In Duels & Deception, I stepped away from London, caught a coach headed west to Somerset and eventually arrived in Bath. Bath’s heyday had come and gone by the Regency period and yet it was still a place to see and be seen. Though the city’s tenants might have been a quieter more genteel group than the rich aristocrats of the eighteenth century. By 1817, the magnificent Circus had been built as well as the Royal Crescent both becoming iconic images of its Georgian glory days.
Various attractions included the Pump Room—where one drank the warm, smelly water for health purposes—and the Upper and Lower Assembly Rooms. These rooms drew large numbers of people by offering well-organized social programs of balls and concerts, places to play cards or simply to meet and exchange gossip—the life-blood of the idle. There were circulating libraries, coffee shops and the Theatre Royal on Orchard Street as well as parks and walks—places for picnics and promenades.
On Sundays, the well-bred would attend services at the Bath Abbey-a medieval church next to the Pump Room. And when so inclined a Vauxhall type garden, called Sydney Gardens, offered arbors, groves of trees, formal flowerbeds and enticing views of the countryside. They also had musical entertainments, alfresco breakfasts, illuminations and a labyrinth.
Yes, indeed, Regency Bath was not too shabby!