"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln

Posted on September 6, 2019 by Sioux under General
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Our home for the next 2 days was a lovely little flatlet off the main house, with a stunning view of the garden. We arrived in the early evening, unpacked and just chilled.

 

We had an early morning start the next day, to get to the Roman Baths, in Bath, before the crowds descended, as I knew from my previous visit, just how full the place got!

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The Baths themselves are below the modern street level, and the water which bubbles up from the ground falls as rain in the nearby hills and streaming down through limestone aquifers to a depth of between 2,700 and 4,300m where geothermal energy raises the temperature to between 69 and 96 °C.

 

Under pressure, the heated water rises to the surface along fissures and faults in the limestone, at a rate of 1,170,000 litres each day, bubbling up into the King’s Bath, as it has been doing since the 12th century! Beneath the Kings Bath is a reservoir, built by Roman engineers, to channel the water from the main spring and two smaller springs, into the baths. The water of the baths is still at the Roman level.

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In 1810 when the hot springs seemed to have failed, the Hot Bath Spring was opened up to the bottom, where it was found that the spring had not failed but had flowed into a new channel. The original course was restored, and with that an increased flow which filled the baths faster than before.

For the Roman’s, bathing was not a private affair and public baths were not only for washing but also for entertainment,

healing or simply to get clean. The separate baths for men and women were used as a place to meet friends and while away any spare time. Large bath houses had restaurants games-rooms snack bars and even libraries. Other baths were very luxurious, and the average bath house would have mirrors covering the walls, ceilings buried in glass and the pools lined with rich marble and complicated mosaics covering the floors.

The thermal waters contain sodium,

calcium, chloride and sulphate ions

in high concentrations. The water

that flows through the Baths is

unsafe for consumption or bathing, partly due to its having passed

through the still-functioning original lead pipes, and up until World War II,

was advertised as being radioactive.

The more significant danger however, is infectious diseases. In 1978, a swimmer belonging to a local club, contracted meningitis and died, after using the restored Roman Bath which lead to the closure of the baths for several years.

 

A nearby Spa allows modern-day bathers to experience the waters via a series of more recently drilled boreholes.

The cathedral was unfortunately closed due to renovations, so from the baths, we wandered around the cobbled streets, and happened upon the Herschel Museum of Science and Astronomy.

The museum is a very ordinary looking place from the outside, and was filled with all sorts of quirky scientific items used for studying the stars.

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Image taken in July 2017, when I was previously in Bath. Greener trees, compared to the pic above, taken in October 2018! 

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A full-sized replica in brass and rosewood of Herschel’s seven-footer, and is fully functional.  The mirrors are made from polished speculum metals cast in horse dung – the same method used by Herschel himself!

Opened in 1981, the museum is in fact a preserved town house, which

was part of a terrace built around 1764-1770, and formerly the home of

William Herschel and his sister.

 

The 5-storey house was saved from demolition by a local couple and the museum opened exactly 200 years after Herchel’s discovery of the planet Uranus, using only a 7′ telescope, designed and built in his own workshop.

The music room

His discovery – made from the back garden of a modest Bath terrace – quickly doubled the size of the known universe.

These are known as pocket terrestrial and celestial globes, made in the latter part of the 18th century, they were used for demonstrations and scientific talks.

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An orrery, made in 1785, with the longest arm supporting Uranus and 2 of its moons. Orerys were used to show the order of the planets rotating around the sun. Not something that was easy to understand back then!

This eponymous brass Culpeper microscope was made in the early 18th century, and at the time was considered to be one of the finest scientific instruments around!

This wood & brass model demonstrates how a comet moves in an elliptical motion around the sun, according to Newton’s theory of gravity.

The kitchen and dining room as they would have looked at the time Herschel lived there

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We headed back to our cottage in the late afternoon, and decided on a dinner at a local pub, which was about 2kms away. The air was a crispy cold, but we decided to walk, enjoying the sounds of the countryside at night.

A fabulous dinner and a brisk walk back in the now very cold air saw the last day of my 50’s to a close.

Tomorrow I would celebrate being 60 by climbing to the top of a rather high hill!

The entire house has been restored and furnished in the style of the day.

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