Imagine stepping through a door that will take you back in time. Where would you go? What would you see? Well, on the 21st June 2013 that is exactly what you will be able to do at No.1, The Royal Crescent.
Historical Honey was recently invited to take a tour of the museum, now in its final stages of refurbishment, before it re-opens to the public in June. We got an exclusive sneak peak of the No.1 – in both name and reputation – tourist destination in Bath, and we can truly say it was like being transported back into yesteryear…
The stunning Royal Crescent; a wonderful example of Georgian architecture.
If you don’t know much about Bath, you may be surprised to know that it is a World Heritage Site. This is due to the fact that it has an abundance of Georgian architecture.
You may in fact recognise it, and especially the Royal Crescent, from just about every single period drama ever filmed for TV. I grew up here, and despite the May rain and having seen it many times before, it still looked pretty magnificent.
And So My Tour Begins…
With the help of some friendly builders I managed to locate the new entrance to the building and was quickly welcomed in out of the stormy weather. Walking into the new entrance hall, I could clearly see where some of the Heritage Lottery Funding was spent. It is a beautiful space, which opens right up to the roof; with bare brick walls giving a glimpse of the historic architecture. Apparently this part of the house used to be an open courtyard, which is why it has been kept so open and full of light.
The reason behind the funding of No.1 was to be able to buy and restore the adjoining property, No.1a, which was the original servants’ quarters of the main house. Joining these properties together meant that the museum now has twice as many rooms, which includes; a new exhibition space, a learning centre, a Georgian shop and one of the best examples of a Georgian servant’s wing in the UK!
The museum was also able to update and transform the rooms of the house. Each room has its own unique style which was meticulously researched by archivists – aka style archaeologists. The archivists look back through the layers of wall paint and recreate the original colours. They also researched all the wallpaper and carpet designs from original Georgian patterns hidden in the archives. Surprisingly, they are all very colourful; if not a little garish. The colour combinations are striking but also leave you wondering – what an earth were those Georgians thinking!?
That said, you can’t argue that it isn’t authentic, and halfway through my visit I began to imagine myself wandering around the halls in full Georgian dress. (Please note that prancing around historic buildings in full costume is a pretty regular occurrence whenever the Honey Team leave HQ!)
What the Royal Crescent would have looked like in days gone by…
What has been a building site in recent months is slowing creeping towards transformation into a real house again. From the people in the hallway hanging pictures, to the furniture waiting to be moved back to its rightful place; the dust-sheets are eagerly anticipating their removal and the shutters are clamouring to be opened. A past is literally coming back to life. I can’t wait to go back for the opening and see it fully restored to its Georgian grandeur… now where’s that dress?