Detail from what must the the clearest early view of Bath from Beechen Cliff. The Grand Pump Room Hotel can be seen just behind the tower of St James church on the left whilst the centre is dominated by the curious dome shaped National School building, roughly where the loading bay of Mark & Spencer now is. The Weymouth House Schools founded in 1817 by the National Society for the Education of the Poor according to the Principles of the Church of England which was so much of a mouthful that it soon became the National Society. This remarkable circular building had a covered play space and warm-air stove on the ground floor, a boys' schoolroom for 700 pupils on the first floor, and a girls' room for 300 above that. Warm air circulated from the stove up through the two schoolrooms but the system was not efficient, the girls' room was very cold, and the school was rebuilt in 1896. It was one of the first schools to be conducted according to the educational theories advanced by Dr Andrew Bell. The wedge shaped classrooms conformed to the circular plan. The architect was John Lowder, a wealthy amateur who accepted no fees for his service, either in this or his later work at Holy Trinity Church.
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Bath Central Library
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