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Food/Arts/Entertainment/Shopping/Property @BathLifeMag






‘First Kiss’, by Victoria Topping



A N D ! WA R L E I G H W E I R / T H E C H E Q U E R S / A C A R D B OA R D S E AG U L L


ABOVE: How much is that doggy in

the window? (p34); BELOW: We’re sure that wine bottle just inched a little closer (p54)


’ve taken up painting again: I do quite a good cartoon dog, and a passable superhero pastiche; I’m experimenting with my takes on Sean Scully (easy) and Mark Rothko (even easier) too.* And my puffins and parrots are legendary. No matter your ability level – and I don’t lie to myself; I’m no Leonardo, unless you mean the Ninja Turtle – art’s good for you in many ways. It’s calming; it teaches risk taking and problem solving; it develops hand-to-eye coordination and self-expression; it supports your emotional intelligence. Plus, it regularly saves you £3.99 on birthday cards, if you can just put aside a free hour or so. “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life,” Pablo Picasso once said – and I’d trust him on that. (I wouldn’t trust him with many other things – girlfriends especially – but that, I’ll give him.) A study of a couple of years ago found that GPs prescribing arts activities could cause a significant drop in hospital admissions, the suggestion being

that creativity is therapeutic, whatever your mental state. All good reasons to pick up a pencil, pen or brush, then – and get cracking. For inspiration – and it’s certainly given me some – you could do worse than check out some of Bath’s resident artists, many of whom do amazing work (and at surprisingly affordable price points, too). We meet local cover artist Victoria Topping this issue, starting on page 28; her giant, musicinspired collages are as exciting as the best film posters (but more intriguing), and the other Bath-based artists we talk to aren’t exactly shabby either. Elsewhere we explore creativity in other ways: through knock-out gardens (page 72), highly individual interior design (page 98), and spectacular Bath offices (page 74) so worker-friendly they inspire great things of us day-to-day drones too. We all benefit from stretching our imaginations, after all – be that through cartooning or cooking, decorating or dancing, singing or stitching, or simply doing smart work on the nine-till-five. Whatever you turn your hand to, the results needn’t be perfect to have purpose. *I mean to do a bad ‘inspired by’ copy, of course!

MATT BIELBY Follow us on Twitter @BathLifeMag Instagram @bathlifemag I BATH LIFE I 3

Issue 399 / August 30 – September 13 2019 COVER ‘First Kiss’ by Victoria Topping


28 ART EXPLOSION Get to know some of the artists,

gallerists and curators that make Bath’s art scene great


27 ARTS INTRO Pete the Street’s millenium cityscape 36 WHAT’S ON Art, shows, family outings and a preview of

the 19th Jane Austen Festival

43 THEATRE The play was better: Anna on adaptations


45 FOOD & DRINK NEWS Drink with a diamond, and eat

with the stars of Bath Rugby

46 RECIPE Japanese noodles with Shimeji mushrooms

and Goma Ae

48 RESTAURANT Pub meets fine dining at The Chequers


53 INTRO Make a friend! (Some assembly required) 54 EDITOR’S CHOICE Welcome to the jungle

LIFESTYLE 57 63 65 68 72

SPAS Relaxation 101 HEALTH & BEAUTY Ané goes for a massage HAIR Beating salon phobia for a great cut WARLEIGH WEIR The epitome of a summer day out GARDENS Troy Scott Smith has big plans for the



amazing gardens at Iford Manor


74 COOL OFFICES Too cool, really 83 BATHWORKS From ethical activewear to men’s beauty,

we’ve got some exciting new names in Bath business


95 SHOWCASE A new build of rare quality 98 RESIDENCE A very individual take on glamour



Editor Matt Bielby Deputy Editor Lydia Tewkesbury Managing Editor Deri Robins deri.robins@mediaclash. Senior Art Editor Andrew Richmond Graphic Design Megan Allison Cover Design Trevor Gilham Editor’s Photo Damon Charles Contributors Ané Auret, David Flatman, Wendy Lyne, Paul Marland, Harriet Noble, Anna O’Callaghan, Matilda Walton and Nick Woodhouse Group Advertising Manager Pat White Deputy Advertising Manager Justine Walker Deputy Advertising Manager Polly Jackson Account Manager Annabel North Sales Executive Louis Grey Production/Distribution Manager Sarah Kingston sarah.kingston@mediaclash. Deputy Production Manager Kirstie Howe Production Designer Matt Gynn Chief Executive Jane Ingham jane. Chief Executive Greg Ingham Bath Life MediaClash, Circus Mews House, Circus Mews, Bath BA1 2PW 01225 475800 @The MediaClash © All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without written permission of MediaClash. We’re a Bath-based publisher, creative agency and event organiser Magazines Our portfolio of regional magazines celebrates the best of local living: Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter. We also publish foodie mag Crumbs (, @CrumbsMag). Agency From the design and build of websites to digital marketing and creating company magazines, we can help. Events We create, market, promote and operate a wide variety of events both for MediaClash and our clients Contact:


SPOTLIGHT Heritage open days

BACK IN TIME Many places of historical significance will be opening their doors to the public as part of the Heritage Open Days project this month. These open days are a great opportunity to visit some fascinating properties entirely for free. We’re pretty spoilt for choice when it comes to places of historical note, so it’s no surprise that there are plenty of options. Touring

behind-the-scenes of the building works at the Abbey, participating in a salon discussion at the British Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, visiting the Bath Jewish Burial Ground and glimpsing into the restoration work taking place at The Cleveland Pools, are only a few of the experiences on offer. For more:

Murray the Harris hawk

Pest control

Well, you should! Murray’s a five-year-old Harris hawk, who’s been tasked with keeping the city’s seagulls at bay. Murray, who was especially bred for the job, doesn’t eat the gulls – he’d be a very fat hawk if he did – but only scares them away from the roofs where they’ve been causing problems. Harris hawks aren’t native to the UK, so gulls will scatter away from what they see as a mystery predator. “At this time of year the gulls are not in their breeding phase, so our falconry flights are part of the continued effort to keep numbers down by deterring gulls from settling on roofs,” explains Councillor Paul Crossley. “A survey we have commissioned tells us that the gull population has decreased in Bath, and I would like to reassure residents that we are doing our utmost to continue this trend.” For more:



Go behind the scenes at both Cleveland Pools and Bath Abbey

Eco-friendly living

SHUT UP AND DRIVE Would you consider ditching your car to help the environment? We’re not suggesting you never drive again, however – at least, not if you live in Frome. Co-wheels is Frome’s very own community car club. Basically, it’s a car rental service, where residents can hire a car as and when they need one, rather than having their own vehicle. Simple to use with insurance and fuel included and no deposit necessary, it’s a great, low-cost alternative to car ownership. One shared car can keep up to 15 others off the road, so it’s certainly worth considering. For more:

Sharing is caring I BATH LIFE I 7


Nature is the best remedy



Are still upset you missed the Goop Summit? That’s okay – we’ve got the next best thing, and the tickets won’t set you back £1,000. VERVE, a stylish new wellness festival, is taking place on 7-8 September. With yoga, woodland exercise classes, an off-grid spa and speakers on everything from sleep and kindness to relationships, VERVE, launched by luxury hotel and travel expert Anna Hayward, hits the wellness spot.

“According to the Global Wellness Summit 2019, one of the biggest wellness trends of 2019 is prescribing nature,” Anna says. “This is the cornerstone of VERVE Festival. All classes and activities will centre on nature for health. For example: farm runs, workouts in the woods, meditation and tree talks in the ancient woodlands. We’re also big fans of using local materials, and are working with local suppliers and partners throughout. The vast majority of our food, drink and boutique stall-holders come from the West Country.” Book at 10% off if you use code BATHLIFE at checkout.



Dorothy House Hospice Care invites you to take part in their Hospice Care Hero Walk on 7 September. Don your Iron Man helmet, Wolverine claws or Jessica Jones jeans – or channel whichever superhero happens to be your favourite – then pick the one, five or 10-kilometre walk around the beautiful countryside of Bath Spa University. Herothemed fun zones mark the path, including a music zone, ‘frozone’ – complete with snow machine – and bubble zone, amongst others. “Signing up for the Hero Walk will help us fund vital patient care for more people, as the Hospice aims to double its patient numbers by 2025,” says Emily Knight, event fundraiser at Dorothy House. “The walk is a fantastic way to celebrate all the heroes involved with Dorothy House, such as our patients, family members, carers, fundraisers, nurses, staff and volunteers.” For more: www. hospicecareheroes. The Incredibles, watch out!


The Dogist: a top film at the fest (it’s worth checking out too)



You don’t have to hang around Bath long to realise we are a city of dog lovers. So a film festival filled with canine-inspired short films? Yep, right up our alley. The Top Dog Film Festival tour stops off at Komedia in October with a series of pooch-fuelled films that are moving, uplifting and inspiring. “Humans and dogs share a precious, heart-warming bond, and this brand-new collection of films celebrates the canine companions that enrich our lives,” says tour director Nell Teasdale. “Whether you’re a dog owner or just like dogs, these films are guaranteed to make you laugh, cry and fall in love with man’s best friend all over again.” For more:


Paul Bowring of Bath Gin Kartini Sutoto and Alison Curtis

Alex Bacon Graham Street and Amanda Dow


John Davies and Simon Holdsworth

“Tonight is not just about celebrating our awards, it’s about thanking all our amazing clients who have supported our business growth in the past year,” said Helen Rich, CEO of Taste of Bath, at her recent annual celebratory event at The Botanist. There was plenty for the artisan gift box business to celebrate, with an amazing year of 300% growth, a Bath Life Award and a fruitful partnership with charity FareShare South West, which has seen Taste of Bath provide over 3,000 meals across the South West for those in need. Guests were served up food by no fewer than 12 of Taste of Bath’s local partners, and left with a goodie bag full of the delicious local snacks Taste of Bath uses in its gift boxes. Photos by Marc Le Galle; Continued over page

Helen Rich and her Taste of Bath food producers

Bob Mytton, Alison Woodhead and Sophie Williams I BATH LIFE I 13


Lauren Prince, Hollie Markham and Amy Grant

Laura Taylor, Jonny Hall and Natalie Betts

Stephanie Dodd and Greg Ingham

Paul Stewart of Megs Cottage Fudge

Michael Musgrave and Ed Grobler

Leyla Tugwell, Paul Noakes and Kelly Rose

Luke Watson, Karen Sherwin, David Hill and Alison Treble A line-up of amazing-looking Taste of Bath hampers


Nicola Bullivent, Alison Woodhead and Sam Laite


Lydia and Marcus Arundell

Nicki Portman and Lorri Newton

Carole Banwell and Katja Kammerer


Claire Rendall and Peter Stewart

One of the best spots for Indian food in Bath, The Mint Room recently launched their brand new menu with a party. Clients, friends and invited guests spilled out of the restaurant onto its new-look Piper Heidsieck terrace to enjoy a whole bunch of menu tasters, like king prawns marinated with yoghurt, fresh chillies, dill and wholegrain mustard, and spiced paneer stuffed with homemade fig chutney, before moving onto testing some of The Mint Room’s famous curries. It’s fair to say we’re jealous. Photos by Paolo Ferla

Abbie May and Dan Curtis Marcus Whittington, Chris Sutoto-Haywood and James Portman

Mohan Shanmugam, Cheung Chan and Moe Rahman Loraine Morgan Brinkhurst and Nick Steel


Natalie Green and Jacqueline Bailey

Pippa Russell and Bill Vasilieff

The gang’s all here: Colin Barrett, Tim Warren, Cherry Beath, Will Sandry, Martin Veal, Cllr Andrew Furze, Cllr Eleanor Jackson, Ian Gilchrist, Les Kew, Charles Gerrish, John Bull, Marie Longstaff, Barry Macrae and Francine Haeberling


Some of our longest serving Bath and North East Somerset Councillors were celebrated in a public service at The Guildhall. Twelve former Councillors were named Honorary Alderman and Alderwoman by Councillor Eleanor Jackson, chair of Bath and North East Somerset Council. Scrolls and ceremonial pendants were presented to the dedicated group before a celebratory reception for the recipients and their guests.

Ashley Ayre, Cllr Andrew Furze, Cllr Eleanor Jackson and Les Kew

Cllr Andrew Furze, Cllr Eleanor Jackson and Tim Warren


Chocolate and wine – our two favourite things! – came together for one magical evening at The Drawing Rooms. Tracy Arden Chapman, owner of Chocolate Voyage, Master of Chocolate, judge for the International Chocolate Awards and self-proclaimed ‘chocophile’ (we believe her) hosted a guided tasting of bars made from cocoa beans from Vietnam, Jamaica, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru and Togo. Novel Wines were on hand for pairings, with combinations of Brazilian pinot noir and the 72% cocoa Ecuadorian chocolate, and a German Riesling with the 75% cocoa from Jamaica, particularly strong hits with the guests. Photos by Victoria Evitts

The important part: the tasting


Julia Perry and Lexi Learmond Kim Majkut, Simon Rollings and Lisa Solovieva

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A place in the sun This summer started so well, but of late has been less than satisfactory. So should Flats actually buckle, and take the brood abroad?



“Does ‘all-inclusive’ translate to ‘allawful’? I just don’t know”

tap these words into my machine from South Devon, where the hills are rolling and the cream is clotted, where the seas are blue and the cows are smiling. Also, as it happens, where it’s peeing down. As mentioned before in these pages, I love to come here for as long as I possibly can every summer, but the bizarre weather conditions this time have effectively forced me to acknowledge that whole ‘we must head abroad if we want guaranteed weather’ thing that many more tanned than I feel obliged to mention whenever that hairdresser-esque holiday chat comes about. Now there will be some among your reading number who claim that I, as a pilot of a ridiculously big 4x4, am to blame for this, but I read an article in The Guardian once that said it was actually more the fault of said grinning cows farting like nobody’s watching, so I’m sticking with that. But the unavoidable truth is that it has rained and been dangerously windy for roughly half of this extended break. That means no untying of the boat, no wetsuitfree six-hour beach sessions, no inflatable Ringo rides, and no end-of-a-long-day ice creams. No, the children and I sit and watch the rain and alternate between card games and Netflix. Devon has never let me down like this before, and I feel offended. And, despite being a reasonably stubborn old gorilla, I’ve buckled. I’ve decided to go abroad next summer. I know that most of you lot do this anyway – and that it’s good for kids to see different places – but I’ve often left

it to the children’s grandparents (who have places abroad) and their mummy (I’m always working in half-terms) to do the job for me. Now, though, we’re going global. Having put this to the girls, their respective replies were: “Can I bring my friends from school?” and “Can we go to LA and then to Barbados?” So I’m screwed from the start. Last week I was working in London and, on the way back, scooped up two of my daughters’ schoolmates and brought them back to Devon for a few days of fun. I also collected another small child from a mate already down here, and had five girls on my own for a few days. Piece of cake. But that’s set the standard now, and I’m buggered if I’m taking a whole under-9s netball team to Beverly Hills. And Beverly Hills? Nope, we’re going all inclusive to Lanzarote. Actually we’re not. I don’t quite know where to go. The girls quite like feta cheese so have decided that Greece is probably as good as LA in real terms, so I’ll go with that. But I’ve only ever been there on LADS LADS LADS holidays, so have no idea quite what to look for. Are ‘children’s resorts’ all as grim as hell? Does ‘all inclusive’ translate to ‘all-awful’? I just don’t know. Please do send any recommendations to the crew at Bath Life, as this is new territory for this creature of habit. Oh, and it’s okay to put the kids in economy and myself in World Traveller Plus, right? All advice welcomed. David Flatman is an ex-Bath and England rugby star turned TV pundit and rent-o-mic. Follow him on Twitter @davidflatman I BATH LIFE I 21


LET’S ALL MEET UP IN the YeAR 2000 And if we had, this is what we would have seen, with soft golden light illuminating Bath at the dawn of the millennium. The city is sleeping – probably hung over – and a strange quiet rests over the usually bustling streets. Such was the scene Peter Brown – better known as Pete the Street – captured in this spectacular painting, commissioned by Bath resident Julia Marshman to celebrate the 21st century’s arrival. Squint for the changes: this is Bath before the redevelopment of Southgate, and the bus station move. Offering a precious little time capsule of the city, a limited run of 2,000 prints of this image were sold at the time, while three of the preparatory studies Pete did before the final painting are still housed in Museum of Bath Architecture. Well, guess what? This stunning piece is soon to be up for sale at Gardiner Houlgate’s antiques and art auction on 26 September, out in Corsham. A relatively early painting in Pete’s career, it’s in his trademark French impressionist/post-impressionist style, and is expected to sell somewhere around the region of £8,000-£12,000 – actually a very good price for a Pete the Street original. Peter Brown’s Bath cityscape will be available for a public viewing from 23-25 September, from 9am to 5.30pm, and on the day of the sale. The auction takes place on 26 September from 11am at Gardiner Houlgate, 9 Leafield Way, Corsham, Wiltshire, SN13 9SW; I BATH LIFE I 27

Groove is in the art Victoria Topping, one of Bath’s most exciting working artists, captures the electrifying thrill of music through her vast pieces, part collage, part painting, all energy. And she’s just the tip of a veritable iceberg of local artistic talent… By Matt Bielby

BATH ARTISTS 2019 Victoria at work with (LEFT) one recent piece, ‘Mother Nature’


ath is awash with highly talented painters and more, working in all mediums and often selling to an international audience. Many of them are based in places like Bath Artists Studios, an educational charity just off the Upper Bristol Road, where 50 or 60 of them teach, learn, and develop their work. A fair number, too, are represented by Modern ArtBuyer, a local online gallery selling amazing, surprisingly affordable pieces. Run by Jessica and Adam Lloyd-Smith, the work here starts at well under £200. For our money, though, one of the most exciting – and certainly most in-your-face striking – of the current local talent is Victoria Topping, whose large, bright, often music-inspired pieces have all the immediacy of the best poster artwork, but with additional levels of detail and, frankly, weirdness.

“Victoria’s work is proving incredibly popular,” says Jessica of Modern ArtBuyer. “She’s abundantly creative, with new pieces and ideas taking shape all the time, and though it might not be immediately clear, her works are very personal to her. For instance, her latest print, ‘Mother Nature’, incorporates images of flowers that she recently planted in her garden with her daughter.” Victoria studied Illustration at UWE in Bristol, and got into running soul nights in that city about 10 years ago, soon starting to design posters for the events. “Through that I was asked to do posters for other nights,” she says, “which led to designing record sleeves for various labels, something that I’m still doing now, for On the Corner Records. I began selling my own pieces about three years ago, both through my own online shop and various galleries, including Jessica’s locally-based Modern ArtBuyer, and I haven’t looked back since.” I BATH LIFE I 29


ABOVE: Victoria in her studio, a space awash with colour; ABOVE RIGHT: the striking ‘Cosmic Elements’

Not surprisingly, the work is heavily influenced by music, from the styling and art direction of 1970s jazz and soul to, she says, “the passion and ebullience of gospel and disco.” The idea is to distill the vibrancy of music into a ‘music for the eyes’. “More broadly, I aim to impregnate my work with its own unique soul,” Victoria says, “through harnessing a blend of spirituality, culture, the cosmos and Mother Earth.” Now based in Bath, where she’s been since 2016 – “I like the pace of life here; it’s much easier than other cities I’ve lived in, like London, Berlin or Bristol” – she works out of the inspirational Bath Artists Studios off the Upper Bristol Road. “It’s great to be in a studio complex with such varied, talented artists,” she says, “ranging from sculptors to potters, painters to photographers. Personally, I use a whole host of techniques to create my digital collages, including painting, photography and drawing directly into my iPad. Once I’ve taken everything onto my computer and worked up the image on Illustrator, I then work back into my prints – which I print myself – using gold leaf, crystals and various other materials.”

It seems it doesn’t really matter where you are physically in the art world any more, Victoria says; apps like Instagram provide a platform that allows you to sell pieces internationally. “I’ve developed relationships with artists, galleries and clients in every corner of the planet,” Victoria says. “I’ve just got back from a solo show in Ibiza, which came about after the cultural director of ME Hotels had seen my work on a record sleeve.” Not that everything’s always rosy in the art world. “A frustrating thing, with illustration particularly, is the number of companies that expect artists to work for free for the ‘exposure’. But nobody expects an accountant to work for free, and ‘exposure’ doesn’t put food on the table.” Speaking of food, the annual Bath Artists Studios Open Studios runs on the weekend of 27-29 September. There’ll be a pizza bike, live music and a bar on the Friday, and Victoria will be offering special discounted prints. “We’re the longest standing studio complex in Bath, and you’ll get to meet some really amazing artists, all under one roof,” she says. “Do come along!” n

WHEN SHE’S NOT WORKING, you might find Victoria at her

For more,;;

allotment below Victoria Park, just across the road from the studio, where, she says, she’s currently “heavily into cucamelons, the Mexican fruit that looks like a miniature watermelon but tastes like a cucumber.”


Got a taste for art? There’s more over the page…


YOU MUST CREATE HATTY BUTLER In Hatty’s vivid, energetic portraits you can see the influence of artists like Lucian Freud and Frank Auerbach – “Freud’s mark-making and Auerbach’s tactile layers of paint are truly inspiring,” she says – and her pieces tend to combine both very precise areas with others that are more loose and free. She works in thick, malleable oils, sometimes incorporating spray paint and pastels to give things even more of a tactile, three-dimensional feel. From her quiet, rural studio – “I often get lost for hours, painting in my own little bubble” – she’s developed a style that’s become increasingly daring and contemporary, pushing herself to discover new techniques and subject matter. “My portraits are not about the face alone,” she says, “but question the emotions and experiences behind it. I’m passionate about celebrating unique and interesting people, embracing those who may normally be criticised or overlooked for being ‘different’. We live in a society where the abnormal is laughed at, and my aim is to alter these views.” Jessica from Modern ArtBuyer says: “I spotted Hatty’s work at her Bath Spa Uni Degree Show, and instantly knew I wanted to work with her. Though she’s a fairly recent graduate, she has a mature approach, trying new methods and searching for inspiration all the time. I took her energetic portraits to a big London art fair last autumn and she proved an instant hit.” For more,


Paul started out as a graphic designer, but, he says, “As graphics became increasingly detached from print itself, I wanted to go in the opposite direction. Putting real ink on real paper, and engaging with the materiality of print, became important to me.” This said, the Modernist feel of his work definitely came from the clarity, precision and playfulness of graphic design. “There are so many influences, of course: Ben Nicholson, Sonia Delaunay, Ellsworth Kelly, Max Bill. It’s a mix of austere abstract painters and quite decorative designers; work which projects positivism. Those that know me would say I’m quite sardonic, cynical even, so I guess I make work which surprises even myself, in that it’s quite light and decorative. In these troubled times I think this might be necessary. I try to avoid the temptation to make ‘pictures’ of any kind; the pieces are more


Four more of our favourite Bath-based artists, all very different, all with very different stories to tell, and all worth checking out

like instrumental music. Even the titles, which always come later, are chosen for their sound rather than their sense.” Paul works on a studio a farm near Trowbridge, in an old industrial kitchen, using vector software and digital lasercutting to prepare thin plastic elements, which are then individually glued, inked up as flat as possible, then positioned on an etching press. “It’s only really possible to make one print of each,” he says, “so it’s rather like cooking – hours of prep, five minutes of pleasure, then another hour of cleaning up!” Jessica from Modern ArtBuyer says: “Paul’s passion for balance, colour and an element of wit are very infectious. Having watched him working, I have grown to love the simple pleasure of flat ink perfectly placed on paper as much as he does!” For more,

“My portraits are not about the face alone, but question the emotions and experiences behind it” IONE PARKIN

Ione Parkin RWA is an abstract painter who exhibits nationally and internationally; for the past 30 years she’s been based in Bath, her studio a former upholstery workshop to the rear of Bath Artist Printmakers in Larkhall. “I’ve always been inspired by the interconnectedness and diversity of the natural world,” she says, “and this theme can be traced from my early landscaperelated work through to my current interests in astronomy and art-science dialogue.” She creates large-scale images in oils and synthetic resin on canvas, expressing her fascination with cosmic phenomena, from massive clouds of cosmic dust and gas to the creation of the universe. Then there are her textured, mixed-media works on paper, inspired by planetary surfaces, “like geological samples of distant worlds.” Since 2016, she’s been co-lead of an art/science project which has seen her engage with astrophysicists, cosmologists and

planetary geologists from assorted institutions; the art that’s come from this has been exhibited everywhere from the Zeiss-Grossplanetarium in Berlin to Leicester’s National Space Centre. On 5 September she’ll be talking about her art at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. Jessica from Modern ArtBuyer says: “The simple fact that Ione Parkin has been elected as a member of the RWA speaks for itself. She fully understands the story she wants to tell with her work, as well as the media through which she is communicating; her paintings are mesmerising.” For more,


Though she’s always loved working with her hands, it wasn’t until Kelly and her husband moved from the United States to Germany in 2011 that she was able to focus on her art. “I’m a big believer in the power of learning to help achieve a dream,” she says, “so through two international moves I’ve pursued an art education, and am now completing an MA in Fine Art at Bath Spa University.” Her work explores themes like vulnerability and resilience through materials that, she says, she’s chosen specifically for their fragility and propensity to fail. “Paper has long attracted me to its paradoxical qualities of ephemeral strength,” she says. “When manipulated in seemingly destructive ways – scoring, burning, stitching, tearing, repairing – what emerges is more interesting than the original form. I am interested in how materials can transform and reinvent themselves into something new.” Jessica from Modern ArtBuyer says: “Kelly is a delight to work with. She is very driven, constantly working on new ideas. On top of that, she’s a sensitive and compassionate thinker who communicates her personal experiences through her work. These elements – her drive and her experience – make for imaginative, thoughtprovoking mixed media pieces that incorporate paper, fire, gold leaf and hand-stitching.” For more,

OPPOSITE PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: ‘I Believe in Me’ by Hatty Butler, ‘Up’ by Paul Minott, ‘Playing With Fire No.47’ by Kelly O’Brien, ‘Aeons of Unrecorded Time’ by Ione Parkin RWA I BATH LIFE I 33

Ashley and Connie, surrounded by some of their most enviable stock

THEY’VE GOT THE LOOK In a beautiful, airy little gallery in the middle of Margaret’s Buildings, Ashley and Connie Gray sell a unique collection of accessible, surprisingly affordable fashion illustrations and textiles


e’re the only permanent art gallery in the world that specialises solely in original fashion illustration and artist textiles from the 20th century,” says Connie Gray, accompanied by the cutest of dogs and surrounded by similarly covetable pieces of art. “Ashley and I come from entirely different backgrounds; one of us in political PR and the other in broadcasting. But we’ve both collected art since our early twenties, and in particular original fashion illustrations and modern British textiles. Combining the two disciplines, both of which have been hugely undervalued until recently, has been our greatest success story. They represent a 50/50 split in the gallery – and at


the exhibitions we do in London, New York and Palm Beach in the US, too.” They also have the occasional piece of cool design in the shop but, says Connie, “That’s incidental. If we see a sensational mid-century table, sculpture, chair or decorative piece that we cannot resist – and that works within the gallery space – then we add this in as an additional piece of interest.” The guys here source internationally, with many pieces coming from private collections, so they won’t have been seen for decades. “Fashion illustration is particularly difficult to source, as almost all the original artworks were discarded once they’d been printed in newspapers and magazines,” Connie says. “Even the most important works – pieces

A cool shop on a cool street: seriously, we can’t walk past without a quick peek in their window


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Pieces by Britain’s Jason

Brooks, Pablo Picasso, René Gruau for Printemps Paris, and Bil Donovan

published in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar by René Gruau, Antonio or Carl ‘Eric’ Erickson – were thrown away. Finding those works that didn’t end up in the bin takes a huge amount of research, and often they won’t be in the best condition, so we spend a great deal of time restoring them, prior to framing.” Most of the illustrations and textiles here are 20th century, but a few are by the more influential contemporary fashion illustrators – like American Christian Dior artist-inresidence Bil Donovan, or Britain’s own Jason Brooks – and pieces tend to be quite affordable. “You can start a collection of fashion illustrations from as little as £300,” Connie says, “though prices vary enormously, according to artist and provenance. Some

works are over £25,000 – but that might not matter if you really fall in love with a piece.” As well as the gallery, the guys hold masterclasses using top London and New York fashion illustrators, sometimes partnering with model agencies and top couturiers, like Bruce Oldfield and Zandra Rhodes, to give events the feeling, Connie says, “of what it’s like to work as an illustrator at the very top of the fashion world.” None of these have taken place at the Bath gallery yet, but they will. They also present occasional talks to fashion and history of art students from Bath Spa and even, as recently, Central St Martins. n For more, I BATH LIFE I 35



30 August – 29 September

What’s going on here? Only intrigued visitors enjoying Playing the Picturesque

EXHIBITIONS Until 23 September

ART AT THE HEART OF THE RUH AUCTION Bath Artists Studios and Art at the Heart of the RUH are joining forces for a rather tempting art auction. Check out all the pieces that’ll be available to buy at the RUH before it all transfers to The Roper Gallery at the end of September. Mon-Sun, 8am-8pm; free; Central Gallery, Royal United Hospitals; Final auction takes place 27-29 September at BAS Open Studios;

7 September – 6 October THE ENGLISH WOMAN’S FLORA Like much of the rest of nature, Britain’s wildflowers are having a


little bit of a crisis. In an exhibition that is part celebration and part mourning, artist Fiona Hingston will display wildflowers made from masking tape and graphite, based on illustrations from The Observer Book of Wild Flowers, a popular pocket book from the 1960s. Mon-Sat, 10am-4pm; free; Black Swan Arts, Frome;

Until 14 September

THE THEATRE OF ROBERT ANTON Robert Anton made creepy figurines that he then had star in plays he’d written for them. Inspired by the people he watched in the park near his New York apartment, Anton told fantastical stories about the anti-heroes, monsters, fantastical creatures and witches that

populated his meticulously sculpted miniature New York City. Tues-Sat, 10am-4pm; free; The Edge;

Until 15 September

A TALE OF TWO CITIES Bernard Ollis’ paintings are known for their depictions of major cities, among them Bath (his birthplace) and Paris. This exhibition brings the two of them together in unconventional yet enjoyable ways. Mon-Sun, 10:30am-5pm; included in admission fee; Victoria Art Gallery, Bath;

21-25 September

DESIGN MA EXHIBITION Have a gander at the big names of the future at Bath Spa University’s exhibition of postgraduate work.

With three graduate exhibitions and a selection of fascinating speakers on hand, it’s a great chance to enjoy a wide-ranging collection of work. 10am-5pm; free; Schools of Art and Design, Bath Spa University, Sion Hill Campus;

24 September – 14 December

PLAYING THE PICTURESQUE A lot of people think our obsession with the ideal ‘Insta-perfect’ life is a new phenomenon, but this exhibition is here to reject that assumption. Playfully traversing the space between real and virtual realms, the work shows the way that eighteenth century artists and architects became obsessed with producing aesthetically pleasing, stylistic, ‘ideal’ landscapes.

WHAT’S ON city’s past, as well as its future, and what role we need it to perform.” Sat-Tues, 11am-4pm; free; The Georgian House Museum, Bristol; georgian-house-museum


3-7 September

ABOVE: Bradford on Avon’s Town Bridge looks gorgeous all lit up in this local photography exhibition shot LEFT: Some of David Lawrence’s work now on display at the RUH BELOW: The Holding Space group mandala

Tues-Sat, 11am-5pm; free; Andrew Brownsword Gallery, The Edge;

25-28 September

HOLDING SPACE This exhibition considers wellness, and how art can be a powerful tool for encouraging it. Ten artists from diverse backgrounds and disciplines explore art as a therapeutic means of expression. 10am-6pm; free; Walcot Chapel;

28-29 September

U3A PHOTO EXHIBITION A group of 33 self-described OAPs are showing their photography in Bradford on Avon. They’re part of the U3A Photographic Group; the exhibition will also include a raffle. 10am-4pm; free; Tithe Barn, Bradford on Avon; search Bradford on Avon U3A Photographic Group on Facebook

From 28 September

INTERVENTIONS/2 Yoko Ono’s first solo show to visit Bristol arrives there this month. Including a series of iconic films that she made back in the ’60s and early ’70s – as well as the installation ARISING, first exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 2013 – INTERVENTIONS/2 asks Bristol audiences to engage with the city’s less proud history. The curator, Jimmy Galvin, says: “It is a way to bring a new spotlight onto Bristol’s heritage and involvement with the slave trade, and, as with all great art, it gives us permission to open dialogue and create a better understanding of ourselves and our

TRYING IT ON David Edgar, one of the UK’s leading dramatists, takes to the stage for his acting debut to deliberate on how, why or whether our opinions change over time. Tues-Sat, 7.45pm, matinees Thurs and Sat, 2.30pm; various prices; The Ustinov;

6-21 September

THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT Imagine this: that you’d invented a fabric that never gets dirty and never wears out. Well, that’s exactly what Sidney Stratton (Stephen Mangan) does in The Man in the White Suit. If you think that wouldn’t cause too many problems, you’d be wrong. Poor old Sid quickly finds his life getting very complicated, as manufacturers and trade unions come after him, terrified by what his invention might mean for their jobs. This fast-moving comedy is a new stage adaptation of the famous film, and reunites Mangan with his Jeeves and Wooster partner Sean Foley, so you know it’s going to be good. Mon-Sat 7.30pm, matinees Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm; various prices; Theatre Royal;

8 September

ROB DELANEY Titled ‘Rob Warms Up For His Special’, this is show is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin – but it’ll be no less fun for it. The American comedian, actor and writer, best known as the co-creator and co-star of Catastrophe, is sure to be good for a few giggles. Doors 6.30pm, show 8pm; £20; Komedia;


14 September

THE HUMAN LEAGUE The 1980s chart-toppers will be taking to the stage at Bath Racecourse after a packed day of racing. These stalwarts of the age of lopsided hair and shop girl chic will be playing all their crowd-pleasing favourites – don’t forget your I BATH LIFE I 37


24 September

RODRIGO Y GABRIELLA This Mexican acoustic rock guitar duo are stopping by Bath on a tour supporting their brand new album, Mettavolution. This ambitious new collection of songs sees them tackle Buddhism, the history of human evolution and the liberation of the potential we all have as a species. So, you know, all the light stuff. 7pm; various prices; The Forum;


15 September

OLIVER JEFFERS Oliver Jeffers’ interactive illustration events are not to be missed. He brings his quirky characters to life according to whatever the kids shout out from the audience – usually ‘what’s your favourite colour?’ – then guides you through his distinctive world. Oliver will also introduce his powerful new book, this one called The Fate of Fausto. 3pm, book signing 4-5.30pm; adults £9, children £8; the egg;


2 September

COULD BATH USE TRAMS? Marion Rivoire and Arnaud Lizet of the Midland Metro Alliance will discuss the commercial and congestion benefits French cities have gained from using trams. All of which raises the question: would Bath be better off with trams? 7.30-9.30pm; various prices; Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute;

7 September – 20 October SCULPTURE EXHIBITION The Courts Garden has an exhibition of Somerset-based sculptor Ian Marlow’s work on display. His latest pieces are all about highlighting the juxtaposition between the natural world and our man-made modern lifestyles. 11am-5.30pm (closed on Wednesdays); normal admission applies; The Courts Garden, Holt, Wiltshire; the-courts-garden


7-8 September

COMBE DOWN ART TRAIL Follow the trail of red paper lanterns to 15 open art venues. Local artists are throwing wide the doors of their homes and studios for you to have a nose around – and you never know what treasures you might find. (Make sure to bring some cash – it’s doubtful you’ll want to leave empty handed.) 10am-5pm; free; Combe Down;

12 September

OCEAN FILM FESTIVAL From ‘yo dude!’ surfers to ‘argh, me harties’ traditionalists, all the characters of the sea are represented at the Ocean Film Festival. Part of a world tour, the festival features a selection of films shedding some light into the deep, with the hope of inspiring people to explore, respect, enjoy and protect the oceans. Doors 6.30pm, films start 7.30pm; £14.50; Komedia; ABOVE: Surfer Dan, showing at The Ocean Film Festival LEFT: Fiona Hingston’s art at The English Woman’s Flora in Frome BELOW: The first Harry Potter: even better with a live orchestra providing the soundtrack, we’re saying

14 September

STRESS-FREE SATURDAY A full day of relaxation? Yes, please! Start with a relaxing yoga class with Becki Fox of Mentoring Plus, followed by a delicious homecooked vegetarian lunch. In the afternoon, Edwina Bridgeman will lead a two-hour textile based workshop inspired by The Unconscious Landscape, works from the Ursula Hauser collection. 10.30am-3.30pm; £55; Riverside Youth Hub; mentoringplus1/

15 September

ST ALPHEGE’S FLOWER FESTIVAL Pop down to St Alphege’s – a characterful hidden gem of the city – to see this beautiful building filled with flowers bursting into bloom. This year’s theme is ‘The Titles of Mary’, and in addition to the flower show, Dr Giles Mercer will be on hand providing guided tours explaining the history of the church. 1pm; free; Church of Our Lady & St Alphege, Bath;

20 September

HARRY POTTER CONCERT SERIES You know what’d make Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone even better? A live orchestra providing the soundtrack. Fortunately, our dreams are coming true as the Czech National Symphony Orchestra is blowing into town to perform John


dancing shoes. (Though nothing too strenuous is needed; those guys just sway from side to side.) Races 1pm-5.35pm, Human League 6-8pm approx.; general admission £35;



Williams’ unforgettable score live, as the film plays on a high definition 40-foot screen. There’s a real power to this, actually, and it takes you back to the early years of cinema, when silent films were often accompanied by live orchestras. 7.30pm; various prices; The Forum;

From 23 September

ADULT THEATRE SCHOOL Fancy exploring that part of you that’s always secretly wanted to try acting? Then you’re in luck: it’s time to set it free. The awardwinning Natural Theatre Company is once again running a 10-week performance and theatre skills programme. Students will learn the Naturals’ trademark style of comedy acting, with improvisation, physical performance and street performance skills all part of the deal. Monday evenings; £95 for 10-week term; Natural Theatre Company’s Widcombe HQ;


Rodrigo y Gabriela: they’re a Mexican acoustic rock duo Large Leaf, a sculpture by Ian Marlow BELOW: The Natural Theatre Company: masters of comedy RIGHT:

20-27 September


THE THERAPEUTIC CITY FESTIVAL A week of talks, walks and activities about how Bath could be managed differently, as a city of wellbeing. (After all, is this not where Jane Austen and all that lot historically came to heal from their various ailments? Of course it is!) The festival aims to answer the question: what should a 21st Century spa city be? Various times, prices and locations; n


Have you got your outfit sorted?


Don a bonnet, curl your hair and get ready to swoon: it’s time for the 19th of Bath’s muchloved Jane Austen Festivals. Bigger than ever before, this year’s festivities boast over 90 Regency-themed events. Here’s a short taster of what’s in store: The much loved Regency Costumed Promenade is set to return, with red-coat re-enactors leading costumed Austen fans on a promenade through the city. 16 September is the Day of Dance, where you’ll have the opportunity to learn all the steps from all your favourite Austen adaptations in The Assembly Rooms. Bath favourites The Natural Theatre

Company will be performing their hilarious rendition of what's apparently Austen’s most scandalous novella, Lady Susan, on 18 September, while, in an additional treat for comedy fans, on 21 September Karen Eterovich will return to the city for a fourth time with the hilarious Cheer from Chawton. On the final weekend of the festival, Professor John Mullan, author of What Matters In Jane Austen? will be on hand to give a talk on the importance of Austen’s novels today, and a star of the BBC’s iconic 1995 Pride and Prejudice adaptation, Susannah Harker, will present Yours, Jane Austen, where she and her sister Nelly will reveal the life of the writer – from her youth to her search for independence – through the letters she wrote to her sister, Cassandra.


JAGUAR E T YPE | F ERR A R I | P O R S C H E 91 1 | A S TO N M A RTIN All quality classics considered. Cars also sold on commission | | For good old-fashioned polite service call Paul Langley on 07836 617916

WE’VE MOVED! Find us at our new location in Keynsham

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A Taste of Honey

Hollywood darlings

People have been turning successful plays into films for years, but more recently the traffic has been the other way around


umerous stage shows, from Alfie and Amadeus to Closer and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ?, have become more famous in their later film versions. In recent years, however, the metamorphosis has frequently occurred the other way around. The Theatre Royal’s forthcoming programme features a number of plays that are celebrated as films, but – in fact – almost all are returning to their theatrical roots. In September the Theatre Royal hosts the hotly-anticipated world premiere stage production of Sean Foley’s adaptation of The Man in the White Suit, immediately prior to a West End run. This is the story of Sidney Stratton, an idealist whose unique invention causes unexpected chaos. It started life as a play, The Flower Within the Bud by Roger MacDougall, until in 1951 Ealing Studios reinvented and renamed it as a film starring Alec Guinness and Joan Greenwood; it became one of the most loved of the Ealing comedies. In Bath, the cast will include Stephen Mangan as Sidney (Episodes, Green Wing, Jeeves and Wooster), Kara Tointon (Relatively Speaking, EastEnders) and Sue Johnston (The Royle Family, Waking the Dead). Playing

Sue Johnston, Kara Tointon and Stephen Mangan star in The Man in the White Suit

Sidney, Stephen Mangan will be in Dressing Room One, making for a pleasing co-incidence: this is the dressing room that was dedicated to Alec Guinness in the 1982 renovation, and which continues to bear his name. When Laura Wade’s acclaimed play Posh, about the bad behaviour of an exclusive all-male dining club for Oxford undergraduates, opened at the Royal Court during the 2010 election campaign, it caused a sensation. Wade followed up with the screenplay for a film version, The Riot Club, whose 2014 launch coincided with a crucial Conservative Party conference. Now the original play tours for the first time as Boris Johnson – himself an old Etonian and Oxford graduate – moves into Number Ten. Its reappearance could hardly be better timed. (NB: Laura Wade’s latest play, Home, I’m Darling, which won the 2019 Best New Comedy Olivier Award, is this year’s best-selling show at the Theatre Royal so far.) I had assumed that Shrek!, originated in the form of the 2001 Oscar-winning Dreamworks computer-animation, but, in fact, that film was based on a 1990 picture book by the awardwinning American cartoonist and writer William Steig. It was first performed as a stage musical in the States in 2010 and in London’s West End in 2011. Bath Light Operatic Group will be making their annual visit to the Theatre Royal with this irresistible adventure about an ogre, a princess and a smart-ass donkey. In 1938, the British novelist Patrick Hamilton duplicated the considerable success of his earlier work, Rope with Gas Light, a play about a woman whose husband manipulates her into believing that she is going insane. (This was the first portrayal of the type of psychological abuse which has become known as ‘gaslighting’.) In 1944 the film version, directed by George

“Gaslight is back, starring Martin Shaw – always a favourite with Bath audiences”

6 – 21 September The Man in the White Suit 23 – 28 September Posh 8 – 12 October Shrek! 14 – 19 October Gaslight 28 October – 2 November A Taste of Honey

Cukor, featured the consummate cast of Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman and Joseph Cotton and received seven Academy Award nominations, winning two. The original play has made regular appearances at the Theatre Royal over the years since 1940. Pat Phoenix starred in 1974 opposite her Coronation Street co-star (and then husband) Alan Browning. Now, 33 years after its last visit in 1986, Gaslight is back on stage, starring Martin Shaw – always a favourite with Bath audiences – prior to the West End. Tony Richardson’s BAFTA winning 1961 film version of A Taste of Honey is a highlight of the social realism genre of cinema. Set in workingclass Salford, an unknown Rita Tushingham was cast alongside the wonderful Dora Bryan (whose many Theatre Royal appearances ranged from the musical 70, Girls, 70 to Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads). Written by Shelagh Delaney when she was just 19, the play was initially produced in 1958 by the legendary Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop at the Theatre Royal Stratford East. Now Bijan Sheibani (Barber Shop Chronicles) directs this National Theatre production with the addition of a live on-stage band. Jodie Prenger returns to Bath following her superb performance in Shirley Valentine in 2017. There may not be popcorn at the theatre, but we can go one better. Why not take in a glass of wine and sit back and enjoy the show? Anna O’Callaghan, Marketing Manager, Theatre Royal Bath, Sawclose; 01225 448844; I BATH LIFE I 43





Stuff your face, and get to speculate on the forthcoming season? What’s not to love?


You know how you’ve always wanted a bottle of gin with a diamond in it? (Of course you have!) Well, this September Bath Distillery will join forces with Wylde Jewellers to mount a one carat Wylde Flower Diamond – a cut exclusive to top local jeweller Nicholas Wylde, with petal facets – in a 1 litre bottle of Bath Distillery Classic Gin. Because, well, why not? If you fancy making it your own, you maybe can. There’ll be a chance to win the diamond with every bottle of 70cl Bath Gin sold between 16 September 2019 and 31 January 2020 – you need only check the ticket in the cap, Willy Wonka-style, for a chance to bag £10K of top-notch Wylde Flower bling. (The gin’s not bad too.)

For more:

EAT LIKE A RUGBY HERO Great food, great rugby – what else could you need? Lucknam Park invites you to their exclusive 2019 Rugby World Cup-themed dinner in their Michelin-starred restaurant, where executive chef Hywel Jones will be at the helm to provide a fivecourse meal to tastefully reflect the Rugby World Cup nations. Girvan Dempsey and Luke Charteris will be joining the event, along with two Bath Rugby players, to offer their speculations on what we can expect for the Rugby World Cup this time around. £90 per person for five courses, accompanied by selected wines; 17 September, 7pm. More information:


Will you pick the lucky bottle?

As part of the Campaign for Real Ale’s Summer Pub promotion, CAMRA members from around the country shared their recommendations for the best pub views in the UK. And our very own Hare & Hounds made the list. With it’s beautiful views across the Charlcombe Valley and to-die-for dinners, there are few better places to while away 2019’s last warm evenings. For more:

Sit back, relax and enjoy the view at Hare & Hounds I BATH LIFE I 45


Japanese noodles with Shimeji mushrooms, greens and Goma Ae As the evenings start to draw in, we are definitely reaching for the warming comfort food. This satisfying pile of steaming veg from Rachel Demuth, combined with the nutty flavours of sesame and the Shimeji mushrooms, is the perfect autumnal snack – warming without being too heavy, and easy to achieve but impressive-looking Serves 2 Dietary: Vegan, and can be made gluten free by using tamari instead of shoyu Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes Ingredients 125g shimeji mushrooms 200g broccoli (or use purple sprouting broccoli, kale, cavolo nero, chard, green beans or a mix) 1 tbsp untoasted sesame oil Dressing 6 tbsp sesame seeds 2 tbsp shoyu 2 tbsp light brown sugar 3-4 tbsp water

bowl. Now stir through half of the Goma Ae dressing. 7. Place the hot noodles into a serving dish. Re-heat the greens and mushrooms and place on top of the noodles and drizzle over the remaining Goma Ae dressing. 8. Serve at once, sprinkled with the sesame seeds. Tips: It is very easy to burn sesame seeds, so when you’re roasting them always move the pan around on a low heat. For more,

© Eat Pictures

160g soba buckwheat noodles sesame seeds for sprinkling

Method 1. Prepare the broccoli into florets and wash the greens. 2. To make the Goma Ae, toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan on a gentle heat until golden in colour. 3. Then grind the sesame seeds in a pestle and mortar or in a mini blender, until they become a paste, adding the shoyu and sugar. Add enough water to mix to the consistency of double cream. 4. Steam the vegetables till just cooked and still bright green. Refresh with cold water, if not using at once. 5. Pull the shimeji mushrooms apart gently and cut off any woody ends. Stir-fry the mushrooms quickly in the sesame oil. 6. Cook the noodles for 5-6 minutes in a pan of boiling water (or according to the packet instructions), then drain and place in a mixing



Tucked away on River Street is a gastropub to define the term. So what’s new chef Ross Harper doing to make it his own? By Matt Bielby


ack in the day, The Chequers was already famous for its food – but everything else was very different. In the ’90s it was king of the Sunday roasts, huge and cheap, and they weren’t the only thing that was massive here: monstrous tables were crammed in everywhere, making a journey to the bar like turning to Puzzler Magazine and trying one of the maze games. These days there’s more breathing room, and food is an even more important part of the mix. Of all the four Bath Pub Company boozers, this is the one you’re least likely to treat like, well, a boozer. The Locksbrook Inn has a dedicated drinkers bar; The Hare and Hounds is large and mixed use; and The Marlborough Tavern, if similarly dining-orientated, at least has a semi-covered pub garden. But at The Chequers you’d only really grab a pint if was for a quick half hour at a quiet time. Come 7pm it’s basically a restaurant full of well-heeled couples and families. They come, of course, because The Chequers is comfortably casual – and good. There are always excellent chefs here – names like Leigh Evans, Tony Casey, Alex Betts – and now they’ve a new


one, the lean and friendly Ross Harper, who some may know from his last role as executive chef at the OHH Pub Company, which runs places like The Northey Arms at Box. He’s a Bristol lad who’s spent plenty of time in London – including a stint as head chef at a Highgate gastropub he co-founded, The Woodman – and at The Chequers he’s retained the pub’s emphasis on seasonally-inspired cooking. He has, though, simplified the menu slightly and, he says, “put a greater emphasis on flavour.” The trick here, of course, is coming up with a menu that suits the pub setting, but feels special at the same time. Right now I’d say the a la carte walks right up to the line of being too fancy – then stops just short. These are honest, local ingredients, yes, but the presentation is tricksy, with blobs of purée here and smears of sauce there. At least two of the dishes we enjoyed were cooked sous vide – for a long time at a low heat in a pouch in a water bath – which renders great results, but is only something you find in a serious kitchen. Not, of course, that you have to go fancy: the compact menu has two sides, a la carte and Chequers Classics, the latter of which features filling pubby options like fish and chips or burgers at around £14.


Our side, however, is at a different level entirely – and with prices to match. Think £8 or £9 for starters, and mains over £20; sides like seasonal greens are £3.75, and even the artisan bread and butter is £4, which seems a bit steep. There’s a heritage tomato starter (with Parmesan shortbread and a Bloody Mary mousse) and an intriguing kegeree (with aranchini, kipper paté, quail’s eggs and curry beurre blanc), both £8, but we went for two slightly more expensive options, the mackerel (£8.75) and the wood pigeon (25p more). The fish saw two small fillets, beautifully cooked with charred skin on one side, sitting atop a small sea of mussel sauce in what appeared to be a gigantic soup bowl with an especially wide lip. On the edge of this sat a small mound of potted shrimp upon a coin of soda bread, and three dollops of cucumber purée. All very pretty, and tasty, but with an unfortunate mechanical issue: try to cut the shrimp (or do anything except scoop it into your mouth whole) and you risk disaster, the whole thing toppling over. Across the table, the bird was even more impressive, five or six elements arranged artfully and tied together by smears. There was a deliciously charred half apricot, and excellent braised chicory, its tight little missile shape retaining just enough of its essentially bitter nature. There was quinoa, a goat’s cheese beignet and the roasted breast itself – dense and meaty – too, the whole thing as much a main course in miniature as any starter I’ve had. And indeed, our pick of the mains gave us two dishes that did essentially the same things, just on a larger scale. The wonderfully cooked hake fillet with lemon and dill lentils, samphire, tomato, capers and brown crab mayo was given a pleasing aniseed bite from a bit of baby fennel (£19.50), and was perhaps the star of the meal – a really terrific dish – while there was fun to be had with the blushing pink and herb-crusted lamb rump (£22.50) too. This came with beetroot, mint and heritage carrots – not the best I’ve had, but not far off – plus a sweet little miniature shepherd’s pie in a baby saucepan to the side. The potato here, bijoux though it was, added a welcome hint of carb. Desserts? We shared the British cheeseboard – a blue, a Cheddar, and two goat’s cheeses, which seemed one too many – with assorted crackers and apple chutney (£9.50), and a lemon meringue and Amaretto cheesecake (£8), which came with an similarly sized accompanying lemon posset and a pile of suspiciously Class A-looking sherbet with real punch to it, like an insane dip dab. It was good enough to make us want to try the other, un-sampled, puds here (a chocolate terrine and poached rhubarb) stat. As expected, this was a top meal, and we’re intrigued to see where Ross takes the menu next. If there’s a criticism to be had, we’d like to see this place just a little more pub and a little less gastro, but we get why it’s the way it is. And so, it seems, does a vast swathe of Bath’s discerning diners. n

“As much a main course in miniature as any starter I’ve had” DINING DETAILS The Chequers, 50 Rivers Street, Bath, BA1 2QA; 01225 360019; We ate Mackerel and wood pigeon starters, the lamb and hake mains, and the lemon meringue and amaretto cheesecake from the desserts list, plus the British cheeseboard Vegetarian options A limited choice, but then it is a fairly compact menu: think soup or a tomato-based starter, gnocchi from the Mains menu and risotto from the ‘Chequers Classics’, plus a dessert or two Prices Starters £6.50 – £9; mains £14 – £28.50; sides £3.75; desserts mostly around £8 Drinks It’s a pub at heart – or in part – so there are plenty of beers, soft drinks and spirits, plus an extensive wine list, many by the glass; as it’s divided into categories like ‘dry, crisp and refreshing’ or ‘bigger, fuller flavoured and bold’, you’re bound to find something to suit Service / atmosphere Casually friendly and largely on-it service; GM Harriet Furlong and her team certainly seem to know their dishes What else? Chequers was once a compact neighbourhood boozer with generously proportioned (but not necessarily refined) food; now it’s the epitome of the modern gastro pub, more restaurant than watering hole, but a very good one I BATH LIFE I 49


3 Pulteney Bridge, Bath, BA2 4AX • 01225 463693 27 Broad Street, Bath BA1 5LW • 01225 489088 icarusjewellery Open Monday-Saturday 9am-6pm. Sunday 10am-5pm.


BRING ON THE BAD GUYS “A sweet friend for teenage bedrooms,” says Pop Up Pets. Pull the other one: have you seen the look in his eye? Seagull attacks are on the rise, we’re told. They snatch pasties from toddlers, ice creams from tourists, and famously carried a Chihuahua away recently, never to be seen again. What you want to do – if this is in any way possible – is make a friend of them. But how? One way is to build your own, thanks to Bath-based Pop Up Pets, aka wife-and-husband team Roz Streeten and Steve Kamlish of paper product specialists Rosie Flo. Roz is the artist, Steve the graphic designer, and this here pesky chap joins their existing range of guinea pigs, cats (silver tabbies, ginger toms) and dogs (pugs, dachshunds), plus more esoteric critters like owls and penguins. The guinea pigs come in a set of two, but each seagull is paired with more suitable accessories – a mackerel (yeah, right); a 99 ice cream cone; and a delicious bag of chips. Each is made from heavy card and assembles in seconds; no need for scissors or glue. Will the seagull fit in with the other pets? Perhaps not. But just as there’s no point to Luke Skywalker without a Darth Vader or Thor without a Loki, we think the rest of them would be usefully defined by having an antagonist. Could this be the first Pop Up Pets supervillain? We wouldn’t leave it alone with their other new additions, two French bulldog puppies, that’s for sure…

Pop Up Pets cost £7.99; you can find the seagull in My Small World, or online at I BATH LIFE I 53

SILVER OCTOPUS WINE HOLDER, £35 Our go-to shop for quirky beast-inspired curios, G&G is currently awash with crawling cephalopods, like this hardworking, sticky-tentacled chap, made of resin and the perfect table centrepiece From Graham & Green, Walcot Street; www.

GOLD LEAF CROWNED ELEPHANT COASTERS, £18 FOR TWO Stylish French elephant Babar favoured green suits and, once made King of the Elephants, a little gold crown; we reckon the guys on these stylish slate-and-gold-leaf coasters must be distant cousins (in which case Babar would try to marry them) From Vinegar Hill, Milsom Street;

COW HIDE BULL KEY RING, £9.99 You know who’d carry this around? John Wayne in Chisum, Montgomery Clift in Red River and – perhaps especially – singing cowboy Gene Autry in Melody Ranch From Vinegar Hill, Milsom Street;

ANIMAL KINGDOM We’re with George Eliot: animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms… BELLEROSE HEISHO DRESS, £159 This straight-fit animal print dress from American workwear-inspired label Bellerose – named for the New York village where it was founded, 30 years ago – has a real early ’90s nonchalance to it From Maze, Green Street;

FRAMED GIRAFFE PRINT, £19.95 They love an antique safari feel at French Grey, so you can pair ol’ long neck here with a stripy zebra or bignosed jumbo if you want to go full-on Happy Valley too From French Grey, Burton Street;



BARN OWL BY ELISABETH FRINK, £4,800 Dame Elisabeth Frink sure could draw a mean owl, and this 1977 etching (2 from an edition of 75) is one of her best. Mice beware! From 8 Holland Street, Margaret’s Buildings;

LAKADEMA LEOPARD TABLE LAMP, £75 Oka always offers great lighting options, but we rather favour this proud leopard from the AW19 collection; they do matching candle holders too From Oka, Milsom Street;

MAESTRO SWAN HEAD, £58 We love this guy in his regal purple-and-black feathers, though they do a more everyday white version too; no wonder they made him King of the Swans From Graham & Green, Walcot Street; www.

VERSACE JEANS COUTURE HAT, £90 They love their gold and their leopard print at Versace, perhaps the most bling and ‘molto sexy’ of the major menswear labels, and the Leo Baroque cap reps both trends, while being small enough to be subtle (well, subtle-ish) too From John Anthony, High Street;

VINTAGE CAPE BUFFALO SKULL, £285 The biggest of African bovines are famous for their horns, which form a continuous bone shield right across the head, and reportedly help them kill around 200 people a year; these ones are three feet wide From Small Shop, Walcot Buildings, London Road; I BATH LIFE I 55




Fancy a warm, cocoon wrap or a Swedish effleurage? A rock sauna or a bamboo massage? Spas in Bath have upped their game. We went exploring… By Harriet Noble

‘I’ll get in in a second, stop pressurising me!” The Spa Village at The Gainsborough I BATH LIFE I 57



ath is, of course, rather famous for its spas. It’s what most tourists do when they come here. But it sometimes feels like it’s so obvious, so quintessentially Bath, that we, as residents, actually forget to go to them, which is something of a shame. And they’ve progressed a lot over the years. Forget grating rainforest-sounds humming out of a tired CD player – these days you’re looking at tailor-made treatments designed to suit your specific needs and desires, whether you’ve got a dodgy knee, are seven months pregnant, are going through chemotherapy, or just want some time out from your busy life. Here’s a snapshot of what’s on offer locally to soothe both mind and body.


Beau Street, Bath In a lava shell: Spa Village is set beneath a glass atrium in the heart of The Gainsborough Hotel and is famous for its natural thermal waters. Guests can expect three natural thermal baths, 11 treatment rooms, an aromatic steam room, ice chamber, infrared and traditional saunas, a relaxation terrace and a fully equipped gymnasium. What’s unique about it? Your average spa, this is not. It stands over an old Roman Bath House and contains a replica of a 4th century Roman mosaic. The thermal waters which guests can bathe in today fell as rain 10,000 years ago, and contain over 42 minerals, which provide a range of therapeutic benefits. Any special treatments? Why not opt for the Magnesium Remineraliser, a body scrub, massage and warm cocooned wrap? “The magnesium is responsible for promoting energy levels, sleep, circulation, metabolism and muscle movement,” says Peter Rollins, director of marketing and communications at the Gainsborough.“This relaxing therapeutic treatment helps to replenish commonly deficient levels. Body tissues relax and pores take in the vital minerals from the products.”


Woolley Green, Bradford on Avon In a lava shell: Set within the walled garden at the hotel, this is a mecca for all those in need of some downtime. Facilities include a sauna and steam room, heated indoor and (during friendly seasons) outdoor pool, beautiful 14-acre gardens, and a relaxing hang-out area, decked out with comfy sofas where you can enjoy assorted drinks and refreshments.


Release your inner mermaid in the pool at The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa

“Bucking the trend for adult-only spas, Woolley Grange is very family orientated” What’s so great about it? “The location is idyllic,” says marketing manager Caroline Mackay. “Take a walk around and see fresh flowers and produce growing, and the comical Indian runner ducks – who keep down the slugs and snails.” Or, if the weather’s not so great, enjoy a coffee in the panelled drawing room of this Jacobean manor. What special treatments do they offer? They’re big on skincare at The Spa at Woolley and offer Elemis luxury spa treatments – they’re famous for their anti-aging products – and Jessica Cosmetics nail treatments. Anything for the kids? Bucking the trend for adult-only spas, Woolley Grange is actually very family orientated. Children can use the pools and spa facilities – they even offer mini me treatments, if you actually think your kids are worth it – or, if you have young children in tow, they have an Ofsted registered crèche on site, aptly called Woolley Bears Den, which offers two hours of childcare.


Weston Road, Bath In a lava shell: This award-winning spa has four luxurious treatment rooms, a relaxation lounge, indoor pool, pool-side sauna, elliptical steam pod and shower, and a heated outdoor pool, set within the hotel’s four acres of beautiful gardens. It’s also the first and only L’Occitane Spa in the UK. What’s on offer: Expect a full range of luxurious treatments, from facials, body massages, body scrubs and wraps, to mini treatments, manicures and pedicures, alongside holistic and beauty treatments. What’s so special about a L’Occitane Spa? “Guests at the spa are invited to enjoy the facilities of the hotel, including its world class restaurant in which to enjoy lunch, afternoon tea or a drink, either on the terrace in sunnier months, or beside a roaring open fire in one of the hotel’s lounges in colder times,” says spa manager Sam Teifal. “Slightly less exciting, perhaps – but always appreciated – is that we’re one of the very few spas in Bath to offer our guests complimentary parking in our car park, which eases arrival and departure and maintains the wonderful feeling of calm!” Any special treatments? “The spa’s signature treatment is a Verbena Relaxing Massage, featuring one of L’Occitane’s emblematic ingredients, the aromatic


CLOCKWISE: Save me a bed! The L’Occitane Relaxation Suite at Bath Priory Hotel; the luscious Spa Gardens at The Royal Crescent; having a cuppa at The Bath Spa Hotel; make a splash at The Gainsborough Bath Spa I BATHLIFE I 59

SPAS verbena,” says Sam. “Combining Swedish effleurage, Chinese acupressure and Balinese massage techniques, this treatment stimulates circulation, eases tension and relieves stress.”


Sydney Road, Bath In a lava shell: The hotel is nestled in beautiful landscaped gardens, making it the ideal spot for a bit of me time. Their facilities include an indoor and outdoor pool, gym, hydropool, whirlpool, treatment rooms, sauna, ice room, and thermal suite. What sets this spa apart? The team here pride themselves on creating treatments that perfectly fit the individual. “Whether your aim is relieving muscle pain, de-stressing or to leave feeling energised, we’ll help you select the perfect combination of treatments, aromatic oils and skin rubs to work with your skin, mood and needs,” says general manager Stephen Browning. “We work to be as inclusive as possible, offering a carefully tailored men’s package, as well as pregnancy massages geared to support women through each trimester.” They are also one of the first hotels in the UK to offer Jennifer Young treatments for those living with cancer. “Our staff have been specially and meticulously trained to offer sensitive consultations and treatment in this area,” says Stephen. Anything else? Yes, the food! “Our executive chef, Jon Machin, takes his inspiration from his early career working on the super-yacht, Octopus, for the late Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen,” says Stephen.“He’s classically British trained, but loves to bring an international twist to everything he does.”


Bowood Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort, Derry Hill, Calne In a lava shell: A mere thirty minutes drive from Bath, this spa boasts an infinity pool with corker views over Bowood’s pristine parklands. Facilities include aromatherapy showers, a rock sauna, a crystal steam room, a gym and a spa bar. [Read about Ané’s visit here on page 63] What treatments do they have? “We’ve introduced Eminence Organic Skincare for most of our facial treatments,” says senior digital marketing executive Dan Robinson. “Our spa manager, Angela Covey, was inspired by their unbound commitment to all things socially responsible and, of course, natural. We’ve been working closely with the founders to create skin specific facial treatments to help naturally reduce signs of aging, redness and acne, to name a few.”


Get wallpaper envy in the treatment rooms at The Spa at Bowood

“Guests can enjoy the sunshine in their robes whilst robins flit around the garden” Anything else? They practice and promote Thai massage techniques, such as warm bamboo massages which are designed to break down fatty deposits and minimise cellulite, whilst providing lifting effects on the body. Another treatment is hot poultice massage, used to relieve aches and pains.


The Royal Crescent Hotel &Spa, Bath In a lava shell: Six treatment rooms, a Himalayan salt-infused sauna, herbal steam room, 12-metre relaxation pool, vitality pool, fitness centre, and a Taittinger Spa Garden. What sets this spa apart? “Hidden away at the end of a beautiful garden, the Spa & Bath House is a haven of tranquillity, where you can truly escape the hustle and bustle of the city,” says marketing manager Mary Stringer. “Let the birdsong and quiet scuffles of squirrels burying their nuts soothe you on your walk across the garden, then slip into the cool welcoming embrace of our relaxation pool.” What about the atmosphere? “This Spa is as closely intertwined with nature as is possible,” adds Mary. “Guests can enjoy the sunshine in their robes whilst robins flit around the garden. Even inside the spa there are elements of nature – such as the 3D-effect silver leaf wallpaper. And from the relaxation pool guests can view the garden through high, chapel-style windows.”


LUCKNAM PARK HOTEL & SPA Colerne, Chippenham This country house retreat offers some rather kooky treats, like their Saddle and Spa day package, where you can go for a hack, have a spot of lunch in their brasserie, and then get horizontal in their spa pool and thermal cabin. SPA 15, NO 15 GREAT PULTENEY No 15 Great Pulteney Street, Bath The vintage-inspired, underground spa offers themed treatments rooms and a plethora of holistic treatments. THERMAE BATH SPA Hot Bath Street, Bath Here you’ll find the Minerva Bath, a wellness suite, and the jewel in the crown – the openair rooftop pool. HOMEWOOD SPA Freshford A range of treatments, spa days and spa packages are on offer; facilities include a hydrotherapy pool, sauna and steam room, and a heated outdoor pool.


Sparring partners Bath is hardly a spa wasteland, of course – face it, we’ve oodles of them – but sometimes it’s worth making a short trek out of town, as Ané and a friend discovered one rainy summer afternoon


et in stunning parkland beyond Corsham, north east of Bath, Bowood Hotel & Spa has long been synonymous with a luxe weekend away, or ladies who lunch-style afternoon tea. It’s only about 45 minutes from the city, but I’d never visited before. After all, with so many interesting and innovative treatment rooms here in Bath itself, I wasn’t certain why I’d bother venturing into deepest Wiltshire for a massage. This beauty addict’s interest was piqued, however, when an invitation to visit the new refurbished spa arrived in my inbox. The ‘Garden of Deep Calm Full Body Massage’ – and the heavenly thought of unplugging for a day in beautiful surroundings – were too much to resist. That’s how a friend and I found ourselves driving into the beautiful Bowood grounds on an unseasonably grey and rainy day in mid-August. From the outside it looks classically English – there appears to be just the right number of perfectly manicured box trees – so arriving at the all-white and sleek spa reception felt refreshingly modern and unexpected. We headed to the Spa Bar, where there’s a delicious herbal tea menu; I settled on a lavender brew which was delivered in a beautiful Japanese pot. So far, so easy to exhale. Everyone knows, though, that no matter how cool the location,

you can’t break from at least one key tradition when it comes to spending an afternoon at a spa with a girlfriend. There’s just something about putting on a large, white fluffy bathrobe and spa slippers and popping reality away in your locker for the day. At Bowood this ritual was done in our very own private changing room, complete with deep sofas and a marble dressing table. This was definitely a few steps up from your average Fitness First. While my friend opted for a nice, long swim and sauna, I headed straight for the Relaxation Area to catch up on some reading. This newly renovated space could easily have drifted out of the pages of Elle Deco with its ski-lodge fireplace, dove grey loungers and mustard armchairs. The perfect place to cosy up under a blanket, drink more tea and read Vogue. As I said, I loved the sound of the ‘Garden of Deep Calm Full Body Massage’ (60min, £80) – and it didn’t disappoint. This particular massage combines Thai-style and Western techniques. A combination of beautiful oils, such as rice bran, sweet almond and wheat germ, help soothe and nourish the skin, while the scent of Malabar grass, sweet orange and vetiver help to melt tension away and create an inner sense of peace. Angela, my therapist, explained that the pace of this particular massage is a bit slower than usual, and that it’s really all about slowing

“When she turned on the heated bed I was in heaven”

down and just being able to take a step back and have some time for yourself. I was asked what kind of pressure I prefer and Angela worked her magic, especially on my very tight back and shoulder muscles. I felt time did slow down a little, and when she turned on the heated bed I was in heaven. No unnecessary conversation – just peace and quiet. Actually, I was a teensy bit disappointed when it eventually had to stop. My friend opted for another one of Bowood’s signature treatments, the Ultimate Deep Pressure Back, Neck and Shoulder Massage (45mins, £60). It started with a soft pumice filled with herbs being used to gently massage the back muscles, and then the therapist used ‘Tok Sen’, the Thai practice of using a small wooden hammer and stick to gently tap along the spine and across the back to release blocked energy. At first, my friend reported thinking that there was no way she felt she was going to be able to drift off, but the rhythmic tapping in the beautifully warm, dimly lit room was very hypnotic. She said she fell asleep during the treatment, and woke to feel lighter and properly refreshed. She said she’d had many massages in her life – lucky girl – but would absolutely book this one again, saying that it felt

“genuinely different”. After being spoilt rotten in the treatment rooms, we headed back to the Relaxation Area for a sweet green tea. It was the perfect segue into tea-tea. In the end, the silly English weather at the moment meant that we didn’t get out to explore the grounds, or sun ourselves on the loungers overlooking the stunning woodlands. But I imagine it would be perfect on a proper English summer’s day. We even spotted a few deer in the distance as we left at the end of the afternoon, which was a lovely surprise. Whether you like your spa time in solitude, quality time with your other half, or catching up or celebrating with a group, I would highly recommend the The Spa at Bowood. It’s close enough to Bath to feel very doable for the day, but far enough away – and different enough in style – to feel special. Bowood Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort, Derry Hill, Calne, SN11 9PQ; 01249 823883;; for more on Bowood, turn to page 57 Ané Auret is a self-confessed beauty obsessive and founder of Bath-based skincare brand Ané. Learn more at and follow her on Instagram @beauty_by_ane I BATH LIFE I 63



Number Three: stylish, but warm and friendly with it

GeTTING THe CHOp Lydia Tewkesbury visited Number Three for a much-needed barnet refresh


enerally speaking, I am not the biggest fan of haircuts. With my shoulder length, quite thick hair, I have to head to the salon on the regular lest it get completely out of control and turn into what I think of as The Clump, but it’s always one of those things I’ve viewed as a necessary evil. The hairdressers – I’ll be honest – intimidates me. So it was on a rainy Wednesday I wandered down to Number Three Hairdressing on Saville Row with a trepidatious heart and hair I had left just a little bit too long between trims. Okay – a lot too long. But at Number Three, they did a good job of making even my inwardly trembling self comfortable – all while not judging me too harshly for my split ends. Set over two floors and a little out of the bustle of the busiest part of town, Number Three is classy without coming over sniffy, luxurious but with a laid back attitude very appealing to the salon-shy.

Your experience at Number Three starts with the offer of a cuppa and magazine (I said yes to both). For anyone having a more lengthy treatment, they even have a little courtyard garden where you can sit with said literature and pick-me-up while your highlights sink in – or whatever it is highlights do. After having my hair scrubbed and massaged with the help of some sweet-smelling Bumble and Bumble Crème de Coco shampoo and conditioner, I sat down with my stylist Katie to let her whip my wavy bob into shape – which she proceeded to do, with a laid back but authoritative air that immediately put me at my ease. At Number Three, Katie explained to me, the relaxed environment I was enjoying so much was absolutely key. Stylists are encouraged to take their time with clients, so it never felt at any point that I was being rushed out the door as I have been during hair cuts past. There was nothing hectic in the way Katie methodically worked on my hair and chatted away about her life at the salon, our

shared adoration for a Cornish beach and the finale of Love Island. It’s a way of being that seems to work for the stylists too, as many of them, including Katie, have been at Number Three for most of its decade of business. After my hair was cut and dried, I had my final moment of stress. I prefer to wear my hair wavy, but asking for curls always comes with the risk of leaving feeling like a poodle – a look I wasn’t keen to sport back at the office – but I needn’t have worried. After drying my hair with the beauty blogger’s favourite Dyson hair dryer (I can confirm, it is as good as the price tag would suggest) she gently twisted my hair into gorgeous beachy waves with the help of a GHD curling tong and kept them in place with some more Bumble and Bumble – this time the Brilliantine styling creme and Thickening Dryspun Texture Spray. As I was getting ready to leave, another stylist commented that no one cuts a textured bob quite like Katie. I have to say, I agree. In all, my experience at Number Three was almost enough to cure my fear of going to the hairdressers. Almost. I’ll have to make a return visit to complete the process, I think. n

For more: I BATH LIFE I 65


Meet the dentist

We catch up with four of the best dentists in Bath who provide a variety of dental treatments with a dazzling smile


AQUAE SULIS DENTAL 01225 339767 How would you best define modern dentistry? Modern dentistry is the ability to use the latest technical advances to benefit our patients – from bioactive materials that help to repair teeth to 3D imaging. These techniques allow us to make a major impact on our patients’ lives by restoring their teeth to give a natural, healthy appearance.


What makes your practice different? In addition to the latest dental techniques, we put our patients’ interests first. This involves taking time to find out what our patients want, to explain all of their options and to deliver care in the most considerate way. Why are some people scared of going to the dentist? Despite the innovations in dentistry, people are still having bad experiences. This can be traced back to treatment they received as children but repeated bad experiences only negatively reinforce these fears. We want to try to end this cycle with gentle care. What else do you offer at your innovative practice? An exciting development is that we’re now offering facial aesthetic treatments with our aesthetic nurse practitioner. This fits well with some of the other treatments that we provide.


WIDCOMBE DENTAL PRACTICE 01225 317681 Why are some people scared of going to the dentist? I think this all stems down to the fear of the unknown; from diagnoses, costs and even how long treatments will take or feel. The key to all of this? Communication. There’s no reason anyone should be in the dark about what they are having done. I utilise high quality dental photography to discuss treatments and help display problems on a daily basis - it really helps. How would you best define modern dentistry? Dentistry in 2019 is unrecognisable to that of years gone by. Modern dentistry is all about minimal intervention, preserving as much healthy tooth structure as possible. I like to give autonomy back to patients, engaging in discussions to agree on solutions at your own pace.

Technology is changing the game, enabling superior predictable results to become the norm. What do you enjoy most about your job? The best smile is a healthy one, and restoring dental health is my number one priority. Utilisation of ceramics is of particular interest to me, with the strength they provide combined with extremely high aesthetics making them a pleasure to use. Technology these days allows me to minimise the amount of tooth I need to adjust in order to give you a strong natural looking tooth with a great long term outlook, and that is really satisfying.




01225 426 222; What treatments do you offer that set you apart from other dentists? We provide specialist services in all the fields of restorative dentistry including prosthodontics, periodontics, endodontics and a special interest in implantology. What do you most enjoy about your job? Patients becoming intimate friends. How long have you worked in dentistry? 42 years. Tell us about the worst dental case you’ve ever had… There is never a worst case. The most challenging was the patient who had been shot in the face with a shotgun at very close range. He lost every one of his teeth, his jaws and both eyes. How would you best define modern dentistry? A greater emphasis upon the biological needs

of the patient and focussing on an almost wholly preventable disease. What are the latest advances in dental care we should know about? 3D scanning for planning and “printing” precision restorations. What makes a beautiful smile? Golden proportions and symmetry. Why choose ‘Invisalign’ above normal braces? I would always leave that option to a specialist orthodontist but the avoidance of braces is very appealing to patients if there is the choice. How did you get into dentistry? Serendipity, where a love for engineering and biology all came together. What have been your career highlights so far? Establishing a rehabillitation prosthodontics service for a head and neck oncology team from scratch with a group of exceedingly talented surgeons at Poole Hospital. What has been your proudest accomplishment so far? Falling in love with a beautiful Dane.


MB, BCH, BAO, MFDS, MRCS, MSC, FRCS, FFD, CONSULTANT ORAL-MAXILLOFACIAL SURGEON, THE TALBOT CLINIC 01225 426 222; What treatments do you offer that set you apart from other dentists? Complete Facial Plastic Surgery procedures to rejuvenate facial appearance including full face lifts, eye brow lifts, chin and neck lifts. What do you most enjoy about your job? Watching the delight in a patient when being reviewed after a face lift. How long have you worked in dentistry? 25 years. Tell us about the worst dental case you’ve ever had… Attempting unsuccessfully to preserve a face with a virulent flesh eating bacterial infection. How would you best define modern dentistry? The opportunity to work closely with colleagues in restorative dentistry and orthodontics as a multidisciplinary team.

What are the latest advances in dental care we should know about? Using 3D imagery to plan and execute jaw surgery to precision. What makes a beautiful smile? Restoring the confidence in a patient. Why choose ‘Invisalign’ above normal braces? As a Consultant in Oral-Maxillo-Facial surgeon, I would leave that entirely to my orthodontic colleagues. How did you get into dentistry? After studying medicine, I became interested in Cranio-facial surgery and considered a dental degree would add to the knowledge and skills required. What have been your career highlights so far? Winning a Gold Medal for rowing at the Commonwealth games in Manchester in 2002. What has been your proudest accomplishment so far? Revealing a bandaged face after surgery and watching the patient take their first look in a mirror. I BATH LIFE I 67

Weir next The recent rainfest might not suggest it, but splashing about on or near the water is one of the joys of summer. At Warleigh Weir, Bath enjoys one of the West Country’s best wild swimming spots, recently brought back from the brink by a small army of volunteers Words by Paul Marland 68 I BATH LIFE I

WARLEIGH WEIR Warleigh Weir: not always the easiest place to get to, perhaps, but then that middle-of-nowhere quality is part of what makes it so great


here’s a private island, not far from Bath, that’s become a haven for river-swimming, field-loving outdoor types. But it wasn’t always like this. Just last year the site was almost closed off to the public, having become a near-unbearable place to go. Since then, though, its owner has gone to huge lengths to ensure that the Warleigh Weir Island – at the bottom of Ferry Lane in Claverton – remains a destination-of-choice for hot summer days. So what was going wrong? Too many people, basically, and the issues that come with that. “Since enjoying widespread social media coverage, Warleigh Weir had gone from being a local secret to being featured in most wild swimming guides and national press,” says Australian born owner Johnny Palmer, best known for his Brislington-based events production company, SXS Events. Indeed, for a while the island began to have an enormous

issue with rubbish, left behind by swimmers and picnickers, and when its popularity started to attract further anti-social behaviour, local residents and wild swimmers decided they’d had enough. This hidden gem they’d used and loved for years was being destroyed. “I’d been coming to the island for many years, and it broke my heart to see such a magical place being overrun with rubbish and bad vibes,” Johnny says. “I felt compelled to do something about it, while recognising the benefits to be gained from people interacting with nature – it makes us think about how we treat our environment. I saw an opportunity to set up a conservation project that would protect the island, and promote positive sustainable change.” The first step, Johnny says, was to buy the island, setting up the Warleigh Weir Project to run it. The local council invested in rubbish bins for the site, and an army of ‘guardians’ – now some 300 strong – really started to get

“This hidden gem they’d used and loved for years was being destroyed” I BATH LIFE I 69


A cool little oasis not far from the train tracks, Warleigh Weir is the sort of place the Famous Five would have enjoyed (though they, of course, would have made sure to take away their cans of ginger beer)

involved with education, litter-picking and various site improvements. But the journey wasn’t smooth – or without some controversy. “I realised early on that we had a deeprooted cultural issue with the island, and that we’d need to grab everyone’s attention to solve it,” Johnny says. He went on to publicly announce his ownership – and then declare that the site would be closed if the rubbish issue didn’t get resolved. “I’m not afraid of a bit of controversy,” he says. “In fact, I quite enjoy it.” And, fortunately, his approach did the trick – the threats were widely shared, and there was a massive backlash from island users. “This was perfect, as it started a really good conversation with the right people, and allowed us to form a highly passionate, vocal, hands-on group


which now works hard to maintain the island.” Called the Warleigh Weir Project Guardians, they’ve helped improve the river steps, and introduced new woodland planting and signage. What’s next? “I hope we can put a few more basic amenities in,” Johnny says, “like bike racks, a bike servicing point and improved river access.” These are important, of course, as the only access is by bike or foot, with no car parking nearby. “Other than that, though, we want to keep it as it is, and use it as a way of encouraging people to think about their interactions with nature.” In the meantime, enjoy the pictures. Whatever the weather is doing outside, this is what summer is meant to be all about. ■ For more,


TROY SCOTT SMITH Continuing our mini-series meeting some of the region’s best head gardeners, we rock up at Iford Manor, where the recently arrived Troy Scott Smith has big plans Words by Nick Woodhouse, photos by Iford Manor


t was Troy Scott Smith’s first week as head gardener at Iford Manor when we first spoke about his plans for its gardens. So it was no huge surprise that he was up a ladder at the time; there were things to do. On this occasion, it was retraining the famed wisteria that graces the front of the property, following a recent and unwelcome storm. Originally from Yorkshire, Troy recently moved to the area with his wife Anne and two children, Rowan and Maiwen, to take up this new post. But Troy is no stranger to Bath; his

often walk my dog along the river at Iford. Sometimes I would see John Hignett and we would talk about the work he was currently undertaking here. Other times, I would visit as part of the Professional Gardeners’ Guild trips, each time fascinated by the connection to the great garden designer Harold Peto. The area has always been rich in gardens and garden enthusiasts, so I continued to visit the area when I was working at Sissinghurst, joined by a garden designer friend over from Italy. I’d bought a Morris Minor in Bath and would return each year to have it serviced, staying for a week in Bradford on Avon as a base for my garden visits.

“I’m hoping to work more with local schools and start a volunteer programme” first head gardener role was, in fact, just down the road at The Courts Garden in Holt [see page 38 and page 96 this issue for more], where he held the position from 1997 to 2004. In that time, Troy and his team increased visitor numbers from 9,000 to 50,000, and introduced a practical and classroombased garden design course. For the last six years however, he’s been head-gardener at Sissinghurst, most recently working on the Delos Project alongside renowned garden designer Dan Pearson. This extraordinary conservation plan has re-interpreted an area of the garden that was left uncompleted by its former owners, Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson. I was intrigued to find out what drew Troy back to this area and what he’s planned for the Harold Peto gardens at Iford. So, Troy, how well did you know Iford before taking on the head gardener role?

I’ve probably known the gardens since 1995. When I was working at The Courts, I would


Have you already started making plans for changes here at Iford?

Yes; in fact, that process started a while back. In the run up to starting at Iford, I visited the gardens once a month for six months. You can’t fast-track seasons, so the visits provided the perfect opportunity to start formulating ideas. We’re currently working on a plan for the gardens that takes us to 2028. This involves opening new areas and taking on more resources. It’s a huge commitment from owners Marianne and William, but one that we hope will make people feel even more welcome here, particularly younger audiences. I really enjoy sharing and teaching, so am hoping to work more with local schools and to start a volunteer programme. Sometimes it’s not enough just to garden; why do this if not to share?

The volunteer programme sounds interesting. How will that work?

We’re hoping to make it open to everyone, of any age and with any skill set. We’ll be looking for help not just with gardening but also with tasks such as propagation, labelling and carpentry. We’d also like to nurture those

looking to start a career in horticulture, giving the necessary experience, support and advice they’ll need, in a hands-on environment. And who works alongside you on the regular team?

Shane has been at Iford for a few years now, having started as an apprentice joiner. Marianne and William spotted his talent and then offered him a role in the gardens. I’m just as impressed, and am keen to work closely with him to help him progress and increase his skill set further. Ultimately, we’d like a full-time team of four. Finally, what’s the first big project on your to-do list here?

I’m starting work soon on making the main glasshouse and nursery work better, and improving both the efficiency and ergonomics of the tool shed. Then we’ll move on to bulb planting from September and bare root planting of fruit trees, roses and hedgerows over winter. With that in place, we’ll then start work on the two courtyards, improving the garden’s arrival points. We’ll be working alongside the planned building projects, which include the underpinning of the cloister, the re-building of the summerhouse at the end of the great terrace and next April’s completion of the barn, offering both a café and a welcome area for visitors. For more,

Nick Woodhouse is the co-director of interior and garden design company Woodhouse & Law on 4 George’s Place, Bathwick Hill, Bath; 01225 428072;


Classical arches catch the eye at Iford Manor, but it’s Troy’s planting we find more exciting


COOL WORLD Behind some of Bath’s least likely frontages lurk the coolest workspaces. It’s like when The Beatles walk up to four separate redbrick terrace houses in Help!, their doors opening up onto a giant, knocked-through, colour-coded open plan space. Except better than that… By Paul Marland 74 I BATH LIFE I

OFFICE SPACE You can’t beam up to some orbiting spaceship from the Rocketmakers office, but it rather looks like you might

“These places take their commitment to cool much further”


ow long do you spend in the office? Too long, right? But there are ways to take the edge off that a bit, and one of the best is to make your office as comfortable and welcoming as a second home, just bigger – quite likely – and packed full of (what are hopefully) your friends. Many Bath offices were once, of course, homes anyway – all those converted Georgian townhouses with high ceilings and rooms that are really too big for one (but not quite big enough for a team) – and they have their own charms and frustrations. What we’re looking at here, though, are places rather more modern and spectacular, interior designed to within an inch of their lives to make them as impressive to visitors as they are inspiring to regulars. We’re not just talking the odd brightly coloured seat here. These places take their commitment to cool much further than that… I BATH LIFE I 75

Nowhere does a breakout space quite like the new Edit offices…

THERE’S ONLY ONE PLACE to start when looking at cool Bath offices: the new Rocketmakers gaff. These guys design apps, websites and software for swift-moving start ups and the more forward-thinking corporate behemoths alike, and have earned a tonne of gongs for it, not least a Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2018. They’re a little bit of Silicon Valley right here in Bath. “We needed to move from our old loft space in Bartlett Street,” says CEO Richard Godfrey, “so looked at various offices – and were underwhelmed by everything we saw. When we tried to remember what we’d seen where, design agencies, law firms and shared office space all seemed to merge into each other. So we decided to make a statement with our space – and make sure you know you’re in Rocketmakers from the moment you open the door.” To do this, the guys worked with innovative Bath-based design outfit Interaction – “a real collaboration, with both of us suggesting things and the other running with the concepts,” Richard says – and the end result is, you’d have to say, rather incredible. “We wanted to make it the best environment for our staff first, then really impactful for our visitors second,” Richard says. “We’ve got lots of different working spaces; the most ergonomic/adjustable chairs, desks and screens available; a real community area around the kitchen; and a versatile presentation area, with raised seating and a dedicated virtual reality space. “Then, for customers, the first impact is always the rocket pods, followed closely by the huge mural and then the Rocketmakers badge on the floor – which we can virtually launch rockets from! There’s certainly no doubting that you’ve come to the right place.”

There are also themed meeting rooms – one’s called Lab, another Workshop, and they each provide multiple 65” screens and are surrounded by glass boards. “They’re ideal for the dynamic and engaging meetings we like,” Richard says. “There’s also the Hatch, which is where we have daily meditation sessions – it’s a place to get a bit of quiet time, if needed.” Overall, Richard’s convinced this new space has helped take the company to a new level in the eyes of visitors. “Plus,” he says, “now being 30 seconds from the train station and Southgate has also had a dramatic effect, for both customers and staff that live outside of Bath.” Richard’s favourite part of the whole thing? “Oh, the rocket – it’s so iconic and useful, and I’m pleased we went for it big time. Second is the dropped roof above our Rocketmakers logo, which lights up – not many people notice it, but I do!”

“We wanted to make the best environment for our staff first, and really impactful for our visitors second”


EDIT’S A MARKETING AGENCY with household name clients – RAC, Pizza Hut, – and offices in Leeds and London as well as Bath. Just over a year old, they’ve been able to design their space at 20 Manvers Street with a promise to employees in mind: that this would be a flexible environment that facilitates a great work/life balance. “It’s not unusual in Bath, but the view of rolling hills from our rear windows are both incredible and daydream-inducing,” says head of agency partnerships Toby Brown. “The bold colour scheme means we’ve a relaxed but vibrant atmosphere, even when we’re fighting over the Sonos.” That, by the way, is a fancy wireless hi-fi system.

OFFICE SPACE The amphitheatre here, The Editorium, is the perfect space for both company meetings and hosting external events, and they’ve even got a library, for when people need a bit of extra thinking time. “Our entire layout is designed to get people to collaborate, discuss and throw around ideas,” Toby says. “We’ve achieved this by having various flexible spaces and breakout areas, from standing meeting desks to our cosy Pod and Secret Pitch Room. The paths around the office have been mapped out to encourage people to move fluidly around the entire space too, and our big communal kitchen means you’ll bump into everyone over the course of a day.” They even host regular mindfulness, Pilates and martial arts classes here, as the layout allows – or even encourages – it, as well as get in guest speakers to inspire their Bath staff. (And those in London and Leeds too, via Zoom.) “Wellness and personal growth are really important to us,” Toby says. They’ve had a great first year as Edit, which means – Toby reckons – “we’ve plenty of things on the wish list to make the office even better.” (He’s still arguing for a beer pump and a ball pool, he says, though not everyone’s convinced.) “Our office space is amazing, but that doesn’t mean much unless you fill it with inspiring, creative, talented people – so it’s lucky we have exactly that! I’m also a big fan of trying to squeeze in a sneaky nap in the Pod with a book over my face…”

YOU’LL OFTEN FIND co-working projects offer some of the coolest office spaces in any city, and so it is in Bath, where the aptly named Spaces – on Upper Borough Walls, not far from Pulteney Bridge – is particularly fancy looking. “The flexible working market in the UK is strong right now, but Spaces has something different to offer,” says sales director John Ryder. “All our locations are constructed around a social heart, designed to bring people together to share ideas. There’s high-end designer furniture and a warm colour palette, so it’s both functional and beautiful. The whole idea is to change that feeling of ‘going to the office’, turning it into something that enthuses people, rather than inspiring a feeling of dread.” And the best bit? “Oh, the social hub at the heart of it all. This is where you’ll find our lovely receptionist team, community managers and where you can get the best coffee from expert baristas. Having a place for employees and clients to meet in a central, open-plan space encapsulates the culture we’ve developed – one that prioritises building community and an inspiring work environment.”

Want a workspace that’s as comfortable as a home? We reckon you need to check out Spaces… I BATH LIFE I 77


Cambridge House (top right) and more space-themed coolness at Rocketmakers

SOMETHING SIMILARLY COOL was created when Clarendon Business Centres moved into an old office building on Henry Street, near Manvers Street Car Park and usefully close to the train station, completely renovating it to provide 55 individual private offices. “It’s no secret that Bath has long been lacking in office space, let alone that of grade A quality,” says centre manager Tom Endacott, “so our vision for Cambridge House was of a luxurious 5-star boutique hotel. Far from corporate and drab, there are pockets of quirky flair all over the building. Each floor has its own shape theme, with 3D wall sculptures, art pieces and uniquely decorated private phone booths following that theme on every floor.” Indeed, the whole thing has a polished, futuristic feel; you walk in from 19th century Georgian streets to a little piece of the 22nd century. There are breakout areas throughout, and even a roof terrace. “We’ve purposely kept the design of the individual private offices unbranded, clean and simple, providing a blank canvas for each business to do with as they will. We’ll even arrange for a handyman to come along and help!” Tom’s personal favourite part is the roof terrace, not just a popular lunchtime spot but also sure to wow guests. “It’s perfect for getting a bit of fresh air or much-needed recalibration of the mind during a lunchtime mindfulness session,” Tom says, “or simply to host an informal meeting with a view.” For more,,,,



Elm Workspace is behind many of Bath’s cool offices Want a great office yourself? Elm Workspace can help, supplying furniture from leading UK manufacturers, plus an in-house design team. “Even a small shift in wellbeing can have a dramatic impact on productivity,” says their Richard Hofen. “Great offices make people more engaged, happy and healthy. It seems like common sense.” A shift they’ve seen lately is the move away from individual desks towards a more collaborative environment. “Businesses might supply seven desks for every 10 staff,” he says. “There’s more openplan working, breakout spaces, even sleep rooms.” Ah, sleep rooms. Now there’s a thought… For more,

High quality flexible serviced offices in Bath city centre Tel: 01225 618 200 |

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It’s the city’s business




Home Instead, a Bath and West Wiltshire-based home care company, has been named one of the top 20 Most Recommended providers in the South West in the Home Care Awards 2019. Based on reviews left on – known as the Trip Advisor of that industry – the award is given for high ratings from customers in areas including staff, care and support, value for money and overall confidence. “This wouldn’t be possible without our team of wonderful caregivers,” says Alison Yeatman, co-owner of Home Instead Senior Care Bath with her husband, Nick, “and we only hire people we would actually trust to look after our own families. Our team is out there every day, genuinely and actively caring for older people in the community. To read these reviews, and see how valued they are, is incredibly gratifying for all of us. Many of our caregivers join the team because they want to make a positive difference in their communities. They come with an empathetic nature and a passion for the role, which we prize above previous experience.” For more: Zoe Jeffrey: the brains behind the brand

The Perfect Fit

Alison and Nick Yeatman: thrilled by the recognition

Blossom and Wren, the new Bathbased workout apparel business, is officially on the radar. Started by designer Zoe Jeffrey back in January with the help of a Transmit start-up loan, Blossom and Wren has gone from strength to strength ever since. In a saturated market, Zoe has stuck her head above the parapet with a business leading through values of sustainability and collaboration. Well versed with the trials of finding women’s clothes that actually fit well, not only does Blossom and Wren offer a geninely full range, from UK sizes

eight to 26, but Zoe runs ‘co-design’ workshops where women are invited to share their preferred fit of a garment, getting into the nitty gritty of waist and necklines to create the perfect piece. Every Blossom and Wren item is made to order in 14 days, which means customers can either choose an existing piece from the website, or, if they’re so inclined, contact Zoe for a bespoke one unique to them – free of charge. Making to order also allows Blossom and Wren to cut out waste. For more:




Royds Withy King’s Jake Xu and Shane Carnell-Xu corporate team has supported a Bath-based beauty start-up, Shakeup Cosmetics, with an equity investment to aid in the launch of the business. The deal comes as the cosmetics company, founded by twin brothers Jake Xu and Shane Carnell-Xu, prepares to launch their new range of skincare-based cosmetic products for men, which they’ve described as ‘game-changing’ for men’s beauty. launch in September. James and his team “We are absolutely delighted to have at Royds Withy King have been the perfect secured our seed funding from two legal partner to support us through the incredible entrepreneurs, who have negotiations with our investors. They took a built a successful global consumer brand commercial and pragmatic approach, while from the ground up,” Shane says. “This still providing invaluable advice with our investment will allow us to proceed with full best interests at heart.” production, and strengthen our marketing For more: support for Shakeup Cosmetics’ imminent

The Stone King gang: Lucie Willis, Helen Ewart, Samantha Walker, Danielle Saint, George Capon and Samantha Kimber

THE CLEAN UP Stone King is going litter picking. The law firm is holding a Bath Litter Pick on 25 September, running from 5-6pm, and is looking for other businesses to join them. “Bath is a beautiful city to live and work in, and we want to help keep it looking at its best,” says the company’s managing partner, Steven Greenwood. “As part of our Corporate Social Responsibility, we’re committed to helping with good causes, and hope our actions will inspire other businesses to take part. We are committed to being a socially responsible business, both internally and externally, and believe that it’s crucial for us to make a positive impact on the communities in which we work, and on our stakeholders.” Volunteers will be working in Green Park and along the River Avon, with the potential for other areas to be added as volunteers sign up. Businesses interested in taking part should email, or call 01225 478180; 84 I BATH LIFE I

The past is a foreign country, they say…

THE BEES KNEES Knees Home and Electrical is celebrating its 140th birthday. The local destination store for stunning kitchens, with shops in Trowbridge and Malmesbury, started out in 1879, originally as an ironmongers. It was a little over 100 years later, towards the end of the 1980s, that Knees settled into the business it is today. “Throughout the last 140 years, the company has operated on many diverse platforms,” says Marcus Holbrow. “It’s been a car dealership, in retail and engineering. The passing years, and fluctuating economic climates through the decades, have influenced the huge changes and evolution that have been necessary to ensure the continuation of the company. We remain always mindful, though, that customer service and the support of the local community is at the forefront of our continuing success story.” For more: You can see they did things differently there


Speeches at the ready: it’s the main event




From networking breakfasts to invaluable evening courses, make a note of the courses and classes that will help your business flourish

IT’S ALMOST THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN… The Bath Life Awards are back for 2020, following the record-breaking success of this year’s celebrations


n 2019, we saw the biggest and best Bath Life Awards yet: more nominations, more finalists, more sponsors and many magic moments. It was a total sell-out event, with many on the waiting list for tickets. The awards are backed by an eight-month, high profile, all-channels, integrated media marketing campaign, peaking in February. And indeed, as a result, in 2019 the awards were trending on Twitter in the UK, such was the massive interest in them. The 2020 awards are already highly-supported, with the initial roster of sponsors signed up, including headliners The Royal Crescent Hotel and category sponsors and partners including Datasharp, Jelf, Bath BID, Bath Audi, Bath Rugby, Bryers, Curo and Freestyle Designs. Limited sponsorships remain, so get in touch if you want to be involved.

The 2020 Bath Life Awards will again be held at The Assembly Rooms, this year on 27 February, with the all-important nominations opening in October. “We are thrilled that so many businesses enjoyed the awards this time around, with positivity and support from the full array of Bath’s organisations,” says Steph Dodd, MediaClash event director. “Now for the great challenge of making next year an even better celebration of the city!” Information for businesses on how to win an award will be available via the website. “We’re keen for all companies to put the best possible case forward for a Bath Life Award,” Steph says. “Our comprehensive online guide will walk businesses through what the judges are looking for, and explain the entire process.” For sponsorship enquiries, contact Pat White at;

5 SEPTEMBER BATH UNTAPPED Don’t miss this networking event for the creative marketing industry in Bath. Open to all business owners and marketeers, this is a networking opportunity with a difference, where real industry experts can share their knowledge and experience across the marketing industry. It’s a great chance to learn and to build your network. 6.30-9.30pm; free; Walcot House, Walcot Street; 11 SEPTEMBER FULFIL YOUR POTENTIAL: WOMEN AND LONE PARENTS This event is aimed at promoting opportunities for women and lone parents looking to return to work. Hosted by Achieve, an employment hub set up by BANES Council, the event will help link up women with jobs that match their skill set, promote work/life balance and ensure valuable skill sets are not lost due to time out of the labour market. 12.30-3pm; free; Guildhall; 18 SEPTEMBER CE BATH CLUB WINE AND CHEESE TASTING EVENT Construction Excellence Bath and sponsors Western Building Consultants are set to host a wine and cheese tasting evening. It’ll be a tasty opportunity to expand your palate – and your network. 6pm; £5 CE national, regional and Bath club members, £15 non-members; Western Bistro, Weston, Bath; www.constructingexcellencesw.

There’s a reason he’s Hall of Fame...


Home grown forward, and Hall of Fame inductee, John Hall has been appointed Club President at Bath Rugby Club. Hall has a long history with the club, where he’s had a 14-year senior career, including a captainship between 1993 and 1995 and appearances in five winning Cup Finals, before being appointed director of rugby. In his new role, John will continue to represent the club and play host to visiting teams at home games. He’ll also take on a community engagement role as well as working with the Past Players Management Team. “I am delighted to play my part to help shape the club moving into a new era,” he says, “and whilst my days on the field are over, off the field I believe that with the club, the management team and the new stadium, we have the potential to change lives in Bath.”


Etons of Bath is on the move. The specialist interior design practice for period homes and hotels is leaving its office on Walcot Street in October for a new studio in Bathwick. The new space on Henrietta Street will house a library of designs, two presentation rooms and a design Sarah Latham of Etons I BATH LIFE I 85



the shop will be ready to open later this autumn. As well as displaying a permanent selection of our most popular lighting and home furnishing designs, we want this shop to be an exciting interiors destination on Walcot Street. We are planning to run a series of seasonal interiors events and workshops, collaborating with local makers and designers.

As you begin expanding outside of Suffolk, what are you doing to keep the sense of family in the business?

As we grow and develop, ultimately at our heart we are still very much an independent retailer. The passion for Great British design runs through every piece we make, and that pride in our designs is really what draws us all together.


Cassie Rowland

Cassie Rowland, creative director at Jim Lawrence, gives the inside scoop on their brand new premises on Walcot Street So, Cassie, could you start by telling us about Jim Lawrence?

Jim Lawrence Lighting & Home is a family owned independent lighting and home furnishings business that started life on a farm kitchen table over 25 years ago. The company is still owned and run by Jim and his wife Sheena, and they are now joined by over 150 employees at their Suffolk workshop. Their extensive range of over 9,000 period-style handcrafted products includes fabrics, home furnishings, lighting, lampshades, switches, sockets, curtains and curtain poles, and window and door furniture.

What made you decide it was time to expand outside Suffolk, where you began?

We have been showcasing our designs in a pop-up shop at events for about five years, and found our customers really valued seeing our product range in person, not just online. It seemed a natural step to expand this offering into a more permanent space where


customers can be inspired by our designs and period-look styling.

And why did you choose Bath? I have long hankered to come back to the West Country (I lost my heart to the West many years ago), so when Jim and Sheena mooted the idea of opening a West Country base for the brand, I jumped at the chance to develop it. With its stunning Georgian architecture and reputation for outstanding independent retailers, I knew that Bath would be a fantastic fit for us.

How did you come to pick Walcot Street, in particular?

I have fond memories delving for interiors treasures in Walcot Reclamation many years ago, and have always been drawn to this beautiful and creative street. Walcot’s long standing reputation as the artisan quarter is as strong now as ever. It’s just such a go-to location for interiors expertise, and I’m really excited we

will be part of that. From carpets and paints to mirrors and kitchens, upholsters and framers to interior designers and weavers, there really isn’t anywhere quite like Walcot for interior inspiration.

Tell us about the new space – it looks exciting!

The shop front had us from the start. The iconic bow fronted widows lead into a jewel of a Georgian shop, complete with two beautiful original fireplaces – it’s a perfect backdrop for our period lighting designs. Our company style sits somewhere between vintage elegance and modern country styling, so we were absolutely thrilled to find the older part of the shop leads through into a bright, more spacious warehouseinspired area too.

And what are your plans for the new shop? We’re working hard renovating the building at the moment, and

Go on, then: in three words, how would you describe Jim Lawrence designs? Elegant, timeless, authentic.

Any trends we should be on the lookout for?

The trend for warm metallic accents in lighting continues to be strong in interiors in AW19. Inspired by this, we are thrilled to be launching three of our most popular pendants in a new Heritage Copper finish later in the year. The patina of the aged copper gives a real depth and character to the lighting designs. Velvets are huge at the moment too, and it’s easy to see why – they have such instant luxe appeal. This autumn sees the launch of a new Burnt Orange Velvet at Jim Lawrence. Joining our naturally inspired Hunstanton Velvet collection, it will be available as a cut length, a cushion, and in a variety of lampshade styles and shapes.

Anything else coming up we should know about?

I’m in the process of putting the shop team together, so if you’re passionate about interiors and interested in being part of our new store here in Bath, I’d love to hear from you. Just contact us through the website. For more,

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BATH LIFE AWARDS 2019 Stephen Baddeley, director of sport at the University of Bath, is pretty much into winning in general. From Bath Life Awards to trophies and medals, Team Bath has nabbed them all… What was it like to win a Bath Life Award?

It was a tremendous honour. To win the Health & Wellbeing Award was a great achievement in itself, but to then receive the Platinum Award [the Bath Life Awards’ final gong, celebrating the best of the Award winners] was a wonderful and unexpected bonus, especially considering the outstanding calibre of competition we were up against.


Where do you keep them?

They take pride of place alongside sporting mementoes from Olympic and Commonwealth Games in the trophy cabinet located in our Hall of Fame for Sport gallery, celebrating the outstanding contribution made by athletes, coaches and staff to our sporting legacy.

Why do you think you won?

At Team Bath we strive to create an inspirational sports and fitness environment for people of all ages and abilities to live a healthy, active lifestyle. Thousands of school students


and community club members use our facilities or receive coaching and other support from our staff every month. We have strong links to the city through fellow sporting institutions like Bath Rugby and our family of sponsors and business partners. We also contribute to the city’s profile by hosting major events like the Fed Cup in tennis and Modern Pentathlon European Championships, and being home to Olympic, Paralympic, World and Commonwealth Champions. We are a major local employer of sport and fitness experts, with 180 staff supporting all of our activities, and we run courses for people to train in the industry through our training and development team.

Wow. And what sets you apart?

There really is something for everyone here. Our Sports Training Village, or STV, receives around 1.6 million visits annually – from toddlers enjoying their first taste of sport to people working out in group exercise classes, and from elite sportspeople targeting medals to retirees taking their weekly swim. We support people at all stages thanks to our expert gym, physio and sport science staff, and we provide training and development opportunities through vocational courses. We are also continually investing in our facilities, and this year opened a new two-tier extension to our Team Bath Gym & Fitness Centre.

What do you really love about your job?


Seeing the positive impact sport has on people’s lives. Watching someone like pentathlete Jamie Cooke – who we see training here day in, day out – be crowned World and European Champion. Seeing young people visiting the STV on school trips, or attending one of our Tribe camps, be inspired to pursue their dreams. It’s just a great environment to be in.

Where do the frustrations lie? University of Bath director of sport Stephen Baddeley, with sports facility manager Ron Stewart


Because we are renowned for being home to Olympic and Paralympic medallists, the perception can

sometimes be that the Sports Training Village is for elite sportspeople only. That isn’t the case, and we are proud of the fact that our facilities are open to the public all year round. There aren’t many places where you can literally swim alongside people training towards Tokyo 2020, but you can here.

What’s the best part about working in Bath?

There is a real passion for sport in Bath, which is clear to see from the number of community clubs based here at the STV. There is also a supportive business community in the city, and we have built a number of strong relationships over the years.

What’s the best piece of advice you've been given?

Don’t send or reply to work emails late at night!

Any exciting plans to watch out for?

We are always looking at events to host and ways we can improve our facilities and offering, so watch this space! The big events on the sporting radar in 2020 are the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, and there are around 60 sportspeople who train or have trained here that are hoping to qualify. It is also the 15th anniversary of the Netball Superleague and, as founder members and the most successful franchise, we will be marking that occasion. Before that we have our annual BUCS Super Rugby Anniversary Game at The Rec on Wednesday, October 16 – come along to enjoy some top-class student sport.

Finally, tell us something surprising about Team Bath.

The name Team Bath was originally launched as part of the city, university and Rugby Club’s bid to become a national centre for sport. It was a name designed to be inclusive across the university and city. We are proud to be part of Bath’s fantastic heritage.

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Thinking ahead

Local legal expert HELEN STARKIE offers up some useful advice…


ome of the most common questions we get asked in our practice (and our answers) are along the following lines:

My friend has transferred the ownership of her house to her children to avoid nursing home fees when she gets old and Inheritance Tax when she dies. Should I do the same? Almost certainly not! Your friend has not solved either issue by transferring her ownership. Should she need care, she will be assessed as if she still owned the house as she has deliberately deprived herself of an assessable asset – and if she continues to live in the house her gift will be treated for Inheritance Tax purposes as not having been made. She has also created the possibility of a whole variety of other problems – among them the exposure of her children to a significant liability to Capital Gains Tax – but there are other sensible ways of planning to minimise the impact of future care costs about which your solicitor can advise you. My friend tells me that I do not need to make a Lasting Power of Attorney now because my husband will be able to deal with my affairs if I become ill. All our assets are in joint names. Your friend is wrong again. Your husband will not automatically be able to deal with your affairs even if your assets are in joint names. Indeed he may find his he is unable to access even his own funds in your joint account. Some banks freeze all accounts, including joint ones, when a customer loses their capacity to deal with their finances. And whereas all investments may be held jointly there will almost certainly be some things in your sole name – your pension for example. Surely as I am mentally fully capable there is no need for me to make a Lasting Power of Attorney yet? After all I may never become ill – and I can make a Lasting Power of Attorney if and when I do. You need to have mental capacity to make a Lasting Power of Attorney. Loss of capacity is not always gradual, allowing us to plan. It can happen suddenly (a stroke or a road accident, for example) in which case you will have left things too late. Furthermore a Lasting Power cannot be used until it has been registered at the Office of the Public Guardian and that process takes time – often as long as three months. Your affairs will need dealing with as soon as you become ill.

“YOUR AFFAIRS WILL NEED DEALING WITH AS SOON AS YOU BECOME ILL” My mother suffers from dementia. She has never made a Lasting Power of Attorney or a Will. I cannot access her money to pay her bills and I think there may be a big tax bill to pay when she dies. I am worried sick. What can I do? It is a pity that your mother did not save you the angst you are suffering by taking the simple steps of making a Lasting Power of Attorney and a Will whilst she was fit and healthy! However it is not too late to sort things out. Although your mother suffers from dementia and may not have sufficient mental capacity to manage her own affairs, she may still have enough understanding to make a Lasting Power of Attorney. Legal tests for capacity differ according to the exercise being undertaken. Your mother may even have capacity to make a Will (the capacity test here is more complex than that for making a Power of

Attorney, but more specific than what is required to manage one’s own affairs independently). A solicitor specialising in the field will be able to assess your mother’s capacity for both exercises and prepare the relevant documents for her to sign if capable. And if your mother does lack capacity all is still not lost (although the cost of sorting things will be significantly higher than if she had planned ahead). An application can be made to the Court of Protection for a deputy (possibly you) to be appointed to deal with her affairs – and it is possible to apply to the same court for a Statutory Will to be made on your mother’s behalf to address the tax issues you mention. ■

Helen Starkie Solicitor 38 Gay Street, Bath, BA1 2NT; 01225 442353; I BATH LIFE I 91


Meet the financial adviser Bath’s financial advisers are on hand to help you balance the books



CHARTERED FINANCIAL PLANNER, UNIVIDUAL 01225 427474;; Why do I need a financial planner? Everyone needs one, from buying your first home to retirement and beyond. On average people who have a financial planner have 41% more income and wealth in retirement compared to those who don’t, so why wouldn’t you? What have been your career highlights? Qualifying to become Chartered and Fellow will always be up there for me. It is the highest level of qualification you can get in our field. More recently though, being awarded the Pension Transfer Gold Standard Award. Consumer confidence in pensions is low and it gives my clients the reassurance they need in this complex area. What is your philosophy? I don’t tell people what to do – me and my clients are a team! I take the time to educate people and businesses about their finances, meaning that clients can make their own decisions based on the technical information and expertise I provide. What might we be surprised to learn? In the UK there are not enough financial planners qualified to service those that want financial advice, let alone those that need it. What is worrying is that this position is only getting worse. It is anticipated that a further 15,000 are due to retire in the next 5-10 years.


Greg Harris

Ed McKenzie



MANAGING DIRECTOR, ONE 77 MORTGAGES 01225 667177; Why would somebody need a mortgage adviser? A mortgage adviser/broker can search the market for you and find the best deals. You’d be daft if you just go to your bank for a mortgage, as you won’t know if the bank next door is doing a better deal. We can compare and contrast deals and give expert advice on the best option. What is the biggest misconception surrounding financial advice? Lots of people think all brokers charge fees, but every adviser/broker in the UK gets paid by the bank the business is placed with and as a result, we don’t charge client fees on top i.e – our service is completely free of charge to clients. In what ways do you think your work benefits people? We allow them to compare all the lenders via a simple phone call or via our website. Not shopping around lenders can result in clients paying thousands of pounds more over a couple of years for their mortgage! What do you specialize in? All areas of property finance, be that residential purchase and remortgages, bridging deals, commercial finance and development finance. Basically, anything relating to property finance.


What is your favourite part of the job? I really enjoy working with clients to solve complex planning issues and provide peace of mind and plain English to an often complex and gibberishfilled industry. What do you specialize in? I personally specialise in final salary reviews for clients considering the option of moving these to a personal pension scheme. This is an area that has been heavily mis-sold over the last few years and we spend a great deal of time and detail to ensure that, even in the most extreme of circumstances it is in the client’s best interests to transfer into a more flexible scheme. What professional accomplishment has made you proudest? Achieving Chartered Financial Planner Status and Fellow. Exams have never been my favourite part of learning and it was a real challenge to manage running a practice, a young family and studying for exams! Can you share your plans for the future? We have taken on a number of young advisers who are on the early journey I was 15 years ago and we are working to ensure they have the ability to give quality advice and a high level of ongoing service for their clients.

BECKFORD JAMES 01225 437600;;

Alastair McKee

Christian Feroze

What trends have you seen developing in your industry? Ethical investing is growing considerably and we have spent a lot of time finessing our ethical investment proposition. Saying that, there are still risks with ethical investing. We conduct an ethical investment survey with clients, which has made me realise how ethical investing is interpreted in very different ways by clients. What is your firm’s philosophy? Our clients are at the centre of all we do and we set high standards, aiming to be seen as the professionals’ professional. Our core values would include integrity, approachability and reliability. Ultimately, we try to make complex financial decisions easy to understand for clients. What would you say to someone thinking about becoming a financial adviser? You need to be a people person, enjoy problem solving and learning (there are a lot of exams). It can be quite stressful as you can be dealing with large sums of money on very complex topics. The job doesn’t feature at many career fairs, by all means send an email if you would like some more information.





Why would somebody need a financial planner?

We help people define what they want their lives to look like, then create a financial plan that allows them the best chance of achieving this lifestyle. We also work closely with those who’ve have suffered an injury and need help managing their finances to account for the cost of care etc. We also provide advice to charities relating to their investment governance. What have been your career highlights?

We established Epoch Wealth Management nine years ago and have just been acquired by Brewin Dolphin. They have a similar ethos to Epoch and our clients will benefit greatly from the deal; we’ll retain our ability to provide award-winning financial planning advice and now have access to award-winning investment management through Brewin Dolphin.

Barry Newbury

How has financial advice changed in the last few years?

It’s becoming harder for smaller practices to grow their business with increasing regulation and higher costs associated with running a financial planning business. Although Epoch was very successful, we felt the Brewin Dolphin deal allowed us the best chance to maintain our incredibly high standards and client proposition. The value of investments and any income from them can fall and you may get back less than you invested. The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily the views held throughout Brewin Dolphin Ltd. Jonothan McColgan

What do you specialise in? I am an independent and chartered financial planner helping clients with every aspect of their financial affairs, covering investments, retirement and tax planning. We find that most of our clients have a particular focus on when and how they can afford to retire. How important is retirement planning? It is the single most important part of everyone’s financial plan, because everyone will have to stop working at some point, and then they will have to survive for the rest of their life on what they have saved.   In what ways do you think your work benefits people? Any retirement plan takes time, hard work and financial sacrifices from our clients. But it is fantastic when we finally sit down, and I can tell them that they no longer need to work and can just focus on doing what is really important to them. What professional accomplishment has made you proudest?   It has been a really exciting few years as I have been recognised as one of the top financial planners in the country, winning 17 national awards since 2015. In particular 2016 was an incredible year, winning Financial Adviser of the Year at the Growth Investor Awards and Retirement and Later Life Specialist of the Year at the Personal Finance Awards.



With both a lift and potential servant’s quarters, 19 Somerset Lane is a true millionaire mansion By Matilda Walton I BATH LIFE I 95



t such a high level of luxury that the estate agents at Savills have suggested reserving the garden floor as a separate apartment for the staff, 19 Somerset Lane sits comfortably above other £1 million+ properties in the sought after Lansdown area. And not just because it’s got room for the servants. A contemporary ‘upside down’ house, the entrance and four reception rooms are found on the first floor. Southfacing, they enjoy a beautiful, quintessentially Bath view – and with a balcony stretching almost the entire width of the building, accessed via bi-folding doors from the drawing room, dining room and kitchen/breakfast room, you need never miss the chance to enjoy a sunny day again. As the continuing battle over air con versus the desire for open windows in the Bath Life offices would indicate, we’re big proponents of letting the fresh air in (or half of us are). Never to be outdone in the fancy stakes, when entering 19 Somerset Lane you’re first going to notice the glass-walled passenger lift, which services all three floors of the property. Should the lift not appeal, your other option is the marble staircase. Housed in an impressive tower that protrudes, turret-like, from the side of the property and complete with ornately carved handrail, you’ll always have those princess in the tower/making a grand entrance (complete with feather boa) vibes, whichever way you choose to travel. Like many contemporary properties, the design of the house is built around flow and versatility. Sliding pocket


doors between the central dining room and hand-built kitchen easily transform the space from single rooms to an open plan feel – a sense that is only enhanced when the doors to the balcony are also pushed back on a warm, sunny day. From the study at the rear of the property you can reach a secluded roof terrace through a quirky arched doorway that creates an unusual focal point at the rear of the house, which is otherwise comprised of hard, squareshaped lines. With six bedrooms, depending on whether you choose to use them for that, the aforementioned four reception rooms and five bathrooms, this could make for a family home, yes, or an opulent site for entertaining friends. Let’s face it – if you buy 19 Somerset Lane, yours is the only house any of the social circle are going to want to stay at. Outside has the appearance of faultless modernity without sacrificing the Georgian landscape of the surrounding area. Built from Bath stone, it is an intriguing blend of contemporary and classical architecture, with the lines of the balcony and terrace combined with the curves of the French windows on the lower floor lending the property a striking appearance. Meticulously kept gardens surround this particularly peaceful home, landscaped to perfection around the front, side and rear – and kept nice and private by a high stone wall. With its beautiful location, unique design – you’d be hard pushed to find another luxury new build quite like this in Bath – and its generous list of luxuries big and small, with 19 Somerset Lane the price tag really is justified by the quality on display. n

HOUSE NUMBERS Square footage






Outside Plenty of space for cars, with a driveway and open garage that extends to a parking area to the rear of the property. The gardens are professionally

landscaped with patio areas, and at the back of the house is protected woodland Price £3.95M Where 19 Somerset Lane For more: Savills Bath, Edgar House, 17 George Street, Bath, BA1 2EN; 01225 474500; I BATH LIFE I 97

Cosmic jungle

The Courts at Holt is a 16th century home surrounded by National Trust gardens, a fascinating maze of water features and ‘garden rooms’ created in the early part of the 20th century. Here the singularly stylish Sonya Rothwell has designed things in her own image, and runs her Gallery Beautiful online emporium

Words by Wendy Lyne Photography by Chris Wakefield, Crescent Photography 98 I BATH LIFE I



ut at Holt near Bradford on Avon sits The Courts Garden, a National Trust property with seemingly endless history, and made up of many intriguing ‘garden rooms’, each designed quite differently to the last. What’s less well known is the Grade II* listed manor house here, built in around 1730, and – unlike the gardens – a private home, not open to the public. Sonya Rothwell has been here for about six years now, finding the house online while she and her then-seven-year-old daughter, Peony, were touring the world. “We were trekking in darkest Peru, never imagining that we’d actually up sticks from Sydney and move here,” Sonya says. “But there she stood, waiting for us. It was a beautiful house, large enough for all our big ideas, and sitting within a secret garden, walled and full of magic.”

The pair love living here, Sonya explains, having The Courts Garden all to themselves in the mornings and evenings. “Being part of the community of gardeners and volunteers is so special,” she says. “The National Trust put on wonderful events on the lawn, like bawdy Shakespearian picnics by acting troupe The Handle Bards – who’ve become our dear friends – and we often hold picnics and parties. And family and friends come to stay, because a house like this needs people. In the summer, our favourite thing is to invite them to bring their own ‘weapons of mass hydration’ – filled with warm water, so it’s not too brutal – and we have a huge water fight.” I BATH LIFE I 99

RESIDENCE She means water pistols, of course. Inside, the look is an elegant, eclectic mix of the old and the new –“dilettantish antiquity muddled with space-age glamour,” Sonya says – which blends bold contemporary art with curiosities collected on their travels. There are hand-painted pieces, vintage treasures, sleek modern creations, dynamic celestial patterns, shimmering pearlescent textures, plus endless tropical plants offering splashes of kaleidoscopic colour. It gives you quite an insight into the sort of thing you’ll find at Sonya’s online art, fashion and interiors emporium, Gallery Beautiful. “It borrows its name from Temple Beautiful, which began in ancient Egypt as a great ‘centre of spirit’,” she says, “dealing with the arts, meditation, healing and higher consciousness. Housed within a huge pyramid, its inner walls and ceilings were adorned with constellations in opalescent hues. People elevated their consciousness there using art, music, dance, singing, chanting, exquisite decor, fragrant incense and meditation.” Indeed The Courts has almost turned into Sonya’s own ‘Temple Beautiful’, attracting – she says – “artists, sculptors, poets, writers, designers, film makers, musicians, yogis, healers and mystics” from near and far.

Around every corner, expect an unexpected colour scheme or statement piece



Sonya (top) and details from her house, many of which can be bought from her at I BATH LIFE I 101

oak flooring – carpets – luxury vinyl

Showroom in Chelsea Road, Bath 5 Chelsea Road, Bath BA1 3DU

Westside Design Bespoke Kitchen Makers Since 1983 Lansdown Road, Bath BA1 5EQ

01225 483818


We rarely get ‘bureau envy’, but we did today…

What’s the vibe here? “Definitely ‘cosmic jungle’! Nature brings us closer to spirit, so we’ve brought her inside. Life-like butterflies are subtly scattered here and there, as if just settled on a palm frond, drum shade or painting. The fresh fragrance of rainforest in the air – and birdsong emanating from the garden – really completes the hothouse feel.” The way Sonya’s designed things, each room shows off at least a few of her Gallery Beautiful pieces – some wallpaper here, a chair there – and it’s through buying these that clients can support her umbrella charity, Temple Beautiful, which helps small, sustainable NGOs make a difference to disadvantaged children around the world. After all, Sonya travels a lot – she was off to Kenya right after we visited her – and the whole set-up was inspired by, she says, “my desire to be the change I wish to see in the world, and empower many of the beautiful children I meet on my travels.” The Courts is more than just a home, then, but the centre of a business too. “Art is a way of being,” Sonya says, “and there’s no switching off. Creation requires immense self discipline, focus, solitude and stillness – there’s no room for distraction when one’s in the flow – so working from home, and being able to take breaks for a walking meditation in the garden, couldn’t be more perfect.” I BATH LIFE I 103

RESIDENCE Sonya’s inspiration comes from life – “like Matisse, everywhere I go, I draw with my eyes,” Sonya says – and she describes India, in particular, as like “stepping into a dream,” with every inch strange, bewildering and beautiful. “I was particularly taken by the bold, contrasting colours of Samode Palace outside Jaipur,” she says. “The grand, intricately hand-painted adjoining rooms there influenced the colours of our formal rooms, flowing from the cool tones – greys, purples, teals and acidic green – of the sitting room to the warm, earthy yellows and oranges in the dinning room. I want people visiting here to believe in magic; to feel love, peace and joy.” Finally, what’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said about your home? “That’s easy. Just how relaxed they feel here.” To shop Sonya’s curated interiors, To attend events in The Courts Garden, the-courts-garden/whats-on The next exhibition is Elements of Nature, a sculpture exhibition by local sculptor Ian Marlow; see page 38 for more. Got an amazing local home? Want it to feature in Residence? Contact

QUICK FIRE ROUND A few insights into Sonya Rothwell’s ‘cosmic jungle’… What are you currently reading? Magicians of The Gods, by Graham Hancock. Who did your hair for these pics? Brandon at Melanie Giles. Whose house would you really like to snoop around? I’d love be transported back in time to see what the ancient civilisations were really like. I’d start with the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Labyrinth and the Pyramids of Giza, then maybe Göbekli Tepe, Angkor Wat, Machu Picchu, Sacsayhuaman, Chichen Itza…

Classical furniture meets exotic pieces and luxurious accessories in unusual colours; business as usual at The Courts


Does the interior of your home reflect your personality? It’s ethereal, spiritual, sensual, whimsical, playful, colourful and unique – so yes, I suppose it does!


“I find beauty in visceral themes” out all about them makes for a pretty varied and interesting job. There’s been a gulf between what design education offered and the industry needed.

JAMIE GALLAGHER Though a graphic designer by trade, Jamie’s turned painter in recent years; partly for fun, partly as a sort of therapy I seem to be constantly juggling my life. On the one hand

I’m founder and creative strategist at Hello, a brand design agency just outside Bath, and on the other I’m a figurative painter. I always used to keep it private and use it as a form of therapy almost, but now it’s becoming part of my identity. We’ve just moved to Nunney.

It’s a small village just outside Frome, and we’re on the cusp of finishing the renovation of a beautiful Georgian house – so knackered doesn’t come close. We come to Bath a lot, as its our nearest city. I’ve always loved the pace there, it’s just more chilled and easy than Bristol. We used to spend lots of time in Hunter & Sons, drinking outrageously good stout and eating buttermilk chicken – but when James Hunter closed and moved away we had to start spreading our gastronomic wings. Beckford Bottle Shop’s still there, though, so we’re surviving.


My favourite part of Bath is that snook up Bartlett Street to Saville Row. I love the shops there,

and it used to have two brilliant art galleries, Edgar Modern and David Simon Contemporary, now moved to Castle Cary. It’s a really interesting slice of independent businesses – and when you get to the top you’re at BBS.

I got into design because I liked comics. The prospectus for the

local art college in Hereford, where I grew up, showed kids drawing comics on the graphic design course page, and I thought that looked loads better than A levels. I opted for the art college route, rather than sixth form, and never looked back. I studied in Bristol and, since then, have spent 20 years in the industry. It’s the people and variety that have made it such a fascinating job – as a designer you essentially solve problems, and that’s addictive, so combining that with meeting people and finding

As an agency owner and employer, I felt our industry was missing out on talent by only drawing from the university system – so we’ve hired plenty of amazing talent from outside of this. I joined forces with some other local agency owners and founded Werkhouse, to deliberate the changing needs of the commercial design industry. How can graduates avoid the shock of deadlines and client negotiation when they enter a real studio environment? And how can we attract those creative thinkers for whom university is unaffordable or just not part of their expectations? Design is clearly an appealing industry. It exposes you to

interesting work and cool working environments, but it’s a lot tougher now – the expectations of clients are much greater, and the quality and volume of talent available to agencies is huge, so to stand out students need to be really dedicated, have great attitude – and hustle. A decent portfolio isn’t enough any more: how you handle yourself is almost more important. Painting started as therapy for me. I lost two close friends and

colleagues to cancer in the space of a couple of years, both young people in their early-mid thirties, and I started painting again to work through some of the stuff I was trying to process. I really found a flow, and since then I’ve pushed harder to develop my work and have been humbled by the response. I paint in an old mill in Frome, in the most stunning loft. It’s a beautiful space, and quite a contrast to my day job.

I paint predominantly in oils.

My work explores the concept of ‘identity’, as individuals are forced to experience psychological and emotional challenge, probably because of the relatively traumatic

experiences that inspired me to start. It finds beauty in life’s more visceral themes. I love the raw physicality of painting. I’ve a deep connection

with the materials and tactility of the process. From the heavy impasto oils and raw, textured linens to the delicate gold leaf and bleeding inks, each mark I make is instinctive, each image forged during the process, rather than conceived of in advance. My last show, Post Normality Reality Disorder, explored the psychological effects on society of the current extremes of social, political and cultural disruption. I think ‘post normality’ is a pretty good description of our world. I’m not really painting to make artwork to match someone’s interior decor. The people who

buy my work seem to connect with it on a personal level, and that’s exciting. I’m currently represented by Blackwater Gallery in Cardiff, a modern contemporary gallery situated in Cardiff Bay. I’m really proud to have it shown alongside their incredible stable of artists, such as Patricia Volk from Bradford on Avon and Loribelle Spirovski, an amazing figurative painter from Australia. The gallery is a beautiful split-level space, and really worth a visit.

I’m shockingly bad at painting skirting boards. For someone

with my creative resume. n

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Image shows Karndean Opus luxury vinyl tiles

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Bath Life – issue 399  

Bath Life – issue 399