Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

The Circus (Bath)

The Circus is one of the most outstanding architectural compositions in England, and is situated in Bath.

It stands on top of the hill overlooking the city, close to the better known Royal Crescent.

The Circus was designed by John Wood the Elder, and is the first example of a circular plan in a British urban setting.

Wood died in 1754, shortly after building was started, but his son, John Wood the Younger, continued with his plan.

The houses are laid out in three groups of 33, intersected by three streets, Brook Street, Bennett Street and Gay Street.

On each house there are three columns from classical architecture, with Doric on the ground floor, Ionic above and Corinthian above that. Above the Doric is a frieze containing symbols from many belief systems.

Famous people who have rented houses in The Circus include Clive of India; Thomas Gainsborough; David Livingstone; William Pitt the Elder; and William Makepeace Thackeray.

In the centre of The Circus there is now a green area with ancient plane trees. Originally, however, it contained a reservoir. Being above the level of the kitchens in the basements, it provided water by gravity.

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