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This year marks a very special anniversary as Bath celebrates 250 years since the foundation stone for the Royal Crescent, the city’s most iconic architectural landmark, was laid on 19 May, 1767.
Bath Preservation Trust, with funding support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), is marking the anniversary with city-wide celebrations throughout the year. The programme features six exhibitions and over 60 events, including family-friendly events, debates, guided walks and artwork. Royal Crescent 250 is organised by the Trust’s three city-centre museums: No. 1 Royal Crescent, the Museum of Bath Architecture and the Herschel Museum of Astronomy, with activities in partnership with Bath Festivals, RIBA South West and the Natural Theatre Company.
Current exhibitions (available to see with a ticket to the relevant museum):
A View of the Crescent Until 19 November – an exhibition of photographs, paintings, book plates and many other items reflecting the ways that artists have interpreted the Royal Crescent over the past 250 years. At No. 1 Royal Crescent.
Past, Present, Future: Bath and the Smithsons Until 26 November – Discover how the old inspired the new in Bath in the work of England’s most influential post-war architects through objects from the Smithson Family Collection. At the Museum of Bath Architecture.
Jubilate Until 10 December – As well as the 250th anniversary of the Royal Crescent 2017 also marks the 250th anniversary of William Herschel taking up the post of Director of Music in Bath. At the Herschel Museum of Astronomy.
On 19 May we celebrated Foundation Stone Day with live music and a projection of poetry onto No. 1 Royal Crescent called Words on Stone which was especially commissioned for the anniversary. Free music performances took place at No. 1 Royal Crescent and the Bath Museum of Architecture as part of Party in the City.
On 21 May the public were invited to join in the celebrations at the Royal Crescent at a Free Foundation Stone Family Day. They saw the crafts that built the Royal Crescent in action, joined Bath Spa University Students on guided walks exploring the lives of past residents of the building and watched the Natural Theatre Company bring the foundation stone through the city and place it at No. 1 Royal Crescent. For more information click this link to see the event leaflet.
On Saturday 29 July over 6,000 visitors and residents enjoyed visiting the Royal Crescent for a Family Picnic Day when all cars had been removed. A horse and carriage offered free rides along the Crescent and actors from the Natural Theatre Company brought the stage to eighteenth-century-life by portraying stories of servants, laundresses, coal merchants and blacksmiths, followed by vignettes of the upper-class gentry promenading in their finery! Visitors joined in with dancing lessons or simply admired the scenes whilst enjoying a picnic. It was a marvellous celebration; a real Day in the Life of the Royal Crescent.
To find out more about some of the exciting events and exhibitions we have coming up please visit the events pages of Bath Preservation Trust’s three museums: No. 1 Royal Crescent, the Museum of Bath Architecture, and Beckford’s Tower or look at a pdf of our latest Events Leaflet
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The Royal Crescent is one of the most impressive representations of architectural innovation and imagination in Georgian Britain, and was one of the reasons why Bath was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1987. No other building better encapsulates the architectural innovation, social identity and creative imagination of Georgian Britain. It stands as a doorway through which the history of the Georgian period can be discovered, providing inspiration for the architecture of the future.