Plan of the City of Bath

Description

This map and plan of the city of Bath is one of most detailed from the Georgian period. It dates from 1795, during Bath’s height as a fashionable resort. It provides a sense of the size and scale of the city centre and its orderly rows of fashionable houses. 

The map was produced by C Harcourt Masters, an important English architect and surveyor. 

The significance of place in Jane Austen’s Persuasion 

The location of the domestic house was hugely significant to the self-conscious middle-upper classes. It could elevate or damage the reputation of a family or individual. In Georgian Bath, this connection between location and class is manifested topographically and geographically. In crude terms, the poorer labouring classes lived to the south of the city, the lowest point nearest to the river. Wealthier, privileged classes lived to the north, elevated upon Bath’s hills. As the map shows, the north was also home to larger gardens. 

Jane Austen scholar Keiko Parker explores the importance of Bath’s geography to Persuasion, observing how ‘The entire city becomes a metaphor for the society [Austen] portrays’.[1] The snobbish, rank-obsessed Walter Elliot, for instance, stays in Camden Place, situated to the north at one of the highest points in the city. Parker notes, ‘It is a matter of course that Sir Walter looks with utter contempt on Mrs. Smith of Westgate Buildings, located as they are at the low end of Bath’.

[1] Keiko Parker,“What Part of Bath Do You Think They Will Settle In?” Jane Austen’s Use of Bath in Persuasion’, Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal, 23, 2001, pp.166-176

Full title:
Plan of the City of Bath
Published:
1795
Format:
Map / Image
Creator:
C Harcourt Masters
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
Maps.K.Top.37.21

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