1-30 The Circus including Circus House, Bennett Street


Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: I

List Entry Number: 1394142

Date first listed: 12-Jun-1950

Date of most recent amendment: 15-Oct-2010

Statutory Address: 1-30, THE CIRCUS



Ordnance survey map of 1-30 The Circus including Circus House, Bennett Street
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Statutory Address: 1-30, THE CIRCUS


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

District: Bath and North East Somerset (Unitary Authority)

National Grid Reference: ST 74724 65236


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


THE CIRCUS, Nos.1-30 (Consecutive)

(Formerly Listed as: CIRCUS Nos 1-30 (consec) including Circus House)



Includes: Circus House BENNETT STREET.

Circular development of thirty three houses, three with side entrances in other streets. 1754-69 by John Wood the Elder, completed by John Wood the Younger. MATERIALS: Limestone ashlar, double pitched slate roofs with moulded stacks and dormers. PLAN: Individual houses with double depth plans of various widths with rear Extensions, arranged in three segments to form a circle with three entrances. Terraces are Nos 1-10 The Circus with No.1 Brock Street (qv) between Gay Street and Brock Street; Nos 11-19 The Circus with Nos 36 Brock Street (qv) between Brock Street and Bennett Street; Nos 20-30 The Circus with Circus House, Bennett Street between Bennett Street and Gay Street. The houses sport fronts of unequal widths to allow three terraces to be equal in length. EXTERIOR: OVERALL DESIGN: Three storeys with attics and basements, three, four and five-window range. Second floor windows are six/six-pane sashes, first floor windows have lowered sills to accommodate six/nine-pane sashes, ground floors and basements have six/six-pane sash windows. Some early C19 balconettes have been added and doors altered from eight raised and fielded panels to six panels with overlights. Continuous parapets have moulded coping, oval openings to each bay pierced later. Piers above columns crowned with large acorn finials. Three stories enriched with superimposed orders of Roman Doric, Ionic and Corinthian plain shafted paired engaged columns (108 to each terrace) that articulate facades and carry appropriate entablatures. Frieze to uppermost modillion cornice ornamented with masks, all different, flanked by richly carved festoons. Emblematic metope reliefs in frieze of the Doric entablature of first floor, 525 in all. Entrances are reached via bridges over exceptionally wide front areas, with extensive wrought ironwork in situ. EXTERIORS: INDIVIDUAL HOUSES: Nos 1-10 and No.1 Brock street (qv) form the southwest third of the Circus. This section was the first to be built and stood alone for several years. No.1, left terminal of south-western crescent, three-window range with stacks to rear, tall trellised balconettes with lead stars at angles, to centre and right of first floor, to left early C19 six-panel door, glazed to top with inverted corners to centre. Windows without horns. Left return in Gay Street is four-window range with three dormers. Parapet sweeps down to cornice, all of which are returned, that to ground floor without mutules, moulded architraves to windows, blind to second floor right-of-centre, ground floor right-of-centre and right, lead downpipe to right. No.2 has three-window range, all windows have horns. First floor windows have balconettes, former eight-panel door to right has been cut down to six panels with margin paned overlight. No.3 has four-window range, windows with horns and trellised balconettes to first floor. To right of centre raised and fielded seven-panel door glazed to top. Path to door late C19 black-and-white tesserae. No.4 has three-window range with horns to first and ground floor windows and semi-elliptical plan trellised balconettes to first floor. No. horns to second floor or plate glass basement windows. Seven-panel door to right glazed to top with lozenge motif central panels. No.5 has three-window range, all windows have horns, those to first floor have trellised balconettes. Seven-panel door to right glazed to top. No.6 has three-window range, all windows have horns, central seven-panel door glazed to top. Octagonal single storey extension at rear added 1997, Edward Nash architects. Nos 7 and 8 are one property, The Circus Nursing Home. No.7 has four-window range without horns to windows. Left centre door has eight raised and fielded panels. House built for William Pitt the Elder. No. 8 has three-window range without horns to windows. Door to right, glazed to top, has inverted corners cut into raised and fielded panels. No.9 has three-window range without horns to windows and semi-elliptical plan balconettes to first floor. Seven-panel door to left glazed to top. Attached to railings overthrow and lamp. two-storey octagonal extension at the rear, added 1785. No.10, next to right terminal of south-west crescent (No.1 Brock Street (qv)), three-window range with horns to windows except those on ground floor which have some crown glass. Seven-panel door to left is glazed to top. Nos 11-19 and No.36 Brock Street (qv), left terminal of north crescent, form northern third of The Circus. No.11 has five-window range. Windows have horns and splayed reveals, those to first floor have trellised balconettes. Eight-panel door to left of centre glazed to top. No.12 has three-window range. Windows have horns, those to first floor have balconettes with inverted anthemion motifs to top rails. Seven-panel door to left has raised and fielded panels and is glazed to top. No.13 has three-windows range, those to first and ground floors have horns. Seven-panel door glazed to top. No.14 has four-window range. Windows have horns. Six-panel door to left of centre has raised and fielded panels, and plain overlight. Overthrow with scrolled lamp bracket attached to railings. Lord Clive lived here in 1774. No.15 has three-window range with horns to windows except those in basement, trellised balconettes to first floor and seven-panel door glazed to top, to left. No.16 has three-window range. Windows have horns, balconettes with lead ornament to vertical glazing bars. Six-panel door to left has large plain overlight and cast iron knocker. No.17 similar to No.16 with lantern in overlight and balconettes to first floor windows. No.18 has four-window range. Windows have horns except those in basement, balconettes to first floor windows and seven-panel door to left-of-centre, glazed to top. No.19, right terminal of northern crescent, three-window range with high cast iron balconettes to first floor. Roof hipped to left. Windows facing The Circus have horns except those in basement. Entrance in right return in Bennett Street. Five-window range, parapet sweeps down cornice, second and first floor modillion cornices returned, mutule cornice to ground floor returned as simple moulding. Most of windows blind, moulded architraves, six/six-pane sash windows. Two to second floor right, one to first floor right and centre, one to ground floor right. Central prostyle porch has mutule cornice, triglyph frieze, and double C19 ten-panel doors in moulded architrave. Circus House, right terminal of south-east crescent, five-window range to entrance facade in Bennett Street. Parapet sweeps down to returned cornice in front of four C20 dormers. Six/six-pane sash windows some with horns, blind windows to right of centre; returned modillion cornices to upper floors, mutule cornice to ground floor of right return simplified to front. Central Tuscan doorcase has engaged columns, entablature and pediment and five-panel door glazed to top. Right return, with two windows facing The Circus, has splayed reveals and cast iron balconettes to second floor. `BENNET STREET¿ and `CIRCUS¿ carved into platband. Nos 20-30 have three-window range with doors to right. No.20 has horns to sash windows, trellised balconettes to first floor, splayed reveals to first and ground floors and early C19 six-panel door to right with ornamented overlight. No.21 similar to No.20, seven-panel door with oval glazed panel to top. No.22 similar to No.20 (no horns to basement windows) with early C19 seven-panel door glazed to top and plaque "Here dwelt Major Andre AD 1770" (Andre was shot as a spy by the American Colonists during the War of Independence). No.23 similar to No.20 with vertical-barred balconettes to second floor. No.24 similar to No.23 with scrolled balconettes to first floor and seven-panel door glazed to top. No.25 similar to No.20 with seven-panel door glazed to top. Large early C19 rear extension. Sub-basement. Plaque records that the painter Thomas Gainsborough lived here (erroneous: he lived at No 17, see below). No.26 similar to No.20 with horns to second floor, lower trellised balconettes to first floor and six-panel door with reeded lintel and plain overlight. Basement and sub-basement have thick glazing bars. No.27 similar to No.24, seven-panel door has oval pane to top and plaque to Parry. Basement and sub-basement. No.28 has no horns to windows, cast iron balconettes to first floor, early C19 five panel door glazed to top has studded frame. Basement and sub-basement. No.30, right terminal of south-east crescent, three-window range with sub-basement. Six-panel door to right has diagonal square panes to overlight. Right return similar to that of No.1 with blind windows to two left hand ranges and lead bell-shaped rainwater head and downpipe to left. INTERIORS: GENERAL: Considerable diversity is encountered within, in contrast with the regimented exteriors. Several display considerable ingenuity of planning, and the involvement of lessees in the arrangements, as demonstrated by the variety in treatment of rear elevations. INTERIORS: INDIVIDUAL HOUSES: No 1: photo of richly veined C18 marble chimneypiece in the National Monument Record. No. 2 inspected by Bath council 1974. The first floor rear room has a bow window with unenriched mouldings, a rosette and deep Edwardian swag frieze, also Regency double doors. The front room has Regency reeded double doors. Three storey octagon, the second floor is a very irregular shape, the staircase has Doric colonnettes and newel, heavy mahogany handrail and key pattern tread ends. Elliptical arch at the top. No 2: inspected 10th October 1978 Ground Floor: Front room: Victorian cornice: Back room: with bow window: deep cove cornice: Venetian window: elliptical-arched sideboard recess. Staircase: Doric newels and heavy mahogany handrail, Doric colonnette on vase banisters, timber open treads with key pattern tread ends: two elliptical arches at top. First Floor: Octagon with original deep cove cornice, French window to late Georgian balcony: cupboards. Front room: modillion cornice: double doors with Regency reeded architraves with corner blocks with rosettes. Six-panel ovolo door with cyma-moulded architrave. Back room: unenriched modillion cornice with rosettes: door as front room. Second Floor: Irregular octagon to be regularised. No. 3: photographs of interior (Bath Council 1981) show a wide wooden staircase with turned columnar wooden balusters; row of four Corinthian marble pilasters in the hallway of ceiling height, with square half pilasters on the end walls. Elaborate decorative Plaster panels above dado height up the staircase and along the upper landing; plaster floral garlands over doorcases. No. 3: photographed 1981. Ground Floor: Staircase hall in front: two pairs of pink marbled or scagliola Corinthian columns with white painted capitals and matching pilaster responds against front and spine walls support the beam below the balustrade of the first floor landing which has square coffers with rosettes on its soffit and in the cross-beams which connect it to the adjacent wall. The original timber staircase has a heavy moulded ramped handrail with Doric newels and Doric colonnette on vase banisters. Overdoors, one with a pediment, the other with a frieze and cornice, to the front room: Stairwell: modillion cornice: plaster string course with key pattern at first floor level: ramped dado to staircase with wide rococo wall panels, their mouldings interrupted by and alternating with rocaille ornament including floral festoons hanging from bows. No. 4: drawing by JNE dated 30th June 1982. Basement: Front room ¿ former kitchen: full height C18 dresser with four shelves supported on moulded brackets and solid ends, each projecting further than the one below with a crowning cornice: drawers below worktop supported by Doric newels supporting moulded timber brackets. Garden: original layout excavated and restored by Council. No. 5: History: First resident was the Earl of Stanhope cousin of Pitt the Elder see nos. 6, 7 & 8. No.6, recorded by Bath Preservation Trust in 1993 and built for Lady Lucy Stanhope, remains largely intact with a c19 extension to the rear. The Stanhopes employed Italian plasterers to decorate the house. The hall has the original stone floor with black slate inserts, a moulded cornice with dentils and plasterwork panels with swag and tails depicting fruit and flowers. Cantilevered stone staircase with mahogany handrail. The eight-panel front door has internal moulding and a corkscrew chain security lock. The ground floor room overlooking the garden has cornices with palmette and acanthus leaves with rope moulding, and the fireplace has a marble fireplace of white and ochre alabaster. The first floor front drawing room has a cornice with large central diamond shaped lozenge of Rinceau foliage. Inner circuit flowers and fruit moulding and in each corner all arabesque motif. The marble fireplace has a central motif of vine leaves and grapes. Three sash windows one/one with a pair of two-panel shutters and soffit board with panel. Six-panel door front drawing room. In the rear drawing room is a remarkable plaster ceiling, Rococo in spirit: an overall design of flowers and foliage, comprising interlocking circles and diamonds. The white marble fireplace has a central cherubs head with a garland of flowers on each side. The grate has a design of flowers and foliage. The sash window nine/nine with a pair of two-panel shutters and a soffit board panel. The second floor front room has similar moulded features to the floor below. There is no fireplace but a six-panel door and three six/six sash windows with three-panel two-leaf shutters, panelled soffit. The rear room has wall panelling to the dado, with panels and panel moulding. Three one/one sash windows in a curved bay and three-panel two-leaf shutters. No. 6: inspected 29th September 1976, 17th November 1982. See photograph of decorative rococo plasterwork on ceiling of first floor back room in Ison, plate 126b and his description on page 192. History: First resident Lady Lucy Stanhope, mother of Earl of Stanhope who lived at No. 5: he was a cousin of William Pitt the Elder, Prime Minister, who lived at nos. 7 and 8. Basement: Back room: fireplace with moulded stone architrave: timber close string staircase with Doric newel and Doric colonnette banisters. with white painted capitals Ground floor: Entrance Hall: two bays with plaster wall panels. Staircase with half landing in rear bow: rococo plaster swags to walls. First Floor: Front room: very elaborate decorative plaster trellis of interlacing roses on ceiling: fine white marble fireplace with a head in the centre of the frieze and plaster garlands either side: Back room: fine rococo plasterwork to ceiling: Edwardian fireplace. No.7 and 8, recorded in 2001, were once the residence of William Pitt, and where he had his Council Chamber. They have since been divided into two separate residences. No. 7¿s staircase was the main staircase to these united houses, with metal stringing and moulded open soffits. The mahogany banister rail ends in a curved newel post. Black and white marble tiles and stone fireplace with deep stone hearth. The ground floor garden room has indented wall panels with egg and dart surround, painted wooden mantelpiece and surround with a decorative cast iron fireback. The ceiling rose has a design of six leaves with a daisy between. The ground floor front room has a grey and white marble fireplace with a cup and ball pateras, with indented panel at the sides and across. The first floor ante-room has an ornate ceiling rose with acanthus leaves and rosettes, eight wall panels of ornamental broadleaf border with four ornamental motifs of ribbon bow with diminishing drop. The fireplace has a white marble mantelpiece and surround with a relief of two classic female faces. The fire grate is Edwardian. The small room off the garden room has a cornice of flowers interspersed with cross branches with a running festoon of laurel leaves beneath, interspersed with dentils and ovalo. The fireplace is wooden, with ornately festooned surround and a later addition of mirrors above. The cast iron fire grate is Edwardian. Additional inspection by Bath Council 1983 Very elaborate rococo ceiling in the first floor front room and very fine rococo garlands in plaster panels on staircase. Nos. 7: See photograph of white marble fireplace in Ison, plate 135a and plan on page 110. HISTORY: The first resident was William Pitt the Elder (1708-1778), Prime Minister and sometime MP for Bath (1757-1766), who lived at no. 7, which was originally interconnected with No 8, home of his sister. No.8 was recorded by Bath Preservation Trust in 2001. The ground floor front room has a plain ceiling with ovolo moulded cornice, the head decorated with waterleaf and tongue. The black marble fireplace and two six/six sash windows are replacements. Acanthus rosettes at upper corners of architrave and the foot closed by a plain rectangular block. The garden room has a plain ceiling with alternate broad and narrow curved leaves radiating from the centre. The cornices are finely decorated with waterleaf and tongue, beads, urns and calyx features. The white marble fireplace has fluted verticals closed at the base by a plain square block, foliated patera above. Flue damper control above the fireplace. Fluted horizontal below mantle shelf with geometric, rectangular panel at centre. Five-panel shutters on windows metal lined with security bars. The house was restored back to a house at the end of the C20 and is now a nursing home. No. 8: See plan in Ison, page110. No. 9, recorded in 1991 by Bath Preservation Trust when divided into flats, has a ground floor octagonal room with octagonal scrolled leaf and reeded ceiling frieze, acanthus leave cornice and ceiling rose. Oval window to hall door to garden inserted in place of lower sash window with decorative glass panel. Hall has a groin-vaulted ceiling with two ceiling roses and panelled walls. Inner hallway approached through reeded and fluted Ionic pilasters, coved and coffered soffit with inset flowers. Inner panel convex reeded moulding wrapped with a ribbon. Venetian windows on stairs at half landing. Ground floor library has an arched roof with moulded cornice and scroll and foliage below the ceiling frieze. Plaster wall moulding, corner pilasters. Good plaster ceilings. The Marquess of Caernarvon was the first owner of No. 9. Many features were introduced by Col. and Mrs Jenner during the 1940¿s.The ornate first floor drawing room mantelpiece of carved wood, made to resemble stone, was brought from a house in Grosvenor Square in the 1930¿s. The drawing room on the second floor has Edwardian bolection moulded panelling brought from a house in Dartmouth by the Jenners. The house was restored back to a house at the end of the C20. The house was the subject of articles in Country Life Nov 14th and 21st 1947. No. 9: inspected by JNE 26th March 1991. See plan in Ison page 110. History: the Marquess of Caernarvon is the first resident recorded in the rate book house was illustrated in Country Life in the 1930s when Colonel Jenner lived there. See Ison plate 127a for decorative rococo plasterwork on ceiling of first floor front room and page 192 for his description. Ground Floor: Entrance hall: semi-circular cross vaults with rococo enrichment at their crowns leading to a semi-circular arch in the spine wall with plaster flowers in the coffers on its soffit supported on Ionic 3/4 columns. It pierces a large niche facing the foot of the staircase with two lines of concave coffering with similar flowers in the spine wall surrounding the arch. Front room: plaster cove with nice rococo plaster ornament at its corners and an enriched plaster frame round the plain ceiling: a modillion cornice, corner pilasters: dado: fireplace with enriched architrave and later-looking cornice and ogee pulvinated frieze. Back room: long with bow at end with Regency columns. Octagonal room behind staircase with coved ceiling. Staircase: stone with Palladian modillion profile to moulded soffit of each step and outward canted iron balusters designed to accommodate spreading crinoline skirts. First Floor: Front room: lovely enriched plaster rococo ceiling consisting of a central rose framed by four C scrolls surrounded by naturalistic entwined sprays of leaves, the whole framed in a regular oval frame from which garlands of roses are suspended, the whole framed by a broad border of scrollwork interrupted by delicate long sprays of foliage at the four corners. Back room: a long room with a bow window. Second Floor: two rooms in front. Back room: old late C17/early C18 panelling and attractive fireplace and niche brought in. Third Floor: Back room: attractive long room with bay window. No.10: Inspection by Bath Council 1987. Archway to hall with fluted Doric pilasters. Broad wooden staircase with columnar newels; arched recess to stair half-landing with an elaborate coffered hood and shell device. Early c19 extension to landing. Fire surround in the ground floor front room is a mantelpiece of Siena marble with copper inlay of neo-classic recurring design, brought from the Crimson Drawing Room of Beckford¿s Tower, Lansdown, Bath. It was installed in the consulting room of the then owner. In addition the Siena marble console table also brought from the tower. The library ceiling in the consulting room was also reputedly from the Tower, `crimson and blue [with] spacing between beams (brown).¿ See Article Beckford Items at No. 10 The Circus, Bath by Phillipa Bishop; Illustrated London News Nov. 22nd 1845. No. 10. parts inspected 25th February 1975 and 31st October 1990. See Ison plates 120b and 121a for photographs of coffered dome to half landing and hall and staircase and plate 135b for fine Regency fireplace. Ground Floor: Entrance Hall: this contains the massive Sienna marble side table, its top supported on squat Greek Doric columns which Willes Maddox says formerly stood in the ¿Ante Room to the Dining Room¿ at Beckford¿s Tower. Front room: this contains the ¿mantelpiece of Sienna marble with copper inlay of scenes from the Parthenon¿ formerly in the crimson drawing room at Beckford¿s Tower, according to Willes Maddox¿s description. Second Floor: Larger front room: enriched cornice: enriched classical fireplace with guilloche pattern on corona of cornice: Smaller front room: same cornice: enriched classical fireplace with ornamented frieze. Back room: plain classical cornice: enriched classical fireplace with delicate scrollwork in frieze, tiles with mauve scenes to open recess. No 11: 1945 photo in the National Monument Record shows a wooden staircase with upswept handrails, column and vase balusters; at the half-landing stage is a Gothick triple arched screen with quatrefoil section piers and Gothick railings across. No. 11: Ground Floor: Entrance Hall: bracketed cornice: Staircase Hall: arch in central wall with fanlight and delicate plaster ornament on soffit. Staircase with open treads and two Doric colonnette on vase banisters per tread. First Floor: Landing: modillion and rosette cornice. No 14: mid-C20 photo in the National Monument Record shows large open well stair with elaborate cast iron rails in the Louis XV manner, probably c.1840; encaustic tiled floor. No. 17: partly inspected by JNE on 14th May 1987. See Ison, page 111 for plan. History: Thomas Gainsborough lived here from 1767 to 1774 (Susan Sloman, `Gainsborough in Bath¿ (2002)). Basement: Staircase: close moulded string with Doric colonnettes: Front room: fireplaces blocked: two windows with segmental inner arches. Back room: original ovolo-moulded window sashes. Ground Floor: Front room: two windows with box shutters: fine enriched modillion cornice: elliptical arched sideboard recess with delicate scrolls and vine leaves on soffit of arch: dado. White and Sienna marble fireplace. Back room: enriched modillion cornice: six panel ovolo door: ovolo panelled dado: two panel boxed shutters with ovolo architraves: The front room was probably Gainsborough¿s picture room, while his painting would have been carried out in the interconnecting room to the rear. First Floor: Larger front room: late C18 Adamesque cornice with fluted frieze and medallions and acanthus leaves on the soffit: door as on ground floor. Smaller front room: matching cornice, window and door: No.18 was recorded in the 1990¿s by Bath Preservation Trust. The basement front room has original stone bolection moulded fireplace. The rear room has been completely redesigned. First floor front room remodelled fireplace, Ionic columns with elliptical patera above. Central motif with flutes either side divided by beading. Original staircase with Venetian window on half landing. Elaborate cornice mouldings which have been `faithfully copied¿ where the rooms have been divided up for flats. No. 18: Basement inspected by JNE 1st August 1980. See Ison, page 111 for plan. Basement: Front room: unmoulded box shutters. Back room: bay with single central window with box shutters. No. 19: See Ison, page 111 for plan. No. 23: Partial inspection of by Bath Council 1993 mentions original panelled dado in hall, the main living room had an ungainly 1930¿s fireplace, fine built I bookcase to the right. Staircase with Doric colonnettes. No. 23: partly inspected by JNE 11th February 1993. Ground Floor: Entrance hall: modillion cornice: original dado with cyma-moulded rail and ovolo panels and cyma and ovolo skirting: Regency doors in moulded arch in central wall with panelled soffit with rococo rosettes. Staircase with cut strings, Baroque tread ends with three guttae per bracket, mahogany handrail with Doric colonnette on vase banisters. Front room: enriched modillion cornice with rosettes: ovolo boxed shutters with wide moulded architraves: Regency skirting: attractive built-in mahogany bookcases in arched recesses either side of the modern fireplace with doors glazed with diagonal bars and margins over drawers and cupboard doors. Back room with bow with three windows. Third Floor: original attic stairs with Doric colonnette banisters. Back room with bay window. No. 25: Partial inspection of No. 25 by Bath Council 1982 revealed evidence of an extensive early C19 remodelling of the interior. Original stairs with Doric colonnettes, ground floor rooms have double connecting doors, two early C19 fireplaces, fine central rose with acanthus and sunflowers. Fine early C19 stained glass fanlight over the door to rear. Dumb waiter to rear of first floor. Reeded black marble fireplace in rear room with elaborate brackets. Hall has chair rail to lower flight of stairs. Cellar has elliptical stone vault and small front wine cellar. No. 25: brief inspection by JNE on 6th June 1985. Ground Floor: no fireplaces survived. First Floor: very fine pair of Victorian white marble console fireplaces: double doors connecting rooms. No.27 was partially recorded in the 1990¿s by Bath Preservation Trust. The basement and first floor have retained some of the original cornices. There is a service lift from the basement to the ground floor, and the first floor has original shutters and fire surround. No. 27: inspections 15th September 1975, 1982 14th June 1985. Sub-Basement: Front room: elliptical-stone-vaulted cellar and small wine cellar in front. Back room has flat ceiling. Basement: Front corridor: arch to dresser between storage cupboards. Front room: no cornice: cast iron range by C. Wills and Son, Bath: timber dresser to back wall: Back room: rococo C18 fireplace with carved shell and scrollwork in deep frieze. Ground Floor: Hall: delicate cornice with acanthus enrichment over fluted frieze: dado to lower flight of staircase: inner Regency door: Staircase has open treads, Baroque double C curved tread ends, wide mahogany handrail and Doric colonnette over vase banisters. Front room: modillion cornice: panelled ovolo shutters: six panel doors with reeded Regency architraves with corner roundels: painted Regency reeded fireplace with corner roundels. Back room: with very large early C19 back extension with food lift: cornice with acanthus leaves and guilloche pattern on soffit: oval central rose with palm leaves and beading: early C19 skirting: reeded Victorian black marble fireplace with elaborate consoles supporting mantelpiece: original ovolo-moulded six-panel door with later astragals with indented corners. First Floor: Front room: cornice with acanthus leaves and beads and scrollwork to soffit: fine central rose with acanthus leaves and sun-flower in middle: three windows with splayed shutters: six panel doors with Regency reeded architraves and roundels: eight panel double doors to back room: early C19 grey marble fireplace: Back room: cornice, rose, joinery detail all as front room: plain white marble early C19 fireplace. Half landing: fine early C19 stained glass fanlight over door to back addition. Second Floor: Landing: arch at top of stairs springing from moulded imposts: Front small room: original small moulded cornice: windows with narrow ovolo architraves: area 318ft in diameter, originally fenced and gravelled, but has been grassed, with trees since early C19 (planting and lawn introduced by 1829). HISTORY: The Circus forms a pivotal element in the succession of major urban set-pieces designed by the Woods, rising up from Queen Square to the Royal Crescent, and is one of the most dramatic examples of Neoclassical town planning in the country. Nine acres of pasture known as the Hayes were assigned to the Woods by the Garrard family in 1753, but Wood the Elder died before work got underway; nonetheless the radical conception of the Circus is thought to be his, including the soon-abandoned notion of the circular space as a place for the muscular exercises of the youth of Bath, and he lived long enough to see the foundation stone laid in February 1754. Considerable ground levelling was required before house construction got underway. The first building leases were granted in 1755 for plots in the south-west segment; William Pitt the Elder was among the first undertakers. The northern segment was the last to be built, with leases being granted in 1764-66. The present appearance of the centre of the Circus dates from the late Georgian period: prior to this, the Circus was entirely paved with setts. The Woods originally intended an equestrian statue of George II to grace the open space, in keeping with the Roman theme of the ensemble; a water reservoir graced the centre of the Circus until the trees were planted. The garden of No. 4 was excavated by Bath Archaeological Trust 1985-6 and the outline and planting areas of the original Georgian garden found. For a convincing analysis of the intellectual background to Wood¿s conception, which drew on his keen interest in British antiquarianism and the origins of architecture, see Mowl & Earnshaw, Ch. 12. Another important influence was Inigo Jones¿s design for Whitehall Palace of c1638, with its circular courtyard; some of the metope reliefs are taken from this source too. The remarkable richness, visual and intellectual, of the 525 emblematic metope reliefs (many based on George Wither¿s 1635 Booke of Emblemes) are unprecedented in Georgian architecture and are of the first importance. The Circus as a set-piece is unassertive seen from outside, and imposingly monumental from within. Smollett¿s Humphry Clinker (1771) dismissed the Circus as `a pretty bauble, contrived for shew, and looks like Vespasian¿s amphitheatre turned outside in¿. It is among the great set-pieces of Georgian architecture. The Circus was extensively restored after WW2: the uniform glazing bars date from the 1950s (the earliest programme of wholesale replacement) and the carved masonry to the fronts has also been renewed. SOURCES: Ison W: The Georgian Buildings of Bath: Bath: 1980-: 142, 230 etc; Mowl T and Earnshaw B: John Wood Architect of Obsession: Bath: 1988-: 180-181, 194-203)); John Summerson, Architecture in Britain (7th ed. 1983), 390 ff. Listing NGR: ST7472465236


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 509532

Legacy System: LBS

End of official listing