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Listed Building
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Ordnance survey map of ROMAN BATHS MUSEUM
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Bath and North East Somerset (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 75078 64717



Roman Baths Museum (Formerly Listed as: Roman Baths) 12/06/50


Roman bath, now museum. C1-C4, with a museum of 1889 and 1897 above. By John McKean Brydon, sculpture by G.A. Lawson. MATERIALS: Bath limestone ashlar with Roman tile roofs and asphalted and stone paved terraces. Rectangular Great Bath measures 25m by 12m by 1.5m deep. EXTERIOR: Stone bath with stepped sides, lined with lead sheets. This, and the surrounding column bases, date from C1. Round this is an open Tuscan colonnade, with half columns fronting square piers on the north side beneath the Concert Room (qv), and whole columns elsewhere. The colonnade is five by three bays, as was the Roman one, and is topped by a pierced parapet which carries life size statues by G.A. Lawson, of the Emperors and Generals especially connected with Britain (Julius Caesar, Claudius, Hadrian, Constantine the Great, Vespasian-Ostorius, Scapula, Suetonius, Agricola). A replacement statue of Julius Caesar was carved by Lawrence Tindall in 1989/90 following vandalism of the Lawson figure. The north side has a parapet, but it is built into a glazed loggia of five semicircular arches, with expressed keyed heads, under a pent Roman tile roof. Originally open, the present glazing was in place by 1925. This has a doorway with Gibbs surround opening onto the terrace at either end. Surrounding the Bath at the higher level is a wall of rusticated stone topped by a balustrade fronting Kingston Parade and York Street. This has corner pavilions with sash windows with Gibbs surround, two/four to York Street; and with a panelled door with Gibbs surround, and upper floor with keyed lunette abutting the Concert Room. The west wall of the Great Bath is a part of the old Douche and Massage Baths of 1889, by Major Charles Davis (qv, part of Queen's Bath, York Street). The Roman Baths Museum continues under this building as well as under the Grand Pump Room and the Concert Room (qv). The most interesting associated structures are the reservoir overflow which is under the King's Bath (qv), and the Outfall Drain which is under the Concert Room (qv). The East Baths, entered from the lower level are situated under Kingston Parade. HISTORY: The Roman Baths were discovered in 1755 when Abbey House, a surviving part of the monastic establishment, was demolished. Kingston Baths were built above the discoveries by Thomas Jelly in 1762, and these were not demolished until c1885. The West Baths were discovered when the White Hart in Stall Street was demolished in 1865, in preparation for the building of the Grand Pump Room Hotel 1867-1869 (demolished 1959). The Great Bath was discovered and excavated by the City Architect, Major Charles Davis, 1878-1880, also the Circular Bath, the reservoir and the spring; and these were incorporated into the Douche and Massage Baths in 1889 (mostly demolished 1972), but the Great Bath was left uncovered. In 1894 a competition was held for a new building to house the Great Bath, together with a Museum and a Concert Room. Brydon was successful, but, after much wrangling, his winning design was replaced by another, cheaper version, which included a Concert Room (qv), and the colonnades to the Great Bath. The winning design had included a roofed building to house the Great Bath (the bath had been roofed in the Roman period), but the roof went in the redesign. The Roman Baths are a Scheduled Monument (Bath and North East Somerset County Monument No.82) and are considered to be the finest non-military Roman survival in Britain. SOURCES: Barry Cunliffe, The City of Bath (1986), 16-43; Barry Cunliffe, The Roman Baths. A View over 2000 Years (1993); Neil Jackson, Nineteenth Century Bath. Architects and Architecture (1991), 250-52. Sited within the Roman Baths Scheduled area ref: OCN BA 82

Listing NGR: ST7507864717


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This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

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