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Springs, pipes, reservoirs and rates: historical water management in the city of Bath

Join this Water Innovation & Research Centre event on historical water management in the city of Bath, provided by Bath Record Office.

  • 24 Jun 2020, 1.15pm to 24 Jun 2020, 2.15pm BST (GMT +01:00)
  • This is an online event.
  • This event is free
Pulteney bridge and weir in Bath.
This talk will provide a tour of the city’s water supply records and their potential for research.

In 1921, Alderman Harry Hatt attested that, “there were few things .. giving … more anxious thought than the water supply.” Despite Bath’s reputation among visitors for its spa and fresh water supplies, the archives held by Bath Record Office reveal centuries of endeavour to provide the city with sufficient water. From a time when clean water was a luxury for the affluent to its acceptance as a basic right, the council – and private companies – navigated disease and disagreement, through parliament and the columns of newspapers towards safe supplies for all. Issues facing Bath in the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries parallel those in some parts of the world today; the council had to develop a water supply infrastructure to meet the needs of a quickly-expanding city, moving from limited and part-time supplies to providing constant clean water. Extensive administrative and operational archives documenting the city’s historic water management are currently being catalogued, making them easily accessible for the first time. This talk will provide a tour of the city’s water supply records and their potential for research.

The speakers include Lucy Powell and Drew Westerman (Bath Record Office: Archives and Local Studies, Bath and North East Somerset Council).

This event is organised virtually via Zoom. Please register via Eventbrite to receive a connection link on the day of the event.

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If you have any questions about this event, please don't hesitate to contact us.