Friday, 26 October 2012

Take a Bath with a ghost or two - Sepia Saturday.

Well! What were my first thoughts when I saw the picture theme for this week?

I considered Mother Skipton and the spring that was discovered at Knaresborough, Yorkshire. The spring has exceptionally high mineral content such that any object placed into the waters' flow will turn to stone within days.

However it's the historic city of Bath with its Roman ruins and Regency Architecture that will be the subject of this post. Bath Spa is world famous for its Roman Baths.

The Roman Baths at Bath Spa
(Photo by David ILiff. License CC-BY-SA 3.0)

A city as old as Bath has some phantom visitors including the 'Man in the Black Hat' said to be the ghost of the first Governor of New South Wales.

Arthur Phillip - Founder & First Governor of NSW
(Projec Gutenberg eText - The Naval Pioneers of Australia)

Admiral Sir Arthur Phillip was on board the Sirius which led the First Fleet to transport convicts from England to Australia. After an eight month voyage the fleet land at Botany Bay in January 1788 to establish the penal colonies.

But why should he haunt Bath's Saville Row dressed in 18th century finery including a black tricorne hat? He died there in 1814.

When it comes to architectural masterpieces Bath has the famous Royal Crescent.

The Royal Crescent, Bath
(A panorama of six segments - July 2006 - Photo by David ILiff. License CC-BY-SA 3.0)

I can see plenty of cars, but there is no sign of the ghostly carriage said to appear in the Crescent to commemorate the elopement of the playwright and politician Richard Brinsley Sheridan and his lover from number 11.

Richard Brinsley Sheridan
(Engraving from a portrait by Joshua Reynolds)

Sheridan fought two duels with Captain Thomas Mathews over Miss Elizabeth Linley who later became his wife. However there is no evidence of either Sheridan's 'The Rivals' or 'School for Scandal' being performed in the early years of  Bath's Theatre Royal.

The Theatre Royal Bath
(Photo by Michael Maggs - 2007: License CC-BY-SA 2.5)

Here the ghosts of an 18th-century married woman and her lover, murdered by her husband, are said to wander between the theatre and the Garrick's Head, the next-door public house

I may have wandered a bit from the theme but now you may wander over to check out other posts for Sepia-saturday-149 for a taste of healing waters.

24 comments:

Little Nell said...

Great tribute to Bath, Bob. One of my favourite cities. I didn't know it had so many ghosts. That panorama is quite something isn't it?

Wendy said...

I had no idea the Roman baths were so huge. Nor was I aware of all the ghosts. Very interesting! Any sightings of the famed Wife of Bath?

Bob Scotney said...

Darn it! I never thought of her Wendy.

barbara and nancy said...

That has to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. I'd love to see it some day. I'll definitely put that on my bucket list!
Nancy

Karen S. said...

Bob, this is so spectacular or rather spooktacular- you and I share the same liking foe ghost stories, and you always have my interest peaked! I have been to Bath, and my daughter even studied there one summer, with her classmates from our U of M here, a class involving Stonehenge! Which later we all got to visit together...one of my closest friends joined us she'a a major Jane Austin fan....so Bath had more than well baths and precious water for us! I need to finish up on my post too! Enjoy your weekend! Mine will be filled with early Halloween hauntings and grandchildren! Sounds bootiful right! :)

Postcardy said...

The Royal Crescent is very impressive, but the green water in the spa isn't very appealing.

Pat transplanted to MN said...

ahhh, thought I was set for a great haunting of ghosts to match Haloween, soon upon us. But not too many ghosts. Interesting about Bath and a sense of how they washed the "criminals" away at sea.. Somehow I never thought the Roman baths would appeal, being someone who prefers pricvacy in the bath.

Liz Stratton said...

Bob, Great post and take on the theme. Now you really have me wishing I could make a visit. The Royal Crescent is gorgeous!

Kristin said...

So many ghosts! I don't know how I pictured the baths but it wasn't like the picture.

Jo said...

Last time I was in Bath I was about 5 yrs. old. Are the Roman baths still used?

Bob Scotney said...

Jo - you may tour the baths and the museum but bathing is not allowed as it is unsafe. Apparently the water is contaminated with lead rom the old pipes. (www.romanbaths.co.uk).

Jo said...

What a shame, I guess it wouldn't be worth changing all the piping. But for a tourist attraction it might be a sound investment.

Jana Last said...

Great post! What a beautiful building the Crescent is!

Interesting what you said in your comment to Jo about the lead pipes and the water being unsafe to drink. I LOVE Jane Austen novels and in her books people headed to Bath. Am I wrong, or was the water there supposed to be therapeutic back in the day?

Bob Scotney said...

Jo and Jana
There is so much information on the Roman Baths on Wikepedia which tells you why the baths themselves are considered unsafe. There are spa waters available to drink in the Pump Room.
I suppose I'd better go there myself one day.

Peter said...

If ever there was an appropriate name for a city with a spa, it must be Bath :) Interesting post Bob, thank you.

Kat Mortensen said...

Ooh, do you think the ghost was in need of a clean-up? Luckily, I doubt too many of the bath's patrons are there at night, are they?

Rosie said...

I'm not sure you celebrate Hallowe'en, but quite an apt time to post things about ghosts.....good post Bob.

Titania said...

Bob, a fine history lesson. Bath was The place to go to have ones health restored and at the same time to be seen. A fascinating place with beautiful architecture,where a ghost is a must have.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Bob, this is so interesting. I have never seen any of these pictures before, though I probably should have by now. The story goes to prove that just because you can beat somebody in a duel doesn't mean that you can beat true love.

That building is incredibly huge, and I love the soaking pool.

Kathy M.

Kathy Morales said...

My thoughts were exactly what Postcardy said - green water and spectacular building. I'd love to see them all!

TICKLEBEAR said...

While the water doesn't look too inviting, even for a bath, the architecture is certainly quite another matter. Grand!!
:)~
HUGZ

Joy said...

I like your post of complete contrast between a regency Bath and an Irish riverside well. Sounds the perfect place for Halloween.

Mike Brubaker said...

Ghosts in Bath are much preferred to spiders in the bath! I'd imagine the Romans would be startled to see what their swimming pool has become.

Rob From Amersfoort said...

I didn't know Bath was such a beautiful city. According to Wikipedia it even is, besides London, the most visited tourist place in England. I certainly have to visit it some day, while trying to avoid encounters with ghostly entities ...