Tradition and Modernity in Bath Between the Wars

  • Robin Pakes

Student thesis: Masters ThesisMPhil


As Britain sought to reconstruct itself after the experience of Victorian urban degradation and the Great War, Bath's Roman heritage and Georgian architecture positioned the city as a symbol of national identity that readily exhibited continuity with a redefined historic past. Yet despite its historic image, primary source material and contemporary local press reports in particular indicate that interwar Bath demonstrated a civic dynamism and impetus towards urban and social improvement. These factors were expressed through a range of developments the significance of which and the experience of change they represented for those who visited or lived in Bath between the wars, has been largely overlooked in the city's twentieth century urban and social historiography. This study will investigate how the articulation and expression of historical importance intersected with urban development and technological and social change in the City of Bath during the interwar period. Whilst local legislation sought to prevent undesirable development and promote a stylistic adherence to local architectural traditions, economic imperatives and technological and social change required to city to accommodate and adapt to new forms of transport, consumption, entertainment and social organisation. This resulted in a range of planning proposals and developments and new buildings that combined architectural tradition with new construction methods and modern functions. Beyond Bath's historic centre, suburbanisation and the construction of social housing saw new building types and a salient articulation and redistribution of social class within the built environment.
Date of Award25 Apr 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorVaughan Hart (Supervisor) & Mark Wilson Jones (Supervisor)


  • interwar britain
  • city of bath
  • interwar bath
  • tradition
  • modernity
  • bath chronicle
  • council housing
  • bath cooperative society
  • bath corporation
  • bath forum cinema
  • british empire exhibition

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