Queen Square, Bath 2741

Bath, England, Bath and North East Somerset

Brief Description

Queen Square, Bath is a communal garden, originally laid out to a formal design with elaborate parterres by John Wood. It is now a 19th-century town garden with grass and mature trees.

History

The buildings were completed between 1728 and 1735. The garden was originally enclosed by a low balustraded wall, which appears to have been taken down by 1784 when a well-known print shows the square enclosed by railings. Features included parterres and gravel walks.

Visitor Facilities

This is an urban green space for general public access.

Detailed Description

Queen Square is now much-altered. The enclosed garden has the aspect of a 19th-century town garden rather than that of a Georgian square. It is now composed of grass, with various mature trees informally planted. The garden is enclosed by iron railings. An obelisk stands in the middle. Access is from the south side of the square. The dense traffic around the garden also alters its character quite dramatically, serving to isolate the garden from the surrounding buildings.

Queen Square is maintained by Bath City Council. The grass is cut regularly and the garden is kept clean and tidy.

Features
  • Obelisk
  • Description: The obelisk was erected in 1738 by Beau Nash, with an inscription by Alexander Pope. The obelisk was originally 70 feet tall, but is now only 40 feet. John Wood was inordinately proud of this central feature of Queen?s Square, and spoke about it at some length in his `Essay towards a description of Bath?.
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  • Town House (featured building)
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  • Railings
  • Description: Wrought iron railings were restored to the central area in 1977, courtesy of the Bath Preservation Trust.
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

This is an urban green space for general public access.

History

Detailed History

Queen Square was John Wood's first great architectural composition in Bath, and he himself described fully his vision of the square in his ‘Essay towards a description of Bath'. Wood envisaged the north, east and west sides of the square forming a palace forecourt, the ensemble to be viewed from the south. The north side of the square fully realised this vision, although the west side did not. The buildings were completed in the period between 1728 and 1735.

The garden was originally enclosed by a low balustraded wall. The garden was entered in the middle of each side through iron gates, 20 feet wide, set between stone piers. The enclosure was bordered and crossed by gravel walks, dividing the space into four parterres and leading to a walk surrounding the central basin, from which rose the obelisk. The parterres were planted with flowering shrubs and enclosed by espaliered limes and elms, and each was penetrated diagonally by a grass path leading to a small circular plot. All trees and shrubs would have been kept very low, so as not to obstruct or distract attention from the surrounding architecture.

The balustraded wall appears to have been taken down by 1784, when a well-known print shows the square enclosed by railings. Drawings of the square during the 19th century show the trees and shrubs in the garden getting progressively larger.

During World War 2, nearly half of the south side of Queen Square was destroyed. It has since been re-built. Wrought iron railings were restored to the central area in 1977, courtesy of the Bath Preservation Trust.

Associated People
Contact

Telephone

01793 445050

Official Website

Owners

  • Bath & North East Somerset Council

    The Guildhall, High Street, Bath, BA1 5AW
References

References