No 1 Royal Crescent
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Superb recreation of an authentic Georgian town house
The house has been restored to the way it would have looked when Henry Sandford, its first resident, lived here from 1776-1796. Sandford was born in Ireland, the son of a wealthy landowner. He entered politics and served as an MP for Roscommon, Kildare, and Carrick. He suffered from poor health in the last few decades of his life and this is likely what prompted him to give up his poliical career and move to Bath in 1776. His son Henry took over running of the family estates in Ireland and was created 1st Baron Mount Sandford in 1800.
Sandford seems to have been an avid armchair traveller, and his library was full of books on far-off locations. He collected objects from other cultures and gathered them in a 'curiosities cabinet' which you can see under the stairs on the first floor. He also kept a detailed 'Commonplace Book', a scrapbook full of newspaper cuttings with facts and figures about local events and personalities. The Commonplace Book illuminates the fashionable world of Georgian Bath, and from it we find that Sandford was not above making fun of his neighbours and commenting on social scandals.
After Sandford's death the house was rented out to minor gentry and clerics before becomming a ladies seminary and then a lodging house.
The First Floor
Your visit begins with a short video on the history of the house and Henry Sandford. From there you enter the main section of the 18th century house and progress through 3 first floor rooms. The first is the Parlour, a family room for daily activities such as letter-writing and reading newspapers.
Beyond is a small Gentleman's Retreat, where Henry Sandford would find sanctuasry from family life to indulge his interests, including collecting and travel. The highlight is an authentic 18th century telescope on a stand which you can use to examine goings-on in the park beyond the house.
Also on the first floor is the Dining Room, used for formal entertaining. The table is set for a dessert course, with exquisitele confectionery laid out on a Chamberlain Worcester Dessert Service. A leather folding screen in one corner hides a chamber pot so that gentlemen did not have to leave the room to relieve themselves.
The Second Floor
On the second floor is a formal Withdrawing Room, where ladies took tea after 'withdrawing' from the Dining Room and leaving the gentlemen to their drinking. The centrepiece of the Withdrawing Room is a harpsichord made in 1770 by Jacob Kirkman of Alsace. On the wall is a portrait of Mary Delany by John Opie. Delany wasone of the most celebrated women of the 18th century, an artist, craftswoman, avid letter-writer, confidante to the royal family, and an arbirator of polite behaviour that dominated fashionable society.
On the top floor is the Gentleman's Bedroom, again with a four-poster bed. Look for the portable medicine cabinet on the bureau by the window, where men like Henry Sandford would have kept a collection of health remedies.
From the top floor you descend the backstairs to the cellars, where you will find the Housekeeper's Room, beside the storage cupboards under her care. A passage leads to a large 18th century kitchen. Look for a treadmill wheel geared to the spit over the fire. A model dog inside the wheel housing shows how small dogs where harnessed to turn the spit so that meat would cook evenly.
These are just the highlights of No. 1 Royal Crescent. The house is a beautifully restored and elegant reminder of what Bath was like at the height of its popularity as a spa town. The house is well signposted from the city centre and is only a few minutes walk from major attractions like Bath Abbey, the Roman Baths, and the Fashion Museum.
About No 1 Royal Crescent
Address: 1 Royal Crescent, Bath, Somerset, England, BA1 2LR
Attraction Type: Historic Building
Location: Just NW of city centre
Website: No 1 Royal Crescent
Phone: 01225 428126
Historic Houses Association
OS: ST746 654
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
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NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Museum of Bath at Work - 0.2 miles (Museum)
Bath Assembly Rooms - 0.2 miles (Historic Building)
Fashion Museum, Bath - 0.2 miles (Museum)
Jane Austen Centre - 0.3 miles (Museum)
Museum of Bath Architecture - 0.3 miles (Museum)
William Herschel Museum - 0.4 miles (Museum)
Bath Postal Museum - 0.4 miles (Museum)
Victoria Art Gallery - 0.5 miles (Museum)
Nearest Accommodation to No 1 Royal Crescent:
Nearest Self Catering Cottages
Nearest Bed and Breakfasts