In 1725 Wood developed an ambitious plan for Bath, he tells us that he “begun to turn [his] thoughts towards the improvement of the city by building”. Queen Square is a key component of his vision and was intended to appear like a palace with wings and a forecourt.
Independent builders sub-contracted the individual plots and the square was completed organically. The south side comprised a terrace of nine grand private townhouses. At that time interest in the therapeutic qualities of the town’s natural hot spring waters was reaching levels of popularity not seen since Roman times, and the row of fine houses became much sought-after by people of note in Bath’s gentry, including John Wood himself who lived at no.9 – now part of the hotel.
Soloman Francis opened a hotel at No.10 in 1858, and had expanded into Nos.6-9 and 11 by 1884, when seven of the adjacent houses were opened with much celebration as Francis Private Hotel.
The Grade 1 listed hotel has subsequently enjoyed many transformations - especially after it was blitzed by a 500kg bomb in 1942 – however, it has always retained the 18th century style of its origins. The townhouses have, in 2012, enjoyed a £6 million restoration and now boast splendidly vibrant interiors. Our designer decided to celebrate the unique vivaciousness, freedoms and quirks of the Regency period behind the terrace’s grand and imposing Georgian façade.
Today, guests can cross seamlessly between the townhouses. The transition points are marked by blue plaques celebrating some of the townhouses’ past residents, such as John Wood the Elder himself, with the more astute observer noticing subtle variations in decoration.
All the buildings of Queen Square are designated by English Heritage as Buildings of Exceptional & Historical Interest.
The City of Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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