Just to explain, on the location sandwiched between the bottom of
Longacre, where they made coaches for Kings and
These photographs speak for themselves but as you can see, the Vezey & Co advertisement of 1906 says 'By appointment to the Late Queen
“No 2 [now Caroline House] was the workshops of Messrs Vesey & Co, Coach Builders and Harness Makers; No 3 was the residence of the proprietor. They were coach makers to her Majesty Queen Victoria and to the King of
The family business received a large number of awards and recognition:
- They also received honourable mention at the International Exhibition of 1862 and were awarded a gold medal for their
- According to the edition of the Ports of the
The State coach was first used for the wedding of Queen Charlotte in 1762 to George III, then later used at Queen
- Also in 1817 when Queen Charlotte stayed in
Thanks to British and foreign royalty, nobility and others wealthy customers, the large workshops “situated in Long
After the closure of fantastic coach making business, a number of changes occurred in contemporary times
In 1910 the
Then Longacre reinvented itself to become a thriving community centre which helped social cohesion and provided music, a photographic gallery, carpentry workshops and vital community services for all…
The whole of the five storeys at Longacre Hall (or Caroline House) was used by various community groups and a Youth Training Project. In 1985 the garden at the back of the Longacre Hall which was first set up as a community garden. Walcot & Snow Hill residents are still very found of the visit of Floella Benjamin, OBE (www.floellabenjamin.com) to open this play garden.
Newspapers describe this garden as “children’s paradise” and many parents and now grown up children remember it as such. Sadly this public play area was closed without notice or consultation in the late 1990’s. It has remained inaccessible since and now, Somer proposes to put a three story building of doubtful design on this very location, which will mean the disappearance for ever of a valuable green space. Why such a thing when this green space has become vital to fight pollution (the
Though it was really such a useful resource for the adults and kept many children happy, the crèche at Longacre Hall sadly closed down as well in the late 1990’s when the local authority decided to stop supporting the community centre.
Also as you can see on the photographs before Somer (Bath Self Help) ultimately took on the whole building of Caroline House, a photographic gallery (F.Stop) was based on the site before moving to
Equally Caroline House aka Longacre Hall offered a great venue for music and concerts on the first 1st Floor. Local musician, Peter the Potter held classes for children, among others musician performance.
Finally on the 2nd and 3rd Floor, carpentry workshops offered children and young adults, the opportunity to develop useful skills to help find employment. More recently the FOTEC Centre on the ground floor, provided community service for unemployed and young people. It offered classes in basic reading and writing skills, IT skills training to help people to adjust in an ever changing working environment but, again under funding has meant almost non existent activities nowdays.
In 1935, No 3 Longacre was bought by a widow, Mrs Nellie Kemp, and she established a café and bed and breakfast accommodation. It was called Jubilee Café to mark the Silver Jubilee of King George V. With the war came rationing and the premises suffered a good deal of blast damage in the raids on
No 4, the next building along, before the alleyway, was a private house until it was leased to the West Indian Community. There is still a debate on the ownership of this particular building and as to why the local authority has left these properties to become derelict over many years despite several offers made to the Council by local businessmen to purchase No 4 to be used as a shop, and particularly when the area is clearly marked as a designated shopping area in the Bath Local Plan.
Then across the alleyway lies the Longacre Tavern, a contemporary dated building as per the photograph below. However the Long Acre Tavern also has a special place in the history of brewing in Bath but 1956 marked the closure of its brewery and finally the end of brewing activity in the city, a craft which almost certainly predated the Roman settlement and was one of the city’s main industries in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, was no more. Sources:
As you can see on the photographs the original Georgian building was demolished in the 1960’s and was rebuilt to a typical 60’s design, definitely another very fine example of the post war sack of Bath! Let’s hope that Somer and B&NES council will not continue to pursue their current plans in that sad tradition… but the design of the current extension behind No 2 to No 4 Longacre is far from encouraging.
Sadly the below photo illustrates what is now left of a site full of History and of a community centre that provided so much to the wider community for many years.
On 17 June 2008, Cllr Colin Darracott, Liberal Democrat and member of the Bath Planning Committee confirmed that B&NES Council is under an obligation to get best value for money when disposing of public owned properties with the exception of affordable housing or properties that may be of value to the community. We acknowledge the needs for change but with a past that has enriched the whole community, can Somer plans really be what the Council wishes for the future of Longacre and
And what are the reasons for B&NES Council to have left Longacre to fall apart for so long when the London Road is the main gateway to the city. The absence of community infrastructures is evident in the area and the
All ideas and proposals for the sustainable redevelopment of Longacre are welcome. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to comment or contribute.