Whether you live in Bath or not, you probably know about all the history the city is packed with. Here are our top 22 facts about Bath that you probably didn’t know!
- Bath is the largest city in the county of Somerset
Bath was granted city status in 1590 by Queen Elizabeth I. The current population of Bath is now about 90,000 people.
- It is named after its Roman-built baths
Bath was founded by the Romans as a thermal spa. The public baths were used until the end of Roman rule in Britain in the 5th Century AD. The original baths were in ruins shortly after that, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and were redeveloped several times.
- Bath has unique limestone architecture
Bath was built of oolitic limestone obtained from the mines under Combe Down. This material gives Bath a very distinctive appearance that has made its architecture famous.
- English coronations started in Bath
One of the lesser-known facts about Bath is that English coronations, as we know them today, started with the ceremony in which Edgar of England was crowned king of England in Bath Abbey in 973.
- Jane Austen lived in Bath
Jane Austen lived in Bath at the beginning of the 19th century with her parents, who thought Bath would be a good place for their daughters to find husbands.
- It is a World Heritage site
Bath became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987 because of its Roman remains, especially the Temple of Sulis Minerva and the baths, its architecture, hot springs and landscape.
- It was attacked during World War II
In 1942, Hitler carried out air attacks on several cities, including Bath. Many of the city’s buildings were damaged in the Bath Blitz when Bath’s iconic Assembly Rooms and several houses in the Circus were destroyed.
- The world’s first stamped letter was posted from Bath
It used the first postage stamp (the Penny Black), issued on 1 May 1840, which features a profile of Queen Victoria on a dark background.
- The Anglo-Saxons gave Bath its present name
The Anglo-Saxon name for the town, Baðum, Baðan or Baðon, meant “at the baths”, and this was the source of the present name.
- It has one of the greatest examples of Georgian architecture in the United Kingdom
The Royal Crescent is one of the best examples of Georgian architecture that we have in the UK. This Grade I listed building consists of a row of 30 terraced houses. The Royal Crescent was designed by the architect John Wood, the Younger and built between 1767 and 1774.
- The Royal Crescent is not the only one
Although the Royal Crescent is the most famous, there are several crescents in the city, including Camden Crescent, Lansdown Crescent and Somerset Place.
- Uranus was discovered in Bath
One of the most curious facts about Bath is that, On 13th March 1781, the German-born British astronomer William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus from the back garden of his home on New King Street with a telescope that he had made.
- Plasticine was invented in Bath
Artist William Harbutt invented Plasticine after coming to Bath to teach at Bath School of Art and Design. He created the modelling material as a tool for his sculpture students, as clay could be hard to work with and dried too quickly.
- Bath hosted the first UK farmers’ market in 1997
This is one of the longest-running farmers’ market in the UK. It can still be found at Green Park Station on Saturday mornings, full of fresh, seasonal and local produce.
- Bath inspired Mary Shelley to finish writing Frankenstein
Mary Godwin (who was to become Mary Shelley after marrying the Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley) arrived in Bath in September 1816, when she was only 19. Here she wrote much of her celebrated novel Frankenstein.
- Many shows and movies have been filmed in Bath
Les Misérables, Persuasion, Fantastic Mr. Fox. and The Duchess, with Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes, are just some of the movies that have been partially filmed in Bath.
- Bath has a large natural water reservoir
The water that comes up in Bath fell as rain 10,000 years ago over the Mendip hills. There is a large underground natural reservoir that has a fault through which the heated water under pressure comes up in Bath.
- According to the legend, King Arthur defeated the Anglo-Saxons here
Bath may have been the site of the Battle of Badon (c.500 AD), in which King Arthur is said to have defeated the Anglo-Saxons. Although historians haven’t been able to confirm the existence of King Arthur, it is speculated that he was a warrior who led British armies against Saxon invaders.
- In 2016 an unexploded WW2 bomb was found in Bath
The bomb, from the Bath Blitz that took place in April 1942, was found just a metre beneath a playground at the former Royal High Junior School.
- Stonehenge and the Circus have a similarity
The Circus is where some of the oldest buildings in Bath are located and it has a similarity with Stonehenge: they are the same diameter. It is believed that The Circus in Bath represents the sun, while the Royal Crescent represents the moon.
- Bath is twinned with four other cities in Europe
These cities are Aix-en-Provence (France), Alkmaar (Netherlands) Braunschweig (Germany) and Kaposvár (Hungary). The city also has a historic connection with Manly, Australia, and has a partnership arrangement with Beppu, in Japan.
- Bath Rugby plays in the Premiership league
Some of its squad members also play or have played in the English national team rugby union team, including Lee Mears, Rob Webber, Dave Attwood and Matt Banahan.
We hope you enjoyed reading these facts about Bath. If you are thinking about moving to Bath or any other city in the UK, contact us for a removal quotation. We offer a simple, stress-free moving experience and have special offers for local moves.