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Queen Square

Existing layout

Revised layout A

Revised layout B

Revised layout C

Queen Square was the first of John Wood's urban set-pieces, laid out following his return to his native city in 1727 and the first significant expansion beyond the medieval walls. Pevsner declared the north terrace to be "one of the finest Palladian compositions in England before 1730". It is in many ways the most important development of eighteenth-century Bath.

It was Wood's intention that the square "be separated from the Ground common to Men and Beasts", an enclosure free from the traffic of daily life. Road traffic has instead been the cause of immense damage to his original scheme, from the demolition of his chapel in the south-west corner to today's imposition of 'pay and display' machines. Today any appreciation of the site is severely compromised by its function as a roundabout for the A4.

Yet any need for Queen Square's continued use as a roundabout disappeared ten years ago when access to Wood Street was blocked. Closing the east and south sides to through traffic would now have little, if any, effect on traffic flows. Such a proposal was made in the joint Avon/Bath plan of 1990; its implementation is long overdue.

Woodsthumb

(enlarge)