Circus Mansions, 36 Brock Street, City Centre, Bath
36 Brock Street is a Grade I mid-18th century terraced townhouse designed by John Wood the Elder, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It forms the immediate, adjoining context of the Grade I Circus, one of Bath’s monumental residential constructions with intentional sightlines to the Royal Crescent via Brock Street and down into the city centre via Gay Street, and remains a grand example of the Georgian Town Planning and Georgian Architecture, attributes recognised as of Outstanding Universal Value.
The porch entrance to the dwelling, whilst located on Brock Street, does form a defined entrance onto the Circus as viewed adjacent to the porch entrance at 1 Brock Street. This type of defining entryway through the use of ‘side’ entrances is also present on the north-eastern entrance onto the Circus via Bennett Street. In both of these cases, the joinery finish typically matches the cohesive joinery treatment across the Circus, in which all doors are painted a uniform white colour to ensure a uniform appearance across this significant Grade I assemblage. Both properties at Nos. 1 & 36 Brock Street follow this pattern with the use of white-painted doors, with the intention of marking the beginning of the Circus. There is a greater variety of joinery colours and finishes further along Brock Street where this is read as a separate, albeit interconnected, streetscape to the Circus.
The proposed use of a “Studio Green” colour would sit appropriately against the established Bath stone colour palette of the area. The use of a more subdued ‘heritage’ colour would complement the listed building and its natural material finish, allowing for a more harmonious appearance.
Nonetheless, given the specific context of this building as part of a critical setpiece within the World Heritage Site, we question whether it would be more appropriate for the front door to be finished in an appropriate white colour. The Circus has maintained a strong visual consistency in keeping with its legibility as a single collective structure, in which “the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts [World Heritage Site Management Plan]”. No. 36 is currently considered to visually form part of this ensemble as part of a defining gateway into the Circus, and as such a matching joinery finish would help to sustain and strengthen this sense of visual uniformity. Where the use of a white-painted finish is considered to be acceptable, we recommend that an appropriate sample is selected and advise against the use of an overly bright white paint such as “pure white” or “brilliant white”.