In 1724 Antiquarian William Stukeley stated that Bath, England, was a “The small compass of the city has made the inhabitants crowd up the streets to an unseemly and inconvenient narrowness… a disgrace to the architects they have there.” Within forty year of this statement Bath had become a ‘Jewel in the Georgian crown’ and is now a World Heritage site. Architect John Wood the Elder had a vision for the city of Bath that contained elegant streets, squares and crescents. These were not just individual buildings but they were an integrated plan that reformed a city from a place where people came to ‘take the waters’ of the hot springs for their health into a desirable city of elegant residences where the fashionable elite spent the social season.
Wood was a prolific writer and published several books in his lifetime. In these books he considers architecture and history. He wrote a history of Bath, which was more folklore than history, that was openly challenged at the time. His history moved the historic focus of Bath away from the Romans and it emphasised the importance of the native Britons. This paper examines how Wood used architecture to memorialise the past, not through style, but through measurements and elements. He had a unique way of ‘writing’ history into his architectural plans and in this way he reinvented the past into a new and distinct architecture that remains aw-inspiring to this day.
|Keywords:||John Wood the Elder, Bath England, Architecture|
Research Fellow in Architectural History, The School of Architecture and Built Environment, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia
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