Thursday, 11 August 2011

A delightful DVD dip into Bath's history

This first appeared in the Bath Chronicle of August 4

As you may have seen in these pages in recent weeks, a new DVD about Bath's history has been released.

Using the words from the Chronicle's archives as its soundtrack, it features some fascinating photos and remarkable cine film to provide an interesting whistle-stop tour through many of Bath's modern historical events.

I was intrigued watching many of the stories unfold and I was particularly absorbed by the stunning and moving footage of what happened to the city during Hitler's aerial bombardment here. The full colour footage of the wrecked streets of Bath really brought the stories I've read about in our pages to life and I truly felt some of the pain that the city still feels to this day about those tumultuous days of 1942.

I was similarly absorbed by some of the other excellent film footage of a far more peaceful time - the 1960s.

The DVD includes some lovely film around the city in those early days of the supposedly swinging '60s when life actually seemed far less hurried and chaotic than it appears today.
The camera takes us all around some of the streets and areas that we love but what genuinely amazed me was not only how few cars were on the road but also the places where people were allowed to park.

You can practically play a game of 'spot the place where you wouldn't get a ticket today' and, trust me, there aren't many.

What this footage showed was why the subject of transport in and around Bath has been such a hot topic ever since the first automobile hit the Bath streets - and yes, that is featured in the DVD too.

I have no doubt that in those days when the 1960s film was being made, there were letters to this paper about the terrible state of the traffic and yet the roads then seemed about as busy as they would be at 3am in the middle of the week now. The frightening thing is if we've gone from that to what we now see in less than a generation, just how much more clogged up could our roads become in years to come? So if you ever want to understand why people get so het up about transport and transport schemes in this city, then this DVD gives you a real clue.

What is also nice about this new addition to Bath's historical archive is that although it clearly shows that much has changed in Bath over the years, we should be very proud that a lot of things remain untouched and unsullied.

Yes, we had the Sack of Bath but this film shows the city still looks and feels much as it did in years gone by and although there will be times when you will watch the DVD and wish that some things hadn't changed at all I suspect, like me, the number of things that look reassuringly familiar will also gladden your heart.

The film is called Bath The Way We Were.

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