Crosses the River Avon
Bridges lined with shops have always been rarities, but Robert Adam's creation in Bath has more than novelty value. His restrained composition of curves and rectangles was one of the visual delights of English Neo-classicism. The uncluttered lines of the river facades were designed to be effective at a distance, while the elevations to the road provided an interesting play of light and shadow for passers-by. Paradoxically, the success of the concept destroyed the architecture. Within twenty years of its building, commercial pressures on this prime shop site dictated an expansion upwards, with a butchery of those graceful elevations which fortunately Adam was not alive to witness. Then in the nineteenth century, individual leaseholders enlarged their shop windows or cantilevered out over the river as the fancy took them. Storms and road widening also took their toll. By I948 the buildings had 'become pathetic travesties of the original design.'" In that very year, Bath City Council removed a wooden structure from the back of one shop; the tide had turned. From then on the story has been one of gradual restoration.