Spring newsletter content

Extracts below from our Spring newsletter, focussing on the Bear Flat area of Bath.

Kipling Avenue
Poets Corner, Bear Flat, Bath

Kipling Avenue Trees

 The trees in Kipling Avenue were the focus of controversy in 1909.  At a meeting of the Pleasure Grounds Committee on 8 March, the residents presented a petition calling for trees to be planted, pointing out that Shakespeare Avenue had already been planted up at a cost of £25.  A Mr Maule objected, saying that ‘it’s time this expenditure was stopped’.  Councillor Thomas objected that the builders had ‘christened the estates avenues and expected the Corporation to make them so’.  Councillor Jackman said he thought that the builders or residents should plant them.  The committee decided against planting the trees.

 On 18 March, a letter appeared in the Chronicle from a Mr T Anstey condemning the decision, and calling on the council to ‘emulate Ealing, the “Garden Suburb”.  I remember Pulteney Street before the trees were planted,’ he went on. ‘How much more beautiful it is now, even though the trees might have been better selected.  I also remember the plane tree planted in Abbey Green by Mr J B Yates.  What about a row of trees in dreary London Road from Grosvenor to Walcot and some in Wellsway?’

 The issue was raised again at the next meeting of the Pleasure Grounds Committee in early April, where it was pointed out that three out of four avenues in Poet’s Corner had already been planted with trees at a cost of £55 and it was unfair to leave out Kipling Avenue.  It was eventually decided to proceed with planting ‘when practicable’.                 

(Extracts from ‘The Year of the Pageant’ Elliot & Swift).

Do you know your Poet?

With 7 local roads built by a family of devoutly religious builders, Bath’s Poets Corner is a homage to Poets Corner in Westminster Abbey – all of the poets named in the Bath estate are either buried there or have a memorial plaque in place.

 Percy Bysshe Shelley

 Born in Broadbridge Heath, near Horsham in West Sussex and the eldest of seven children, Shelley’s father was a Whig Member of Parliament. Educated at Eton College and University College (Oxford) Shelley was expelled from Oxford in 1811 after publishing a pamphlet on “The Necessity of Atheism”. Four months after his expulsion (and at the age of nineteen) Shelley eloped to Scotland to marry Harriet Westbrook – a marriage that lasted only three years, producing a daughter, before Shelley ran off with the daughter of William Godwin (the first modern proponent of anarchism). By 1816 Shelley and Mary Godwin were living on the shores of Lake Geneva, next door to Lord Byron. The next stop for the now married Shelleys was Marlow in Buckinghamshire, where he became friends with John Keats, but continued involvement with Lord Byron led to sojourns in various Italian cities from 1818 to 1822. On 8th July 1822, less than a month from his 30th birthday, Shelley drowned in a sudden storm on the Adriatic. Cremated on the beach near Viareggio, Shelley’s heart was saved from the flames and eventually buried with his son. His ashes were interred under the Pyramid of Cestius in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome, although he is memorialised in Westminster Abbey next to his friends Byron and Keats.

St David’s Day is the feast day of St David, the patron saint of Wales, and falls on 1 March each year. This date was chosen in remembrance of the death of St David on that day in 589, and has been celebrated since then.  The date was declared a national day of celebration within Wales in the 18th century.   Many people wear one or both of the national emblems of Wales on their lapel to celebrate: the daffodil  (a generic Welsh symbol, which is in season in March) or the leek (St David’s personal symbol) on this day. Public celebrations are commonplace.  In many towns an annual parade is held through the town centre. Concerts are held in pubs, clubs and other venues.  Children take part in school concerts or eisteddfodau, with recitation and singing being the main activities. The traditional Welsh costume of a long woollen skirt, woollen shawl, white blouse and Welsh hat may also be worn.

Bath in Spring

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