Harry Mottram writes: It was a damp summer’s day when I popped into the recreation of a posh Georgian home to take in the ‘emersive experience’ complete with sounds and voices of the residents.
As part of the Bath Preservation Trust who also run the Herschel Museum of Astronomy, Number One Royal Crescent is essentially a museum which has been decorated and furnished just as it might have been during the period 1776-1796.
The rooms feature furniture, pictures and objects that reveal what life was like for Bath’s fashionable residents – both upstairs and downstairs – so the publicity goes. After paying the £15 entry fee and awaiting for the audio loop to restart in the parlour I entered the first of the rooms – which has a super view of the Royal Crescent from the window (and an even better one from the bedroom upstairs).
You have a choice of wandering into each room in succession and listening to the conversations of the imagined residents or moving from room to room at your own pace and either catching some of the audio conversations, or reading the notes – or indeed just soaking up the atmosphere.
The rooms are a delight and I secretly wanted to climb into one of the four poster beds, recline in the Gentleman’s Retreat and order a bottle of port from one of the maids or even demand to be allowed to live there permanently from the Trust since it has all mod cons. Revise that – no toilets for the Georgians – just chamber pots. Cancel the fantasy. (There are modern lavatories by the shop however.)
The conversations that echo round the rooms are rather amusing as there’s obviously something of a generation gap with the daughter of the household challenging her stuffy patriarch’s views on such things as the social order and even slavery which funded much of Georgian Bath. I half expected her to sit down and write a letter to Bath Voice to complain about such matters – but I could only imagine her doing so. (Pictured.) Those who kept the house ticking over are well represented in The Servants’ Hall and the Scullery ensuring we get a more rounded view of the inequalities of 18th century life in the city.
It was a rainy midweek day with very few visitors when I went which was a definite plus. Very enjoyable, slightly quirky which appealed and lots to take in. I was glad to finally have entered into the world (if only briefly) that Bath is so famous for.
There is more at https://no1royalcrescent.org.uk/
The photo of the young woman is from the museum.
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