Central Fountain, Laura Place, Bath
The fountain on Laura Place is a Grade II late 19th century structure situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It forms the centrepoint of the Grade I terraced junction of Laura Place and is a critical feature in long views between the Grade I Pulteney Bridge and Grade I Great Pulteney Street down to the Grade I Holburne Museum and associated Grade II Sydney Gardens. Whilst not part of the original plan, the fountain was later added by residents in 1877. The fountain was partially replaced in the 1970s following damage to the structure, but the stone bowl of the fountain remains original though in poor condition due to ongoing vehicular damage.
The Trust is supportive of the proposed repair works to stabilise the structure and ensure it can be brought back into continuous use as a water fountain. We maintain that the structure as existing is rather unsightly due to the extent of damage and missing stonework, and considering its prominent position in one of Bath’s most exceptional architectural set pieces and examples of Georgian town planning. We welcome the opportunity to conduct necessary repairs and reverse previous, detrimental works to the stonework.
However, considering the fountain’s central position on a busy junction, we feel it is inevitable that this sort of damage is to be anticipated in future and continues to pose a risk to the architectural and material integrity of a Grade II structure within the conservation area. The proposed conservation works offer a beneficial opportunity for more protective measures to mitigate further impact damage to the fountain and limit the need for future repair. Historic photographs from the 1890s up until as late as 1930 (see Bath in Time) show the fountain surrounded by bollards and planting. Proposals for the reinstatement of bollards of an appropriate scale and design could be considered here; alternatively, other more recessive defensive measures such as a reinforced kerb similar to that used along Cleveland Bridge could be considered. We suggest that Highways could be consulted regarding the safest and most efficient means of roadside infrastructure whilst remaining sensitive to its historic environment.