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Hmm, well, no

So pulses will be racing with the latest offering on the Bath property market — not just one Georgian townhouse but an entire Georgian square. Beauford Square,

Well, no it’s not actually a square, it’s a street. Nice, tho, right in the centre of town, but little to no through traffic.

comprising 13 houses, four apartments and two commercial units,


That’s not all, though. The sale comes with Lark Place, an unbroken row of nine Georgian cottages next to Royal Victoria Park,

Well, yeeees……artisans’ cottages facing directly onto a major road – Upper Bristol Road I think. Heavy traffic.

and Royston House, 13 period apartments near Bath Abbey.

Close to Bath Abbey’s a bit rich. It’s actually on Duke St, just by St John’s. Distinct lack of natural light on one side of that.

Still, at £18.5 million that’s not a bad deal. We’ll take two, shall we?

19 thoughts on “Hmm, well, no”

  1. There’s quite a few of those squares that are not squares about. I had a flat in Belsize Square NW3. Which is 3 streets of early Vic 3 floors with basement terrace. The bit in the middle, wasn’t the church, was filled in with various buildings in the 1930’s. Must have been really something when it was first built but by post war, was basically bedsit land. Of course now, eyewateringly expensive des res. If you know Bath history you might be able to work out what was the original square & what happened to it.

  2. Here’s a thought. I started out living in Powis Square, Notting Hill. Lansdown Road, Elgin Crescent. The names give some idea what the area was when it was built. In the late sixties it was heavily black. The Mangrove in All Saints Road, Notting Hill Carnival. These days it’s where cabinet ministers & Russian oligarchs set up home. But cycles. Is there any reason to believe they don’t continue? Nothing’s set in Aspic.
    So what will that square in Bath be in 50 years? 70? What part of the cycle is it on now? If you bought that house what would your grandchildren inherit?

  3. The thing about Bath. It was a very, very, rich place – the Las Vegas of its day. But transport was shite. So, rich people built their town houses there. They’d stay for the “season”. Then the place went to sleep for a century and a half – 1840-ish, as Brighton took over, through to 1970s really. It’s left it with a core of very desirable architecture.

    The particular stuff being sold here tho’, it’s nice enough. But dodgy areas for two of the three bits.

  4. rich people built their town houses there. They’d stay for the “season”.
    Slave traders from Bristol, one presumes? Tut, tut.

  5. You’ll take none – the house are likely falling apart because they were probably part of some sovereign wealth holding scheme and the government will force you to rebuild them according to historic guidelines which will cost far more and leave them miserable places to actually live in.

  6. No, the seller is St John’s Trust, one of the largest landholders in Bath. A charity dedicated to housing the elderly, as it happens. They own vast amounts of property, all rented out, which then pays for old folks homes. In Bath, for Bathonians. One of the truly grand secrets of the place is that when you hit 40, if you;re still resident, then you can sign up for one of the St John’s Trust oldies places. They might even have one available by the time you need it.

    Just one of those charities that hit the jackpot centuries back with landholdings.

  7. “ Main road just in front of it. Plus the recycling centre…”

    True, but the recycling centre is closing next year and the main road is getting less and less main due to CAZ charges and new cycle lanes/ bus islands.

  8. the house are likely falling apart because no house anywhere was built with a design life of much more than 40 years. It’s not so much the shell as things like roofs, windows, guttering & timbers. So much depends on how much that’s been extended by maintenance & remedial works. That’s going to depend on the utility of the building over its lifetime. Notting Hill had high utility when built. So likely was well maintained until WW1. Utility fell because those houses needed domestic servants to maintain the lifestyle of the residents, until by the 60’s it was so low they were in multiple occupation & virtual slums. Hence very little maintenance was done & the fabrics degenerated severely. Since the 80s they’ve been a goldmine for builders because the neglect penetrated deep into inaccessible parts of the structures. Dry rot!
    So with Bath it’ll depend on how low that long period of reduced utility sank. Always a problem with old buildings. One maybe inheriting an ongoing & expensive battle to keep them functional, unless you want to do a back to the shell strip out & rebuild. Dearer than demolition & replacement.

  9. They’ll all be Grade II* listed at least. All of central Bath Georgians are. The Square now, that was actually built for the charity originally. They’ve got a very good reputation for maintenance as well – they’ve been around hundreds and hundreds of years, so far at least they’ve worked and planned on those sorts of timescales. I’d not want to guarantee anything, obviously, but of things that you might buy in Bath then these will be well maintained.

  10. Hence my rather jaundiced view of all those late Vic & Edwardian terraces people are so proud to own. They were never really well constructed in the first place. They all go up over a relatively short window of time. Where do you find the skilled workers to do that? Answer being they didn’t. They were largely constructed by semi-skilled tradesmen out of low quality materials. Then their history. Most of them were constructed for rental. Widespread home ownership is a relatively recent phenomenon. So you have that long period of low utility when Rent Acts made letting unprofitable. Hence poor maintenance. So now it’s an ongoing battle to remedy years of neglect.

  11. One of the proofs of this is Bath itself. You can actually see it on Streetview. The Adams (or Adamses perhaps) who did all the architecture? That was for the front facade only. You bought into one of their developments by paying for the land (actually, for long leases, most were 999 years at start, we’re still paying ground rent on my place which was built in 1796 or summat) and that front design. Then went off and found whatever jobbing builder who would put up a house using that design for the front face.

    The proof of this? Have a look at the back of the Royal Crescent, or The Circus. Every house is different.

    The actual building quality generally is shite. 4 inch ashlar and it’s Bath sandstone as well. That’s load bearing.

    However, as above, some of this estate being sold now is better – better than the general class that is – given that it was originally built by a charity which was, even then, centuries old and built to be owned by that same charity for centuries. They’re selling it 300 years after they built it after all.

    By objective standards we’d still say the buildings are pretty shite in their construction quality. By what’s available 20 yards away they’re pretty good in comparison.

  12. so far at least they’ve worked and planned on those sorts of timescales.
    Mmmm…. People. Each responsible bod will be planning for the time he’s responsible for it. It’s just the way people function. Few are much interested past their own life span. Time preference? An organisation might have long time-scales but the people in it don’t.

  13. Agreed, no organisation containing humans will ever be perfect. And they have succumbed at least a little to the woke. but here’s their start:

    Founded in Bath on Christian principles by Bishop Reginald Fitzjocelyn in 1174, St John’s Hospital, now St John’s Foundation,

    They’re doing, well, umm, not badly so far perhaps.

    The actual almshouse itself had to be redeveloped as there was just no way to make it modernly legal as such. They run near 100 such apartments in the City tho’. One of the things every resident of Bath is advised to do is, at age 40 (earliest possible age) get registered on the waiting list for those flats. Might not need one, want one, or even care by the time rolls around. But one of those tricks that’s worth doing all the same – register.

  14. Bath stone is oolitic limestone,not sandstone.and most are rubble backfill with a thin ashlar of dressed stone as you say.Like Clifton in Bristol a lot were built by speculative developers over a long period..between crashes.I lived in Royal York Crescent in 80s pregentrification Clifton.High ceilings, singleglazed but shuttered windows.Very bohemian and absolutely freezing cold…The mice infestations would run from one end of the crescent and back.Nothing can rectify that,even if you spend a million on a house today.Bath has a very dark underbelly.I studied Art on Sion Hill in the 90s.When they destroyed Solsbury Hill,of Peter Gabriel fame to build a bypass.The Peoples Republic of Walcott Street was my stomping ground.Fun times.

  15. Sion Hill, where they had the girlfriend farm – aka teacher training college. Walcot St I know of course – my place is in Alfred St. But my drinking was more Green Tree than Hat and Feather. It was always notable that the landlord of The Bell came for his own drinks in the GT. But, you know, saw an early Tears for Fears gig there @The Bell. And – of course – given my hipness I used to walk on Solsbury Hill – with my father even – before a song was written about it. Actually, that place that Gabriel rented, at least part of (the video studio) it was rented off my parents’ best man……

  16. It is fascinating. How organisations can continue over centuries. It looks like long term planning but few of the individual participants are doing long term planning. But because they’re planning aligns, it survives. We call this “traditions”don’t we? Universities were like this. But I suspect the current planners may destroy them utterly. Just be left with the buildings. And what use would they have?

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