Combe Grove area and Summer Lane

Thomas Sturge Cotterell

Thomas Sturge Cotterell

Recently I added information about the Combe Grove area and Summer Lane. By the Combe Grove area I mean Shaft Road and Brassknocker Hill.

On Brassknocker Hill that means that Combe Hill House and Combe Grove Lodge are covered and on Shaft Road that means that Lodge Style, Combe Grove Farm, Combe Grange and Ivy Cottages. In Summer Lane , Quarry Vale and De Montalt House are covered. De Montalt Mill is covered elsewhere with its history before 1850 here and its history after 1850 to modern times here.

The person who most caught my eye was Patrick Young Alexander (1867 – 1943) who lived at De Montalt House. He lived an interesting life – probably helped by the fact that his father left him a very large legacy – but was also an aeronautical pioneer fascinated by the prospect of heavier than air flight, an enthusiastic balloonist and meteorologist.

Another interesting person is Thomas Sturge Cotterell (1865 – 1950). He commissioned Lodge Style from Charles Francis Annesley Voysey (1857 – 1941) in 1909. Cotterell was General Manager of the Bath Stone Firms and a Bath Councillor, one of the main movers behind the Bath Pageant of 1909, an Alderman and Mayor of Bath in 1930. He also set up the Bath Corps of Honorary Guides. His uncle was Jacob Henry Cotterell (1817 – 1868) a land surveyor responsible for the 1852 map of Bath that appears regularly on this site.

The most frustrating area when researching the Combe Grove area and Summer Lane was Quarry Vale. I knew it would be difficult to find published information about the inhabitants for they were working class people – not middle class or higher and the ‘social medium’ of the day, the newspaper, did not really follow their world unless criminality or scandal was involved. This gives a distorted image of working people’s lives. So I decided to take a look at the census, give a flavour of the range of occupations, pick out a few that were well represented and give a thumbnail sketch of those, as well as try to find some news clippings. It’s not what I would have wanted to publish, but, if the information is not there….

Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading more about  the Combe Grove area and Summer Lane.

Pubs, inns, arms and crowns

A while ago I added a page about the pubs, inns, arms and crowns of Combe Down and Monkton Combe. In our small area there used to be at least fourteen but now there are five. When I first came to write this blog I thought it might be more about them, but I became side tracked and interested in why so many may have closed and whether things have changed for ever or whether the pendulum might, one day swing back.

An old English pub, 1930s

An old English pub, 1930s

When I was very much younger, in the 1970s, I had a flat in Brunswick Square in Brighton. So did my maternal grandfather whom I did not know well as he and my grandmother had divorced before I was born. However, he was now retired and frequented the Star of Brunswick pub in Brunswick Street West just behind the square. It has long since converted to a private home. We spent many convivial evenings in the pub over a pint or two while he smoked his pipe. There I got to know him and there were also many regulars, much banter and laughter.

The pub has long been a social venue, a social centre for a local community, a place to meet friends and a place to foster community spirit – pubs are good for social cohesion. A report by the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford for CAMRA called ‘Friends on Tap‘ suggests that local community pubs have unseen social benefits such as  a venue in which we can serendipitously meet new, in many cases like-minded, people but also  broaden our network of acquaintances and widen our experience by bringing us into contact with people from other walks of life, become more engaged with our local community and that this is likely to have significant health and wellbeing benefits.

Another study by Newcastle Business School, ‘The Importance of Pubs in Shaping Community Cohesion and Social Wellbeing in Rural Areas of England‘, of 2,800 rural parishes across the country over a 10-year period found that those areas which had a pub enjoyed a greater sense of community. There were more likely to be local football or cricket teams, charity fundraising events and branches of the Scouts and Brownies.

It seems that 40% of people in the UK typically socialise with friends in someone’s home and 30% prefer to do so in pubs and feel it important to have a pub nearby, but only 20% say pubs are a regular part of their life. 72% of people go to the pub to eat. I believe that great British pub is where the personality of the pub is created by the personality of the landlord, but a recent survey showed that it was second most important to the price and quality of the beer which is clearly dichotomous with the number of people who go there to eat.

  • Price and quality of the beer     33.6%
  • Personality of the landlord        24.6%
  • No music or TV screens          20.6%

But, cheaper alcohol from supermarkets, increases in rents and rates, the rise in duty and VAT, the smoking ban and a rise in the health conscious consumer have affected the British pub. In 2003, the average adult drank 218 pints of beer but by 2011 they consumed just 152 pints with sales in pubs down 54% whereas sales from off licenses were down only 10%.

Around 40% of pubs are owned by ‘pubcos‘ but 60% are independent. The number of pubs in the UK has almost halved since 1905:

  • 1905     99,000
  • 1935     77,500
  • 1951     73,400
  • 1971     64,000
  • 2006     58,200
  • 2016     52,750

However, The Society of Independent Brewers report ‘British Beer‘ says that 532 million pints were brewed by its 835 members in 2015 which is an increase of 15% over 2013 and 176% over 2009. They say that well over 75% of their members’ beer is served in pubs, restaurants and hotels.

A report commissioned by Greene King in 2008, ‘The enduring appeal of the local‘ from The Social Issues Research Centre also provides more hope that the pendulum may swing back. The pub is considered to be neutral territory compared with entertaining at home which makes some people feel pressured whereas the pub allows them to relax and be a less intense way of meeting people. A pub is a hub for sociability and the bringing together of people from different walks of life in a way that no other social institution or public space can match. We go to the pub ‘for a drink’, but ‘having a drink’ is a social act surrounded by tacit rules — a hidden etiquettes that gives us a sense of inclusion and belonging that is independent of our status in the mainstream world.

More pages and infills about Combe Down

Glasshouse cafe - Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Saturday 26 October 1929

Glasshouse cafe – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Saturday 26 October 1929

I have added more pages and infills about Combe Down by filling in some obvious gaps.

There’s some old adverts mentioning Combe Down or Monkton Combe – none very exciting it has to be said, but hopefully further research will find some that are. Having said that, even if the adverts themselves don’t excite they can lead to little known gems. Gems such as the 1912 Bath and West Show being held on Glasshouse Fields. I was unaware of this until I saw the ad and it also created a good opportunity to infill a bit about the background of the Glasshouse name.

I have added some more Combe Down maps and map links and moved it in the navigation too.

More old photos of Combe Down, Prior Park and Monkton Combe have been added.

A short section on the Monkton Combe lock up, an obvious omission, has been added. Another obvious omission, the Combe Down Jewish cemetery has be added too. Other additions cover Allotments on Combe Down, the old Wesleyan Reform chapel behind Glenburnie and some information about The Firs or Firs Field on Combe Down. This is now a Centenary Field protected in perpetuity through a legal Deed of Dedication between the Council and Fields in Trust, meaning that ownership and management of the site remain in local hands.

I have also added a section on Claremont Buildings or Hopecote Lodge as it is now known. It, along with Isabella Place and 109 – 117 Church Road, was part of the second wave of building on Combe Down from 1800. Some interesting people lived there including William Fortt who founded Fortt’s Refreshment Rooms in Milsom Street. Forrt’s later merged with tow other Bath firms to form Cater, Stoffell & Fortt that made the famous Bath Oliver biscuits.

There was also Rhoda Mary Hope (1828 – 1910) whose sister Sarah Clegg Hope (1832 – 1863) is the 2nd great-grandmother of Camilla Rosemary Shand (b. 1947), now Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall. It was Rhoda’s nephew Dr Charles Middleton Coates (1857 – 1933), the son of Sarah Clegg Hope, who turned 1 – 3 Claremont Buildings, three Georgian buildings similar to 113 – 117 Church Road into one building with the French mansard it has now. One of his sons Donald Bateman Hope Coates (1904 – 1994) seems to have been a spy for the Cairo Gang inter-alia.

1 - 3 Claremont Buildings, later Hopecote, later Hope Cote Lodge, Combe Down

1 – 3 Claremont Buildings, later Hopecote, later Hope Cote Lodge, Combe Down

Combe Down, Monkton Combe and Prior Park photos

I have long wanted to add galleries of Combe Down, Monkton Combe and Prior Park photos but never really felt I had enough to warrant it. Now I do, though I’d dearly love more photos to add to the galleries, so, if you have any that you’d be willing to let me publish then please do let me have a copy.

Meanwhile follow this link to take a look at the galleries of Combe Down, Monkton Combe and Prior Park photos.