1-2 Orange Grove, City Centre, Bath
1-2 Orange Grove forms part of a Grade II early 18th century “parade of shops” with upper floor accommodation, situated within the Bath conservation are and World Heritage Site. The row presents an unusually early survival of early 18th century architecture within Bath, considering its largely late 18th century – early 19th century redevelopment in the Georgian style. Its uniform frontage is attributed to alteration works in 1897 by CE Davis with a gabled roofline, scalloped first floor window reveals, and unusual ten-over-one sash windows. The result is a row distinctive in its designed homogeneity that offers a sharp contrast with Bath’s typical vernacular style and a Victorian insertion within the city centre, adjacent to the Grade II 1900s Empire Hotel.
BPT has some concerns regarding the invasive scale of the proposed engineering works to shore up the historic timber structure of the building, and we are surprised by the current condition of the building and the degree of structural instability, resulting in temporary propping being in place from 2015, considering its Grade II status. We reiterate our recommendations that listed buildings require regular ongoing maintenance in order to prevent smaller issues becoming serious problems in future, often resulting in the irreversible and detrimental loss of historic fabric.
We note the proposed fitting of a cavity membrane system within the vaults to deal with water ingress, but have some concerns regarding the absence of further information regarding the current condition of the vaults such as retained historic detailing or later modern interventions which would help assess the impact of the proposed works on the retained historic character and appearance of the vaults.
As part of the proposed repair/replacement of the external render to the north wall, the Heritage Statement concludes that “in both scenarios, waterproofing is considered a necessary measure to prevent deterioration of the structure in future.” It remains uncertain as to whether there are any waterproofing measures (clear sealants, etc.) proposed alongside the implementation of lime render repairs and we strongly recommend this is clarified with regards to selecting material works and treatments that work beneficially with the characteristics of the natural, breathable historic fabric.
We maintain that where possible, scaffolding should be freestanding to minimise the need to drill into the stonework of a primary elevation of a listed building. Should fixings be unavoidable, these should be limited to the mortar joints to minimise irreversible damage.