In 1987 Bath became the first city in the UK to receive UNESCO World Heritage Site status for, among other things, it’s Roman remains, Palladian architecture, and links to 18th century social history.
In celebration of this, each year in April there is a Bath World Heritage Day, which chooses one of the six reasons that Bath was awarded UNESCO status as a theme for a day of events. This year the theme is the 18th century Social Setting – how Bath’s many prominent residents and visitors lived, what they wore, what rules governed them, what was fashionable, what was not, and what they did for entertainment.
Bath’s World Heritage Day falls on Sunday the 17th of April this year, and events will be taking place between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., rather appropriately given the theme, at Bath’s impressive Assembly Rooms, which were built in 1771 and were quite the best place to be seen in Bath when they were completed.
Almost all of the activities will be free and available to everyone. These will include, but are not limited to:
- · A mini-drama about 18th century Bath (which we hear will also include a duel)
- · Performances from the Jane Austen Dancers, and a chance to have a go yourself
- · Live 1770s and 1780s music from harpsichordist David Ponsford and flautist Helen Crown
- · A rare guided tour of the Ball Room, Tea Room and Great Octagon of the Assembly Rooms
- · A digital tour of an 18th century landscape garden
- · A walking tour of the upper town with the Mayor’s Honorary Guides
- · Bath Spa Choral Society performing traditional 18th century songs
- · Displays from the Roman Baths, the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution and Bathscape
- · Dressing up in replica costumes and experimenting with Georgian make-up (thankfully not the lead-based face powders though)
- · Actors from the Natural Theatre Company portraying the first Master of Ceremonies of the Assembly Rooms and other figures from Bath’s past
- · Traditional card games
- · Family crafts
- · The opportunity for photos in a sedan chair, which used to be the way to get around in Bath
- · Discovering the 18th century ‘Rules of Bath’
The only things that are not are the ‘Georgian Highlights’ tour of the Fashion Museum’s new exhibition, and there will also be some small charges if you want to sample the Georgian-themed refreshments in the Assembly Rooms café. On offer will be Bath Buns, Bath Oliver biscuits, almond fingers, and the famous Sally Lunn Buns.
So given that Dukes Hotel is such a fan of all things historical and Georgian (only natural really seeing as how we are situated in a pair of conjoined Grade II listed Georgian townhouses) we can fully recommend going along and exploring a little bit of 18th century Bath if you happen to be staying in Bath over the 17th of April. (And if you’re not, then why not? This is going to be a fantastic day!)