View down Great Pulteney Street towards Laura Place Turnstyles at the Rec Minervas Temple in Sydney Gardens Holburne museum
 

History

Great Pulteney Street is a grand boulevard that joins Pulteney Bridge to Bathwick in the eastern side of Bath. Commissioned by Sir William Pulteney, it was designed by the architect Thomas Baldwin and completed in 1789.

Connaught Mansions

At over 1,000 feet (300 m) long and 100 feet (30 m) wide, the road itself is the widest and grandest in Bath. The architect only constructed the façade though - developers acquired plots and built the actual structures behind. This means that, although obviously similar, many of the properties have different internal features, and some large stretches were used to build hotels.

One of the side streets off Great Pulteney Street, Sunderland Street, is the shortest street in town, with only one address. After 1789 the financial climate did not encourage further building, the Panic of 1797 (Deflation 1793 - 1800) was followed by the Depression of 1807. Bath was also affected by a serious flood in 1809[1] which would have flooded many of the basements in Great Pulteney Street and the surrounding fields.

Numbers 1 to 7 were a single government office, now designated as a Grade I listed building.[2] Numbers 41A and 42 to 77 have also been Grade I listed.[3]

The fountain (Great Pulteney Street/Laura Place) was not part of the original plan. After completion of the main street in 1877 local residents petitioned and successfully raised significant funds to build a grand column (rather like Nelson's Column in London). However as construction of the column started, the residents realised that the addition would tower over the area (it would be 50% taller than the houses), and so they then petitioned for it to be cancelled. After some negotiations, the column was pulled down and the much smaller fountain added instead.

Drawings of all the building plans (including many proposals that were never built) can be viewed in the Victoria Art Gallery situated on the corner of Pulteney Bridge and Grand Parade.

The fountain is a regular target for vandalism, typically being filled with soap suds late at night, this often spills onto the road creating a traffic hazard. Cleaning up after these pranks involves pumping out and refreshing all the water and has to be done out of office hours to avoid creating traffic congestion. This work is funded from the £2.2 million [4] (2007 figure) annual council repair and maintenance programme paid for by local council taxpayers.

Pulteney Bridge is one of only four bridges lined with shops in the world.

Across the River Avon from Bath lay the 600 acre estate of Bathwick. This was entirely rural when it was inherited by Frances Pulteney in October 1767, but its potential was obvious. No other English spa could rival Bath in this period and the city was in the midst of a building boom. Frances was married to an Edinburgh lawyer, William Johnstone Pulteney, and this energetic and frugal Scot immediately began to make plans to develop his wife's estate. His first problem was that the only direct route from Bath to Bathwick was by ferry.