For the past two years we have had the joy of working with the National Trust to create a Statement of Significance for the Bath Assembly Rooms. Designed by John Wood the Younger in 1769, the Bath Assembly Rooms was conceived as a monumental civic structure at the heart of fashionable Georgian Bath inspired by similar structures in Imperial Rome in the 4th century, to provide public entertainment for polite society.
Recent strip out work, undertaken as part of the Trust’s journey to uncover the history and significance of the building, has uncovered a rare and rather curious element of the building’s history: a very well preserved, 18th century cold plunge pool or bath in the basement. Whilst the presence of this structure was already understood (18th century guidebooks describe ‘a commodious cold bath, with convenient dressing-rooms’ and the bath was drawn and photographed following bomb damage in 1942 before it was filled in) the extent of its survival and remarkably intact condition is a fantastic discovery. The inclusion of a singular cold bath within a building typically used for dances, taking tea and card games, raises many questions such as how this use related to the other uses and areas of the building.
Our Statement of Significance details the fascinating history, stories and characters associated with the Assembly Rooms, set within the wider context of Georgian Bath and will be used by the Trust to inspire and inform the buildings future use, adaption and the curatorial team’s approach to the creation of an immersive, Georgian visitor experience.
Read more about the discovery here: Bath Assembly rooms: Rare Georgian Cold Bath discovered – BBC News