Basement Flat 1, 30 Henrietta Street, Bathwick
30 Henrietta Street forms part of a Grade I Georgian terrace 20-35 Henrietta Street by Thomas Baldwin, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It faces onto 6-19 Henrietta Street, which is also Grade I listed and contemporary in design and age, whilst backing onto Henrietta Mews and providing wide, unobscured views across the terrace’s backland elevation. As part of an “incomplete, truncated terrace”, it forms part of the unfinished, speculative Georgian development of the Pulteney Estate, and is therefore a significant evidential aspect of the Georgian Town Planning and Georgian Architecture OUV of the World Heritage Site. It possesses strong group value as part of a “monumental ensemble[s]” of interconnecting, grandly articulated terraces. 30 Henrietta Street has since been subdivided internally to provide multiple residential apartments in the late 20th century, although these works have not extended to the conversion of the sub-basement, which, whilst described as “dilapidated”, retains its historic appearance and character as an area in which a narrative of material historic change can be clearly identified, such as in the addition of a vaulted ceiling.
We acknowledge there are some structural issues relating to rotten floor joists in the basement and encourage necessary stabilisation works.
However, the Trust is resistant in principle to the conversion of historic basements, cellars, and vaults to provide residential or domestic spaces. Typically, these areas retain a largely unaltered appearance that is historically, architecturally, and evidentially significant and associated with the historic function and use of the main dwelling. BPT maintains that these areas, due to expected levels of damp and poor air quality, are not considered suitable for domestic usage, and should have an ancillary function only as a store room or utility space that requires minimal interventions into the historic fabric.
Therefore, we feel that the proposed residential function of the sub-basement would be inappropriate in principle unless proven otherwise. The space is not suitable for modern standards of living, with poor outlook, natural light, and passive ventilation, without material intervention at the detriment to the largely unchanged historic appearance and atmosphere of the sub-basement.
Whilst more sympathetic measures such as lime plaster application can reduce levels or damp, this does not guarantee that the basement would be a damp-free space suitable for human habitation and we remain concerned that conversion would prompt the use of more visually intrusive dampproofing measures.
The Trust is supportive of proposals for the repurposing of vacant historic buildings and spaces within the city centre to ensure their continued use and associated maintenance. However, we maintain that the sub-basement is not fit for residential conversion and would therefore encourage its use as an ancillary storage space.