Browse the shop

A history of Bath: image and reality

by Prof. Graham Davis and Dr Penny Bonsall


Free Shipping!

Please note, this book is now out of print.

A truly sumptuous book: beautifully illustrated and packed with insight and interest.

Bath is one of the most popular and significant tourist destinations in Britain. No fewer than four million visitors each year visit the much-renovated Roman Baths, marvel at the sites of this World Heritage city, or simply meander through its now carefully conserved eighteenth-century streets. For a few hours before they are whisked away to Stratford-upon-Avon, Edinburgh or London, they absorb the carefully presented image of Bath as ancient spa, elegant Georgian city and haunt of the likes of Richard ‘Beau’ Nash or Jane Austen. Bath has always tried to present itself in a favourable light.

The true picture of Bath throughout its long and varied history is of course much fuller, more interesting and varied than the façade presented to casual visitors. From its earliest known history as spa during the Roman period, Bath transformed itself into Saxon monastic town and subsequently Norman cathedral city. It developed into a regional market and – perhaps surprisingly – a centre of the woollen trade during the Middle Ages, before becoming probably the most important health resort of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Thereafter, rapid expansion in the Georgian period created an enduring architectural legacy which made Bath the country’s foremost fashionable resort, attracting increasing numbers of visitors. Later, the city experienced some years of relative decline, from which it re-emerged, this time as a favoured place of genteel residence in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This theme of constant re-invention now sees Bath attempt to become a ‘festival city’, in the market for cultural tourism, while the long-anticipated opening of a new thermal spa should bring a new lease of life to the hot springs which, of course, represent Bath’s very oldest attraction, and in many ways its very raison d’être.

This book goes beyond the narrow, popular image of Bath to explore years of extraordinary change, variety and interest, focusing wherever possible on the lives of ordinary residents, and seeking to explain as well as to chronicle Bath’s truly unique historical legacy.

276, mostly in full colour
Date of Publication:
July 2006
243 × 169 mm

Delivery Info

We post out orders within 2 working days of receiving them. We use Royal Mail for most orders, and can send items by Special or Recorded delivery if needed. For large or heavy orders we may use a courier.

We use Paypal

Paypal handle all of our transactions. If you don't have a Paypal account you can still use the checkout process (and don't need to sign up with them either). If you have any trouble, do give us a call.

Give us a call

We can assist you with online orders or take your order over the phone. Either way, give us a ring on

01524 840111

No phone menus or hold music, just real people!

© 2011 Carnegie Online Shop Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha