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21 April 2014
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Myths and Legends
Richard “Beau” Nash
© Courtesy of the Bridgeman Art Library
Beau Nash’s Bath

Throughout the Georgian period 1714 - 1830, Bath was the focal point of out-of-London social activity. Royalty, the aristocracy and commoners all bathed in the spa waters, which were made popular by the visit of Queen Anne in 1702. The population multiplied from 2,000 to 30,000 in just 100 years and Bath became the eighth largest city in England by 1801. The development of the spa town of Bath, can be essentially attributed to three men: Ralph Allen - Post Master, John Wood Snr - architect and Richard Beau Nash.

An Assembly House Ball
Beau Nash could organise the perfect ball
© Courtesy of the Bridgeman Art Library

Ralph Allen saved the Post Office 1,500,000 over a 40 year period, following his creation of a new postal system. This development netted him a large fortune. Although he had a beautiful Palladian Mansion built, "To see all Bath, and for all Bath to see", he was a benevolent man, giving money and the stone for the building of the Mineral Water Hospital in 1738.

He even built cottages for his masons working in the Bath Stone quarries he owned. Although the Mineral Water Hospital, with its warm spring-water spa, became one of the foremost national hospitals for treatment of rheumatic diseases, Bath’s reputation for the healthy spa waters ensured they were used for pleasure as well as for their healing properties.


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