When you visit Bath there are some things that every guidebook will tell you. “Visit Bath and visit the Royal Crescent”, “Bath was made a World Heritage Site in 1987”, “Bath was first founded over 2,000 years ago ”. But sometimes it’s nice to delve a little deeper and discover some of the lesser-known facts. On that note, these are a few of our favourite facts about Bath.
1. The spa water from the Roman Baths contains 43 different minerals.
These include Sodium, Magnesium and Calcium. The water is still available to try today if you like. It’s available from the spa fountain in the West Baths at the end of a tour of the Roman Baths, or from the traditional fountain in the Pump Rooms. It should be noted though that it has rather a distinct scent…
2. The Beau Street Hoard is made up of 17,577 Roman coins from 32BC – 274AD.
17,577! A hoard indeed. They were found in eight separate money bags in 2007 which had become fused together over time. We do wonder who buried them and why.
3. The last memorial to be put in Bath Abbey was for Sir Isaac Pitman who invented shorthand in 1958.
Another memorial of note in Bath Abbey includes that of Richard Chapman who was an Alderman of Bath in the 1500s. Sir Isaac Pitman’s memorial can be found in the north choir aisle.
4. Jane Austen’s parents were married in Bath.
The Rev. George Austen and Cassandra Leigh married on April 26th 1764 at St. Swithin’s Church. This is also where the Austen family went to church while living in Bath (the Abbey was too crowded) and where George Austen’s grave is.
5. William Herschel was the conductor of Bath Orchestra
William discovered the planet Uranus while in Bath, but he didn’t begin his life in Bath as an astronomer. He moved to Bath in 1766 and earned money through playing the organ in Bath’s Octagon chapel, and also to some extent through his composing. In 1780 he was appointed director of the Bath orchestra and his sister Caroline often appeared as a soprano soloist.
6. Queen Victoria opened the Royal Victoria Park and then never returned.
Royal Victoria Park was opened in 1830 by Victoria who was then only a princess. Unfortunately during the opening a comment was made only Victoria’s apparently bad dress and thick ankles. Victoria was so hurt that she never returned to Bath ever again.
7. The Royal Crescent isn’t the only crescent in Bath.
The Royal Crescent is the most famous but there are six others; Lansdown, Camden, Cavendish, Norfolk, Widcombe and Somerset (though this is less curved than the others and doesn’t have ‘crescent’ in its title, so its crescent status is more debatable).
8. The chandeliers in Bath’s Assembly Rooms Ballroom are insured for £9 million.
They were commissioned from glassmaker William Parker in the early 1770s. They each held forty candles and were so impressive that the Prince Regent commissioned £2,500 worth of chandeliers from him for Carlton House.