Bath Boules 2015: The Reside Retrospective

Bath Boules returned in 2015 with a bigger, better and more exciting tournament. Two sides of Queen Square were closed to traffic, and the roads lined with boutique food and drink stalls run by the likes of Yammo!, Pieminister and Masterchef champion Ping Coombes. The event, sponsored by a host of local businesses including Reside, proved a major success, drawing large crowds and raising valuable funds for local charities.

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Warned by the Bath Boules staff that no team had ever won the competition two years running, the victorious 2014 Reside team crumbled under the pressure of the organisers’ mind games, losing the first game badly. A stern team talk later, and Team Reside was back on song, winning all seven of the remaining group ties. It was, alas, too little too late, as their first match opponents went on to win all eight of their games, thus knocking Reside out of the competition.

The Reside team were unable to repeat the heroics of their triumphant 2014 campaign, but a superb day was enjoyed by colleagues, family and friends. Congratulations to all involved for putting on such a wonderful few days’ entertainment, and to the winning Actual Experience team for pipping us to the post. We’ll be back to get you in 2016!


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

“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

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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.


The General Election & The Private Rented Sector

When the United Kingdom goes to the ballot box on the 7th of May, the electorate will cast their votes with a host of prominent issues in mind, but how will your choice of political party impact on Tenants and Landlords in England?

The key parties’ manifestos don’t make for the most thrilling reading, so we made a strong pot of coffee and scrutinised them for you.Conservatives

The Conservative Party‘s manifesto actually makes no explicit reference to the private rented sector, but focuses intently on helping more people onto the housing ladder by extending the Help to Buy scheme. Their Help to Buy ISA will aid renters trying to save up for a deposit, and they aim to build 200,000 ‘Starter Homes’ exclusively aimed at first-time buyers under 40.

As far as the lettings industry goes, the Conservatives are taking an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach. Over the past five years, the coalition has made minor adjustments to legislation to make letting agents’ fees more transparent and to increase living standards and security within privately rented properties, and they seem to feel that this has left the industry in a good position.

Labour Party 3

In this area, the Labour Party has taken a drastically different approach to their rivals. Ed Miliband is proposing a shake-up to the industry which will involve a ban on ‘unfair letting agent fees [which] will save renters over £600’. The Labour manifesto does not stipulate what constitutes ‘unfair’, but it is not clear whether this will be the blanket ban on fees that some had expected, such as the one implemented in Scotland in 2012.

Other Labour initiatives include legislating to make three-year tenancies the norm, and imposing a ceiling on ‘excessive rent rises’. As with the above policy, ‘excessive’ will presumably not be defined until after the election, but it is bound to be linked to inflation rates. Finally, Labour has pledged to ‘drive standards up’ by introducing a national register of private landlords, doubtless designed to weed out ‘rogue’ Landlords.Lib Dems

The Liberal Democrats‘ manifesto covers similar ground to that of Labour, in that it proposes standard ‘multi-year’ tenancies with rent increases linked to inflation. They also moot a ban on letting agent fees, although this would not be implemented until 2017 and would be on the condition that fees have not dropped to an ‘affordable level by the end of 2016’ following transparency requirements brought in by the coalition.

Nick Clegg has also pledged to introduce a new initiative called ‘Help to Rent’. With other parties placing sole emphasis on helping first-time buyers onto the property ladder, the Liberal Democrats would also aim to assist those struggling to save a deposit for a rented property. This would be aimed at first-time renters under 30, and would take the form of a government-backed tenancy deposit loan.


UKIP‘s manifesto is another that focuses solely on home ownership and does not set out any major changes for Tenants or Landlords. They wish to build more affordable housing aimed at first-time buyers, and aim to bring some of England’s ‘279,000 privately-owned long-term empty homes’ back into use through increasing taxation on properties that remain empty for more than 2 years.Green

The Green Party manifesto usurps Labour’s proposals and sets out its own plans for what would be a highly regulated private rented sector. Natalie Bennett’s party would introduce a ‘living rent’ tenancy which would include five-year fixed tenancy agreements, as well as ‘smart rent control’ that caps annual rent increases to the Consumer Price Index.

Local not-for-profit letting agencies would be set up, and fees for tenants would be abolished across all agencies. A mandatory license for Landlords would be established, and alterations would be made to make buy-to-let mortgages less attractive, including removing tax incentives such as mortgage interest relief.

In Summary…

The Conservatives and UKIP seem content with the current condition of the lettings industry, and do not address private renters or landlords in their manifestos. The Liberal Democrats and Labour both outline alterations to the sector, with both parties agreeing on rent control, standard multi-year tenancies and regulation of agency fees. The most radical policies are those of the Green Party, whose plans would drastically change how renting works for tenants, landlords and agents.

On May the 7th, Britain’s political landscape may well change; it remains to be seen whether the private rented sector will also be affected.


Reside is OnTheMarket (.com)

18_Stacked_See_PropThe launch of on January 26th heralded an important day for the property industry; it saw the arrival of the first genuine rival to the two established property portals, Rightmove and Zoopla. provides the consumer with a cleaner and fresher browsing experience, free from the advertisements, promoted properties and unnecessary information which burden other websites. It is designed to automatically adjust to all manner of screens, so whether you’re browsing on a smartphone, tablet or a PC, you will always be given the most optimised version of iPhone and iPad users can now also download the OnTheMarket app, which has a similarly user friendly interface.

Here at Reside, we are delighted and excited to announce that all of our properties are now displayed on, as well as across Rightmove and our own website. We have already started to receive leads through and feel that it is on the way to quickly establishing itself as an essential tool for property hunters.

Despite only being a few weeks old, you may already be familiar with; a major advertising campaign has started across a variety of national television channels, as well as on the pages of the UK’s major daily newspapers. For those of you yet to see it, you can watch the advert below, which was filmed using a remarkable eight-propeller drone called The Octocopter!

Click here to view all of our properties on, and to have a look around their new website. We think you’ll be seeing a lot more of it for years to come.


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!

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Bennets to Bonnets: The Reside Guide To All Things Austen

Visitors to Bath during September will notice an unusual superfluity of breeches, bonnets and corsets, and a staggering abundance of petticoats, parasols and cravats. For ten days from the 12th of September, hundreds of ‘Janeites’ will flock to Bath in full Regency costume as part of the annual celebrations of the life and work of Jane Austen.

In anticipation of the fourteenth Jane Austen Festival, we have unearthed some fascinating facts about Jane and her creations. Whether you are a Bingley, a Bennet or a Darcy, we hope it will help you to find your festival spirit!

Reside Infographic Jane Austen Festival 2014


Jane Austen’s Bath Home Restored With Sense & Sensibility

She had never seen a place for which nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste. They were all of them warm in their admiration; and at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!

Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice

In 1801, George Austen retired as rector of Steventon in Hampshire and relocated to Bath. The couple had married there nearly forty years previously and had family in the area. In tow were their two unmarried daughters, Cassandra Elizabeth and Jane; being an affluent and fashionable city, the Austens may have also been hoping to find a couple of single men in possession of good fortunes for their daughters.

m_4 Sydney Place-10

The search for a suitable property was long and arduous – Westgate Buildings was ‘in the lower part of the town’, Laura Place was ‘above our price’ and of Axford’s Buildings Jane wrote, ‘we all unite in particular dislike of that part of the town’. Eventually the family found a townhouse on Sydney Place which suited their requirements. For a family used to the natural landscapes of rural Hampshire, it offered views of the surrounding countryside and was positioned opposite Sydney Gardens, with its labyrinth of which Jane was particularly fond.

Some two hundred or so years later, Sydney Place still retains the period charm and splendour that would have been present in the Austen family home, as well as many original features such as fireplaces and cornices. In the ground floor room which would once have served as George Austen’s study, recent building work uncovered a cast iron safe set into the wall which would have certainly housed family documents and perhaps even the odd early Austen manuscript.

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Every floor of the house from the ground floor up has now been tastefully refurbished to include modern comforts whilst acknowledging its Georgian heritage. The ground floor, once a stately dining room and study, now forms an elegant one bedroom apartment with access to a private garden. The first floor, originally a magnificent drawing room spanning the entire width of the building, now also houses a handsome one bedroom apartment with tall sash windows which overlook the Holburne Museum and still provide glimpses of the open countryside which once would have been so apparent. The second floor would have consisted of the Austens’ bedrooms, whilst the top floor housed the servants’ sleeping quarters; both levels now comprise generously sized apartments.

All of the apartments have been beautifully furnished by Bath Boutique Stays and include artwork and literature about Jane Austen herself. If you would like to experience the Austen’s house for yourself, you can arrange a stay with Bath Boutique Stays. More information about this can be found by clicking the Bath Boutique Stays logo below.

Bath Boutique StaysFor further information about Jane Austen and her time in Bath, we heartily recommend the Austenonly blog which contains a stunning wealth of information. If you have stayed at Jane Austen’s Bath home, or are interested in her life in the city, please do get in touch with us either on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.


Pétanque: Bath’s Incredi-boules Second Sport

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Anyone trying to argue that rugby is not Bath’s sport of choice can expect to incur the wrath of a city proud of a heritage that will be 150 years old next year. However, within drop-kicking distance of The Rec, a second ‘sport’ grips the residents of Bath to such extents that its players can often be seen plying the gravelled playing areas until the dark hours of most summer evenings.

Rather less physical and more well-mannered than its oval-ball counterpart, pétanque has long since been established as a popular pastime for the Bathonian who would rather choose gin over gym. The game is enduringly sociable, affably competitive and is often played with an eye on closing time at the nearest hostelry. The only scrum is the knot of furrowed foreheads knitted together over a cluster of tightly grouped boules, desperately trying to fathom which sphere has crept closest to the tiny coche.

Across Bath, several gravel pistes host competitive matches throughout the summer. Serene Alexandra Park, on Bear Flat, is known as a luscious deep playing area with spectacular views over the city, whilst the sparse and unreliable surfaces within busy Queen Square often draw intrigued spectators, many of whom are foreign to the city and are captivated by this quintessentially French yet somehow very English game. A new floodlit terrain is currently being developed at Larkhall Sports Club, with the help of a £23,185 grant from Sport England. Such luxuries will be warmly welcomed by anyone who has ever relied on passing car headlights when completing a closely-fought game in the dark.

As well as summer-long leagues which often provoke Bath vs. Gloucester levels of rivalry and sportsmanship, a two day affair in the midst of summer has become a popular tradition and a raging success. Bath Boules is a non-profit event that raises money for local charities; it has become so popular with local boules teams and businesses that online registration for this year’s competition was open for just one hour before all of the places had been snapped up. Based in Queen Square, the games spill over onto the rugged footpaths and mossy arteries which sprawl around the bustling arena. Pleasingly sponsored by, amongst others, Champagne Jacquart, the weekend represents all that is brilliantly social, fun and slightly eccentric about the game.

As for Reside, we have a band of five fearless, if rather erratic, boules joueurs who compete in Bath’s Thursday League. We are also proud to be a sponsor of Bath Boules 2014, and look forward to being involved in this fantastic tradition for the first time this year.

Those wishing to investigate this genteel, good-natured and entertaining recreation can visit The City of Bath Pétanque Club’s website where more information can be found about how to join in.

If you happen to see our fleet of five pétanque pros gathered in Queen Square, trying to claw their way back from the brink of another defeat against one of the seasoned campaigners who we often find ourselves up against, please do pop by to watch and say hello. We also post weekly updates on our progress on Twitter because this is Bath’s second sport, after all.


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.