American Museum
Until 22 December 2013
Twitter: @Americanmuseum

It’s a good time of year to visit The American Museum as you’ll see it dressed to the nines with traditional decorations throughout. Its crowning glory is a seventeen foot Nordman Fir tree that dominates the Central Hall. This tree is lit with over 1,000 lights and hung with ornaments that have been handmade by staff and volunteers.

Most of the Period Rooms pre-date the celebration of Christmas as we know it today, so the displays show winter activities that were popular during each period. You’ll see festive colours added by costume, textiles, and flowers. Meanwhile the shop has plenty of decorations and gifts if you’re still hunting!

3. Carols by Candlelight
18-20 December 2013
Twitter: @BathBachChoir

The City of Bath Bach Choir will perform three consecutive nights of carols and Christmas music in the atmospheric, candlelit Pump Room.

In this, its 67th Season, the choir will perform a mixture of traditional and modern Christmas carols, directed by Nigel Perrin and accompanied by Marcus Sealy. The audience will be able to join the choir in singing some of the carols.

4. Bath on Ice at Royal Victoria Park
Until 5th January.
Twitter: @BathOnIce

Hire those skates and get out on the ice to wobble and fall or dazzle them all. Afterwards, sustenance can be found from a new Christmas Avenue offering mulled wine, mince pies, roasted chestnuts and hot dogs. Keep an eye on the @BathOnIce Twitter feed for special offers, such as their regular 2-for-1 day, and yes – they do have the plastic penguins for those of us with no balance!

5. The Holburne Winter Light Installation: Light to Light
Until 5th January 2014
Twitter: @Holburne

Lighting designer Patrick Woodroffe has created a spectacular display in the Museum Garden, with a multicoloured light show accompanied by a soundtrack created by composer Matt Clifford.

Patrick Woodroffe has produced lighting designs for many, including Lady Gaga and The Rolling Stones as well as the opening and closing ceremonies of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Matt Clifford wrote the score for cult horror film The Return of The Living Dead and toured the world as a keyboard player with bands such as Yes and The Rolling Stones. Scores for the West End include One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and the ballet The Red Shoes.

Merry Christmas from us all here at Reside; we hope that the big day is filled with fine food, good cheer and fun times.


Reside5 – Plaque To The Future!

‘The tiresome journey from London – it took almost two days by coach.’
Lowndes, William, 1982. They came to Bath. Bristol: Redcliffe Press.

This journey was taken by many a celebrity visiting Bath in the 17th and 18th century, some of whom stayed and grew to love the bustling, cosmopolitan spa city.

Bath then was a boom town, attracting merchants, nobility, artists, writers and politicians. They would drink the waters, gossip, socialise, shop and attend concerts and the theatre. Maybe not that much has changed.

Here are a few famous residents of yesteryear. You’ll find their plaques dotted around the city. Please share your feedback (or indeed any vintage gossip!) with us via Facebook or Twitter.

Dickens plaque

Charles Dickens

35, St. James’s Square
Here dwelt Charles Dickens 1840

One of the writers closest to the English heart is Charles Dickens – the most popular English novelist of the Victorian era. His characters live on – in films, on the page and in our minds. His books, amongst them Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, The Pickwick Papers and A Christmas Carol are as compelling now as they were then.

Dickens often visited his close friend Walter Savage Landor at his house at 35, St. James’s Square. According to some, the plaque is a red herring, because it is believed that Dickens didn’t even spend one night there and would return after dinner to the York House Hotel on George Street.

The city gave Dickens inspiration for at least one of his characters – it is said that Mr Pickwick was based on Moses Pickwick, landlord of the White Hart inn.

wordsworth plaque

William Wordsworth

9 North Parade
Here dwelt William Wordsworth b. 1770 d. 1850

‘Rest and be thankful’ the poet William Wordsworth is famous for saying.

On the 29th April 1841, the Bath Chronicle announced that “The distinguished poet Wordsworth is at present residing in Bath, where we understand he will remain until the middle of June”.

Staying in the city to attend the wedding of his daughter Dora at St James’s Church, we like to think he rested and was thankful for some moments of solitude during his stay at number 9 North Parade.

Wordsworth had been in Somerset before, during the early days of his friendship with Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy lived near Coleridge’s home in Nether Stowey. Together, the two great poets helped launch the Romantic Age in English literature.

Jane Austen

4, Sydney Place
Here lived Jane Austen 1801 – 1805

One of the most widely read and beloved English novelists of all time, Jane Austen is so closely associated with the city of Bath she even has a festival dedicated to her. Visit in September to find people in period costume strolling around the city.

Jane Austen grew up in Hampshire. It was here that the majority of her  novels were written. When in 1800 her father Rev. Austen announced he was to retire from the ministry and move the family to Bath, Jane was reluctant; she was a country girl at heart. However, the city is the main setting for both her final novels, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey.

The Austen family lived at 4, Sydney Place for three years, then moved to 27, Green Park Buildings, where Rev. Austen died in January 1805. Afterwards they lived at 25, Gay Street. The Jane Austen Centre on 40 Gay Street is set up as a replica of number 25.


Thomas Gainsborough

17, The Circus
Here lived T. Gainsborough R.A. b 1727 d, 1788

British portrait and landscape painter, Thomas Gainsborough moved to Bath with his family in 1759. As an ambitious, entrepreneurial young artist, he had decided the city was exactly the sort of place in which to build his career. It wasn’t long till his talents were attracting the likes of Lord Chesterfield, Sheridan, Burke and Elizabeth Linley, all of whose portraits he painted.

He lived and worked in Bath for sixteen years, renting his house in the Circus from a Mr Penny, who he paid a quarterly rate of thirteen shillings and fourpence.* During this time he was to fulfill his ambitions of building his career and was invited to became a founder member of the Royal Academy of Arts.

One of Gainsborough’s most famous paintings, The Blue Boy, was painted during his years here. It is thought to portray Jonathan Buttall, the son of a local successful hardware merchant who was a close friend of the artist. When it was sold to the American railway pioneer, Henry Edwards Huntington in 1921 there was a public outcry. It remains to this day in the Huntington Library, California.

William Wilberforce

36 Great Pulteney Street
William Wilberforce b. 1759 d. 1833 stayed here 1802 and 1805

The British politician and philanthropist, William Wilberforce, headed the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade for twenty-six years until the passage of the Slave Trade Act 1807.

He stayed in Bath on a few occasions: firstly in the Royal Crescent where the parents of his new wife lived – he married in Walcot Church in 1797. Later, in 1802 and 1805, the couple chose to live at 36 Great Pulteney Street, where you’ll find the plaque. In 1831 they returned and stayed at no. 9 North Parade.

According to biographer Anne Stott, Wilberforce said in his diaries that Bath was one of the worst possible places for finding any leisure in the morning, because the door knocker was continuously going. He was something of a celebrity in the city.

With so many names of note recorded on the city’s plaques, it has been difficult choosing just five. Lives and stories line Bath’s Georgian walls, and future Reside5 blogs will certainly explore some of the lesser-known personalities.