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10 unusual things you might not know about Bath

12th October 2015

The city of Bath seems to have it all, with its beautiful architecture, amazing cultural scene, world-class food and drink and bags of historical wonders to discover. It’s no wonder that thousands of people visit every year, but not all of Bath’s secrets have yet been discovered. Here are 10 unusual facts you might not know about Bath:

  1. The city has no less than seven crescents. Most people know about the Royal Crescent, but did you know that Bath has six other sweeping crescents of beautiful 18th and 19th century buildings? The others include Lansdown Crescent, Somerset Place and the famous Circus.
  2. Bath is the only UK city where the entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Most places have a landmark, cultural or historical gem that is protected by UNESCO, but due to its architecture and numerous landmarks, Bath’s whole city centre is listed.
  3. Bath has its own unofficial currency. You might know the Bath Oliver as a type of biscuit, but the Oliver is also a kind of coupon that residents and visitors can use at local businesses in lieu of cash. They are earned with community service, in order to promote volunteerism and community involvement.
  4. The city inspired Mary Shelley to finish Frankenstein. Everyone knows about Bath’s connection with the celebrated English novelist Jane Austen, but Frankenstein’s author Mary Shelley also took inspiration from the city to complete her most famous work.
  5. Bath sits in the mouth of a volcano. We all know Bath for its hot springs, but where does this natural source of heat come from? The answer is underneath the city, where a long-dormant volcano sits.
  6. The list of famous people from Bath is huge. Maybe there’s something in the water, but the city’s has many famous former residents including Great British Bake Off star Mary Berry, film director Ken Loach, comedian Russell Howard, actors Julia Davis, Anthony Head and Arnold Ridley (Private Godfrey in Dad’s Army), painter Thomas Gainsborough and the musician Peter Gabriel. The world-famous shoe designer Manolo Blahnik also lives in Bath.
  7. A new planet was discovered from a Bath back garden. In March 1781, British astronomer William Hershel officially discovered the planet Uranus using a telescope, and it all happened in his back garden in Bath’s New Kind Street. The site is now home to the fascinating Herschel Museum of Astronomy.
  8. Bath kicked off the trend for farmer’s markets. Farmer’s markets, packed full of fresh local produce, are hugely popular in the UK at the moment, but Bath was home to the very first one back in 1987.
  9. A treasure trove of ancient Roman coins was recently found in Bath. In 2007, an incredible 17,500 ancient Roman coins were located in the foundations of the Gainsborough Bath Spa.
  10. The world’s first postmark was stamped in Bath. The Penny Black, the world’s first adhesive postage stamp, was stamped in Bath in May 1840. It bore Queen Victoria’s profile and was addressed to a house in Peckham, London.