On the day lockdown was lifted in June, the property market in Bath took off like a rocket and has been on a roll ever since, says James Mackenzie of Strutt & Parker’s Country Department. He cites the example of 23, Bathwick Hill, a grand, Grade II-listed Georgian villa with spectacular views over National Trust land, which had been on the market, on and off, for quite some time. ‘No sooner had we launched the house on the open market in early June, than three buyers immediately came forward, and after competitive bidding, it sold for £4.35 million,’ he reveals.
The Bathwick area of the city, on the opposite bank of the River Avon to the historic city centre, became part of Bath’s Georgian heartland with the 18th-century development of the Pulteney Estate and the building of Pulteney Bridge. There followed some of Bath’s most famous Georgian streets, among them Sydney Place, where numbers 1 to 12—three-storey houses with mansard roofs designed by Thomas Baldwin —were built in about 1800. Jane Austen lived at No 4 from 1801 to 1805.
Nos 93–103, Sydney Place is a Grade I-listed terrace of 11 grand symmetrical houses built in 1808–09 by John Pinch the Elder. According to its Historic England listing, ‘each three-bay house is set slightly lower than its northerly neighbour to produce an elegantly descending rhythm anchored to the cylindrical corner of No 103’. Distinguished early residents of the terrace, which overlooks the park and open space of Sydney Gardens, include Queen Charlotte, who lived at No 93 in 1817, and William IV, who lived at No 103.
In November 1942, the Bath School of Art, under its long-serving head, Clifford Ellis, found a new home at 99–101, Sydney Place, following the destruction in a bombing raid of its former Green Park premises. In the mid 1980s, the art and design courses, by then of BA degree status, moved to Sion Hill, Bath, and the Sydney Place complex was put up for sale.
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