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Castle, where the terrace-like form of the work, so far as it proceeded, may still be seen. The scheme failed for reasons which need not be stated. Twenty years later the Proprietary College was established and carried on with varying success in the Sydney Gardens mansion. A“ split” having occurred shortly after it was established, a rival college was started in the Circus, called the Somersetshire College. It may be said, with truth, that both these colleges did very excellent work during their existence, but they failed to attain to that measure of success and importance which such institutions, in a city like Bath, might fairly expect to achieve. In 1877, the present college, more comprehensive in its scope, and on a far larger and more adequate scale, was set on foot by a Limited Liability Company. The proprietary acquired the property and house, called Vellore, from the widow of the late Rev. Charles Kemble, whose residence it had been. The house is the residence of the head master, and, within the domain, other buildings have been erected, suitable for a large establishment. In addition to these, other houses have also been acquired, in which the several masters reside, who take their respective share of pupils. Besides this, in order to provide for any possible or probable expansion of the college, covenants have been entered into with the president, the owner of the estate of Bathwick, by which the field on the east of the college is reserved, and may at any time be obtained to meet such a contingency. In 1885, the Somersetshire College was amalgamated with the Bath College, and it should be mentioned, also, that one of the junior schools is conducted in the Sydney Gardens house ; whilst, to meet the requirements of the distant parts of the city, the other is carried on in Portland Place.
The position of the college is all that could be desired. On the rising ground of the hill, parallel with that of Bathwick Hill, the situation is healthy, cheerful and picturesque. Whilst free from the bustle and disadvantages of a more central
position, "encompassed by the crowd,” it is near enough to the city to be accessible for all business and professional purposes.
The approach to Bath, on the west side, has for ages been down a steep, rugged concavity, part of the Roman fosse road from Bath to Ilchester, called Holloway, a name sufficiently indicative of its nature and appearance. It is not at present nor has it been for two centuries an attractive locality, but it will, notwithstanding, repay us for the labour of our ascent by some objects of curiosity.
Upwards of four hundred years ago, the Priory of Bath sent a small party of monks, and the city a little colony of citizens, to Holloway ; and in modern times, she has continued with maternal care to lend her fostering support to her offspring and its inhabitants. This vill reckons many houses, which, for the most part, with the exception of some recent mansions, are small, mean, and wretched, consisting of petty chandlers' shops, dirty pot-houses, slop-sellers' residences, etc.
Contemptible, however, as these mansions may appear to be, they, notwithstanding, afforded once a temporary asylum to a very numerous tribe of travellers, who, with the regularity of true fashionable felicity hunters, paid their constant visits to the city of Bath during the gay and crowded seasons of winter and spring.
These personages, though they exhibited in their figures every malady and defect to which the human frame is liable, did not appear to resort to the city of healing waters for the aid of its springs or the benefits of its baths, but with a pro
fane diffidence in the skill of our physicians, or a perverse contempt of the efficacy of our Thermæ, they boldly discarded every physical system, and placed their hopes of relief in exercise alone. In pursuance of this plan, they were seen pacing the streets of the city with patient perseverance from morning till night, and braving all the inclemencies of the weather, in spite of the diseases with which they were afflicted. Nay, they carried their imprudence even further, observing, for the most part, the utmost carelessness with regard to clothing; and, despite the pelting shower or piercing wind, pursued their ambulations in a state as nearly approaching to nudity as the evening undress of a modern girl of fashion.
Though from this singular conduct, which was so contrary to that of the generality of Bath visitors, and which (despising common opinions and modes of practice) argued a sort of independence both in thinking and acting, we might imagine the personages under consideration would not stoop to communicate with those who were still held by the trammels of prejudice. Yet this was by no means the case ; on the contrary, availing themselves of that facility of forming acquaintance which characterised this city, they kindly accosted everybody they met in the street, offered up prayers for their welfare, entrusted them with their family secrets, and as the strongest proof of confidence and friendship, concluded their harangues with a familiar request for trifling pecuniary boons.
These were “the beggars of Bath,” a race not quite extinct. As the seasons in which the city filled with visitors approached, these gentry flocked to Holloway, safe from the fangs of the beadle and the constable (for the Mayor's jurisdiction did not extend to this place). They glided from their aerial entrenchments into the different streets of Bath, and levied contributions upon the feelings of the charitable to a considerable amount. As the trade of Bath depended (and now depends), in a great degree, upon the visitors to its springs, so the commerce
of Holloway was entirely kept alive by the demands of the beggars. The lodgings, like the modern London lodgings, varied from twopence per diem to two shillings per week.
If only a chair were needed, one penny a “sitting demanded.
The evil is assuming a new aspect. A stool, a crutch, and a woe-begone expression are at present the stock-in-trade of a large number of the worst of mendicants, who occupy the corners of streets in certain localities, and are encouraged in their laziness by people who ought to know better.
Together with shelter for the beggars, Holloway was also the nocturnal retreat for a much more useful class of beings—the animals employed in the conveyance of coals from the pits of Bath. Wearied and panting with the labour of the day, here the wretched beasts were driven by crowds, as the evening closed, into yards hired for the purpose ; not so much for the sake of rewarding their services with rest, as to prevent their escape from the toil of the morrow.
As they picked a scanty pittance from the ditches and hedges during the day, the inhuman master thought himself exempted from the necessity of giving them food at night; and, what was still more barbarous, never removed from their backs the heavy wooden saddle on which the coals were packed, but suffered it to continue girded on for weeks together, inflaming and increasing those galls which its pressure originally occasioned. For two and-a-half centuries, down to the close of 1700, was this custom continued. Warner says:
“ Full has my heart bled for this little, wasted, panting wretch, struggling under its unconscionable burthen, and labouring up the steep streets of Bath ; now dropping with fatigue, and again urged to exertion by reiterated blows."
Leland, in his “ Itinerary,” notices the “rockky hill” of Holloway, which, he says, “is still a faire street,” as at that time it certainly was. Its degeneracy may be traced to a