• Registration Year

    1987

  • Registered Sector

    City of Bath

  • Historical Function

    City of hot springs.

Location and site

Located in Somerset, 150 km. west of London, Bath was constructed in a meandering section of the Avon River, on the site of a natural amphitheatre in the Cotswold Hills. The city occupies the site of hot springs (feruginous and salted).

Urban Morphology

Bath demonstrates multiple layers of cultural genius. The Romans had the foresight and technology to harness the hot springs. They developed an impressive bath and temple complex within a walled city, attracting visitors from across the Roman Empire. Much of the bath's archeology remains and can be seen today. In the eighteenth century, within the same outstanding landscape setting, the Georgians remodelled the entire town, purposefully creating a beautiful city. This attracted society's elite from across Europe, and influenced the architectural and social traditions of the nation.

With the exception of the medieval quarters and the streets that run alongside the river, the layout of Bath was designed according to the most up-to-date principles: its streets, which are laid out in a rectilinear grid, provide perspective views. In the central districts, these streets cross each other at right angles.

Apart from the medieval pedestrian centre which surrounds the perpendicular Gothic abbey church, the urban landscape of Bath dates to the 18th century. The striking transformation of the city which took place at this time was based on Palladian principles, and its architecture and natural context are in harmony. Large-scale Neoclassical monuments with generous windows are elegantly integrated into the ensemble.

Registration Criteria

C (i) (ii) (iv)

Historical Reference

  • Bath (Aquae Sulis) was part of Roman England (Britannia Province) and its river, the Avon, was originally integrated into the Roman system of border defense. The baths were constructed as part of the first temple, which was dedicated to Sulis (whom the Romans identified as Minerva). From 411 A.D., which marked the end of the Roman rule, until the 9th century, the site was abandoned.
  • Bath was a centre for the wool industry in the Middle Ages. From 1147, it also served as a hospital centre for those suffering from rheumatism.
  • Bath was also known for its religious importance, and served as the Episcopal Seat between 1091 and 1206.
  • In the 18th century, under the reign of George III, the forgotten baths were rediscovered. During the same century, the city experienced major architectural and planning developments. Today, Bath remains a centre that is known for its hot springs.

Cllr Patrick Anketell-Jones

Mayor of Bath

Cllr Patrick Anketell-Jones
Mayor of Bath
Mayor’s Parlour Office
Guildhall High Street
BA1 5AW Bath, England
Tel:
+441225 477411
Fax:
+4411225 477408
Email:
mayor_of_bath@bathnes.gov.uk
Mr. Tony Crouch
World Heritage Manager
World Heritage Office
The Pump Room, Stall Street
BA1 1LZ Bath, England
Tel:
+441225 477584
Fax:

Email:
tony_crouch@bathnes.gov.uk
Literally OWHC 2013: copyright Jonathan Ellis (1)
Literally OWHC 2013: copyright Jonathan Ellis (2)
Literally OWHC 2013: copyright Joseph Wiles_bath_abbey_shot