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Bath News

Published this month a book on Bath’s counterculture of the 1970s (with Widcombe at the forefront)

By Harry Mottram. The late 60s and early 1970s was seen as a golden age of counterculture in Bath as bands, artists, poets and actors emerged to bring vibrant creative life to the city with an energy whose legacy continues today in venues like the Widcombe Social Club, drama groups like The Natural Theatre Company and various festivals including the Comedy Festival.

Now that era of creativity has been encapsulated in a book written by some of the leading figures of the time.
Bath Arts Workshop: Counterculture in the 1970s, is published this month and features the personalities and events of the time.

The shop and HQ

Co-author Corinne D’Cruz said: “The Bath Arts Workshop was created just as the swinging 60s gave way to the turbulent 70s. A unique counter culture that sprang up in the city, it was a spectacular flowering of creative activity, community technology and social enterprise.”

The authors Brian Popay, Corinne D’Cruz, Jennie Potter-Barrie, Penny Dale, Phil Shepherd, Thornton Kay and Victoria Forbes Adam tell the story, from its birth in a Georgian basement in 1969, to the end of the next decade.

The book takes the reader behind the scenes of an organisation that had a significant impact at the time, describing how it worked, the extraordinary range and scale of its activities, and how many of its ideas still resonate today.
The publicity captures the zeigeist of the time and also its legacy: “They thought art could change the world. Thousands joined in and things were never the same again.”

The fight against the tunnel

And in a way this is true as the authors of the book who were behind much of the activities have gone on to – yes – help change society if not the world.

The authors worked in the Arts Workshop in the 70s. Since then, Brian has toured the globe with The Natural Theatre and his own company, Fine Artistes.

Corinne continued making innovative theatre, touring internationally whilst being based in Germany. Phil specialised in film and media and set up the educational charity Somerset Film. Penny is a well known author and illustrator of children’s books.

Tory back in the day

Thornton is involved in a major EU project to promote the reuse of building materials. Jennie became a specialist teacher of children with different needs, and Victoria has worked mainly in human rights, living at various points in Mexico and Haiti.

Back to the book. It’s an intimate and often hilarious account of how it all came about told by those involved at the time, with contributions from performers, artists, green technology pioneers, and the children and adults who joined in.
Essential reading for anyone interested in 1970s counterculture or were growing up at the time. An era of emerging free festivals, of the rise of folk rock, community theatre, street art, experimental rock music, reggae, world music and a time when people would try anything creatively.

• The book Bath Arts Workshop is in paperback, priced £25, and is out on12 September published by Bloomsbury and is available from Tangent Books. Contact: Richard Jones, 07890 267983. Email

For more on Bath visit

More news of Bath’s chic community in Bath Voice magazine – now out – or read online at


NEWS IN BRIEF FROM BATH VOICE: Bees, birds and the cat killer

Tufa Field: Pictured is a photo taken of a bird of prey at the de facto nature reserve of Tufa Field off Englishcombe Lane. Residents have fought a long campaign to keep the field free from development as it provides a green lung linking the woods above the field to the residential area below. It’s an area rich in wildlife with deer, badgers, voles and slow worms all inhabiting the geologically significant site. A plan to build homes on the sloping field was eventually dropped when the new council leader Kevin Guy took his oath of office this year but he has admitted some form of development is still possible. For details of the campaign visit

Creating a buzz 1: The Shadow Environment Secretary Luke Pollard met Dave Roberts and fellow beekeepers in Radstock last month with West of England Metro Mayor Dan Norris to discuss the problems of the honey gathering industry. They urged consumers to buy locally produced honey to fight the ‘foreign honey fraudsters’ who add sugar syrup to their product and flood the market with cheaper low quality honey.

Creating a buzz 2: Avon Wildlife Trust has welcomed the news that the granting an emergency authorisation for the use of a banned neonicotinoid on sugar beet has been refused. Tests have found that the level of virus infection forecast is 8.37%, which is not enough to meet the threshold for the use of the neonicotinoid, thiamethoxam, to combat the virus which affects sugar beet.

Creating a buzz 3: A reminder that St John The Evangelist Roman Catholic Church in South Parade has taken delivery of four bee hives on the bank of the river, near Our Lady’s Garden. The Church said it is an experiment to see if the colonies would settle there and they were far enough away from the public to cause any stinging issues.

Creating a buzz 4: If you are interested in learning more about beekeeping visit the Bath Beekeeper’s website and help save the planet by encouraging bees and the pollination of plants:

Cat killer: Bath City Farm said they had suffered from vandalism again leading to their hens being let out of the coop. Some of their chickens were killed by a local cat causing considerable distress. They announced they are launching an appeal to raise £400 to secure the Feathered Friends enclosure with new fencing and a new gate. To donate to the fund to improve chicken security go to and put the words Feathered Friends in the message.Lane closure. Weston Lane near the RUH is closed until 22 September.

Bristol overflow: Up to 300 students in Bristol will be housed in Bath this term due to the numbers applying for University there.Planning controversy: The redevelopment of the former BMW and Mini showrooms on the Lower Bristol Road have been given the green light despite 70 objections. The plans are for more than 300 flats with accommodation for 335 students. Cllr June Player opposed the plans while Cllr Paul Crossley proposed the flats. Objections included ‘too much student accommodation already’ and a lack of parking.

For more on Bath visit

More news of Bath’s chic community in Bath Voice magazine – now out – or read online at


Sunflower power on West Avenue

Over 25 households on West Avenue, Oldfield Park, joined together in the street’s second annual sunflower growing competition, a project that originally started during last year’s lockdown to bring the community together.

This weekend, 22 August, saw the finale with Mayor of Bath, Councillor June Player measuring each entry independently. The winning plant reached a whopping 259cm!

Laura Tyrell was presented with the first prize: “I’ve been growing Siberian Giant sunflowers in the front garden since 2017 when there was a local project called Sunflower Power to plant a seed in memory of someone. Mine was in memory of David Bowie who died in 2016. I save some seeds every year and most of the sunflowers in the street are a legacy of that.

Resident Helen Cooke organised the competition and, inspired by Laura’s sunflowers, collected the seeds from her for the first competition last year.

Ms Cooke said: “We had such fun last year and wanted to do it again and raise some money for charity. Everyone paid £1 for their sunflower and the proceeds were split, with the winner receiving £20 and the Genesis Trust £32. People do get quite competitive and residents of all ages and abilities took part, you don’t need green fingers!”

Mayor June Player said: “This competition very much ties in with the Mayoral theme this year, which is ‘Keeping it Clean, Green and Friendly – Promoting Pride in our Community’. I’m delighted to have been invited to this weekend’s event as it was such a good fun, community one, especially as I was involved in the original Sunflower Power project that was part inspired by the Onboard Community Gardening Project I founded with Westmoreland residents at Oldfield Park Station.”

Hilary Long, Community and Events Manager at the Genesis Trust was there to accept the charity donation. She said: “Projects like this are so important for the community and really help support people’s health and wellbeing. The Genesis Trust furniture project has been part of the West Avenue community for many years. Now that the furniture shop has moved online, we’re still very much a part of the street and operate Bath Foodbank from the premises now.”

Participants are encouraged to save their seeds to plant next year and keep the sunflower legacy growing.

For more information about Genesis Trust’s Furniture Shop and Bath Foodbank, please visit


Rob Stanley

Crossing the road safely for 20 years – paying homage to school crossing patrol officers

Along with train drivers, footballers and pop stars, lollipop men and women (or school crossing patrol officers as they were first called) are the unsung heroes of school children and their parents.
Rob Stanley has been thanked by the Council for his work as a school crossing patrol officer in Widcombe last month where he has seen his young charges across the road for 20 years.
Edmund Knollys, Widcombe Schools’ PTA Chair said: “Encouraging more children and their parents and carers to walk, cycle or scoot is better for them, our city, and our planet, but it wouldn’t happen without walk to school initiatives and the dedication of school crossing patrols like Rob.”

A lollipop lady in London in the 1960s – complete with her baby in the pram

The first lollipop lady took up her role in 1937 – in Bath. Mrs Hunt may have been the first but it was London’s Dorothy Pummell for Barking Council who promoted the post as the number of road accidents involving children was horrifyingly high.
Then 90% of children walked to school, falling to around 50% today. Harry Mottram.

For more articles on Bath get Bath Voice magazine – out now in the city – and see the Facebook page for the monthly news magazine


BATH VOICE MAGAZINE: December’s Issue is out now with news of an appeal over a murder; plus the future of Bloomfield Green; The Gore’s fountain of hope; and what’s on in Bath this month

December’s Issue is out now at Waitrose and the Prior Park Garden Centre or you can read it online here:


Milsom Street closed for resurfacing

Road surfacing work is being carried out to further enhance the advance notice signage for the new bus gate at the junction of Milsom Street and George Street in Bath.

The road will be closed overnight on Monday November 30 for the work to be completed. Cameras that were installed at the junction were switched on at the end of October.

The vehicle restriction introduced by Bath & North East Somerset Council allows only buses to travel along the one-way Milsom Street up to the junction with Quiet Street between 10am and 6pm.

The junction is monitored by the automatic number plate recognition cameras (ANPR) in line with other bus gates in the city and enforced by issuing of fines, to make sure the zone is safe for pedestrians and cyclists.

Councillor Joanna Wright, joint cabinet member for Transport Services, said: “We are carrying out resurfacing works in Milsom Street on Monday 30th to bring it in line with the other bus gates. We are also adding additional warning signs at other locations to make drivers aware of the new bus gate. Please remember that any driver who disregards the restriction will now receive an automatic fine.”

For more on Bath visit

More news of Bath’s chic community in Bath Voice magazine – now out – or read online at


The Destructor Bridge in Bath is finally open to all

Bath Voice News in brief

River tragedy: Police confirmed in September the missing University student found in the river was Martin Bowers. In a statement they said: “We do not consider the circumstances to be suspicious and we’ll carry out further enquiries on behalf of the Coroner’s office.”
Green Flag Park: Five of Bath & North East Somerset Council’s parks have been recognised in this year’s Green Flag awards for meeting the highest quality standards used as an international benchmark. Alexandra Park, Bloomfield Green, Hedgemead Park, Henrietta Park and Royal Victoria Park have all won the international mark of quality for being well-managed.
Widcombe butcher: Larkhall Butchers are opening a new shop on Widcombe Parade this month. The traders are represented by Simon and Amanda Brown at Flamingos. Amanda said it meant the street had 100% occupancy which showed that local people had rediscovered local shopping. She said having the Larkhall Butcher open a store endorsed the community as a vibrant centre
Medals recovered: A collection of war medals stolen from a house in Bath nearly five years ago have been returned to their owner Leslie Waldron’ s daughter after they were recovered by police last month. Mr Waldron passed away late last year aged 82. They were eventually tracked down through auction records in Surrey and given to his family.
Oldfield Park pub’s refit: The Moorfields pub in Oldfield Park has reopened following £500,000 investment from Stonegate Pub Company and The Bath Pub Company. The pub serves food so hopefully remain open should the covid restrictions tighten. The manager is Paul Newson and the chef is Jack Scarterfield.

Access for vehicles at night at denied in Alexandra Park

Chemistry University winner: Dr Asel Sartbaeva a researcher from the University of Bath has won the ‘Emerging Technologies’ competition run by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), in recognition of her work making vaccines safer for children around the globe.
Annual Exhibition goes online: The Bath Society of Artists Annual Exhibition will be displayed online instead of the Victoria Art Gallery, which is currently closed due to Covid-19. The exhibition will be online from Monday 2 November 2020 to Sunday 3 January 2021 at
Park’s night closure: Alexandra Park’s night closure to vehicles is under review. It was closed to cars in October from 6pm-9am due to anti-social motorists misusing the circular park’s road at night. A community group said they are monitoring the situation on a daily basis ahead of a reopening.
Work starts on gardens: Work has started to revive Bath’s Sydney Gardens following funding boost from The National Lottery. Improvements will include a new large play area for all ages, improved tennis courts and a new Community Pavilion.
Student removed: A student has been removed from Beechen Cliff School after an “inappropriate” and “prejudicial” video was shared on social media last month using Snapchat.

A new butcher is open in Widcombe

Tennis winner: Ralph Allen School’s Grace Piper who won the prestigious tennis British Tour event in Taunton last weekend. The British Tour 2020 provides a circuit of tournaments designed to give up and coming players the opportunity to gain experience in their quest to become professional tennis players. More good news from the school Toby Osgood has got selected for the County Badminton team.
New superstructure: The next milestone in the creation of the first new crossing point to be installed across the River Avon in Bath for a century will be completed next month. The superstructure of Bath Quays Bridge, a 60m long steel bridge which will link Bath Quays North and South and provide a new route for pedestrians and cyclists, will be in place early this month.
Cameras to catch cars: Cameras for the temporary bus gate at the junction of Milsom Street and George Street in Bath have been switched on. The vehicle restriction allows only buses to travel along the one-way Milsom Street up to the junction with Quiet Street – 10am and 6pm.
Bridge repair in 2021: Work to repair Bath’s historic Cleveland Bridge is set to start in the spring/summer of 2021 following the approval of listed building consent by councillors. While the bridge has been routinely maintained over the years, a survey has shown it needs major repairs including the replacement of some of the major structural elements. The council applied for financial assistance from the Government through the Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund. The Department for Transport is contributing £3.5m to the repairs.

For more on Bath visit

More news of Bath’s chic community in Bath Voice magazine – now out – or read online at


Bath City Farm – 25 years on

One of Bath’s best kept secrets has celebrated a quarter of a century in existence.

It started as a dream but 25 years ago, on the 26th October 1995, a new City Farm was born in Bath following years of hard work and campaigning by a passionate group of local residents. More than two decades on and the charity, Bath City Farm, has helped to educate, improve well-being and transform the lives of thousands of people from across the city.
Last month the charity held a socially distanced birthday party for their animals, with cake, singing and games.

Helen Fisher, Farm Manager said: “I have been working at Bath City Farm since 2002 and these past few months have been extremely difficult for the farm, with periods of uncertainty caused by the financial impact of having to close. However, this week, thanks to the generosity of hundreds of supporters, we have reached the £50,000 shortfall we needed to keep the farm open.”

Last year, Bath City Farm transformed 950 people’s lives through a range of targeted projects in animal care, horticulture and catering. Seven per cent of these people went on to find employment, 25% re-engaged with training or education and 35% reduced their clinical mental health support or medication.

Some of the charity’s highlights over the past 25 years:
1991 – 1995 Local residents Mike and Sue Walker registered the farm as a charity on the 26th October 1995.
1995 Jonathan Dimbleby attends the charity’s AGM and becomes the farm’s first Patron.
1998 The first animals arrive – Six Soay sheep, thanks to Bath City Football Club with goats arriving five years later.
1999 The charity employs their first member of staff, Kathy Jordan, to run courses and a children’s club.
2005 TV show DIY SOS spends a week at the farm transforming the buildings.
2006 Pigs Molly and Maggie arrive. Author Dick King-Smith comes to the cut the ribbon at the opening and read from his latest book, the Sheep Pig, which was made into a film Babe.
2007 Toddler group Roots and Shoots opens and the charity’s first Animal Care and Horticulture courses start.
2010 The farm starts rearing its own chickens and guinea fowls.
2011 The café, The Trough, opens.
2012 The charity successfully applies for a large funding bid with the Lottery. This money was used to build a volunteer cabin and to recruit a Visitor and Volunteer Coordinator.
2020 The farm closes due to the outbreak of Covid-19, however supporters of the farm help the charity to raise £50,000 to keep the farm open. Staff at the farm cook and deliver thousands of meals to vulnerable members of the local community during lockdown and kept supporters and visitors in touch with life on the Farm via live animal feeding every Saturday morning on FB live.

More details of the farm’s activities and opening times at

For more on Quirky Bath visit

More news of Bath’s chic community in Bath Voice magazine – now out – or read online at


There are five fields in total – on a steep slope

An area seen as a green lung in Lyncombe is now being managed and improved by a group of Friends.

Lyncombe Hill Fields straddles the slopes below Beechen Cliff School and above Greenway Lane.

The site known for its wildlife, flowers and fauna will be managed under licence by the Friends of Lyncombe Hill Fields, a newly formed not-for-profit Community Interest Company (FLHF CIC) working with the Council.

With views across the valley and featuring many mature trees the ten acres of pasture land the fields lie just above Beechen Cliff and are crossed by footpaths making it a popular green space. The land is owned by Bath & North East Somerset Council and until 2018 was grazed by horses.

Cllr Alison Born, ward member for Widcombe & Lyncombe, said: “Lyncombe Hill Fields are a fantastic community resource and I’m delighted to see that the land is now going to be managed by the community for the benefit of the community. I am excited by the group’s improvement plans, which include encouraging great biodiversity on the land and improving access for walkers.”

Following the transfer to community management, work will get underway to clear debris from the land and cut back overgrowth before the winter sets in.

Maurice Tennenhaus, director of the Friends of Lyncombe Hill Fields said: “There is some hard work ahead of us, but we will hopefully reap the rewards with many years of pleasure for local residents and visitors, and huge benefits for wildlife. We are looking for volunteers to give us hand though, particularly over the autumn months in the run up to winter.”

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