CAD model of the BRLSI

The site of the original, Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institution, Grande Parade, Bath. 1998

An introduction to the project of reconstructing a computer model of this now lost building
work on this project being
undertaken by:
Paul Birkeland-Green


please note all material here is subject to copyright restrictions


The image shown above shows the progress so far...

What is shown is the superimposing of the CAD modelled building appearing on its original site. The scene shown is how the site (Central Bath) appeared June 1998.

 


All dimensions are accurate and the position of the building has been aligned using ordinance survey maps of the site, 1885 (scale 10.56 feet to One statute mile or 41.66 feet to the inch 1/500th).

 

The building was first erected in 1824.
During the following 108 years it underwent many changes, with galleries and rooms added to the original design.

This has introduced something of a problem in deciding ' when in time' to have the model represent?

The choice was made on the following reasoning:
In its early period, between 1824-1849 there were no photographs or architectural plans on which to work (not to mention the fact that photography was not available!) Furthermore much of the interesting things to come had not been added. It would be a shame to leave out the Moores Collection for instance.

There is however one photograph remaining that is believed to have been taken in 1849 although it is very difficult at this time to confirm this.

1849 - 1900 also seems to be less than fruitful in this respect also, even though the majority of the Institution's collections was complete. This period would possibly have been the most ideal, had we had the choice.

 



Many more photographs exist for the period 1900-1932; although there are still few in number, along with many detailed accounts of the activities and floor plans. These plans are only hand drawn but this is much more than is available before this period.

The decision made was to recreate the building as it appeared circa 1932 just prior to its demolition. The reasoning behind this being that several photographs (taken with different cameras) exist that show almost a 360 degree view of the building and its site in the same year. In addition photographs during the long 8 month period of demolition could give interior and supporting evidence of the structure that had been obscured by ivy on the East side of the building. It was one of these images that brought the East gallery to light! No other photo of this aspect had shown its existence.

[ It would seem that people were keen to photograph the old Institution for posterity]

Windows and fittings are quite detailed. In addition it was possible to cross check the dimensions apparent in the photos, after perspective foreshortening had been removed. There was always a good chance that one camera lens could well be distorting the image. This, however, proved not to be the case; indeed the accuracy of the photographs is quite stunning.

 

 

Few resources still exist for this Historic building. Architects plans are no longer in existence nor any Council records. Etchings and artists drawings have been of little use as they tend to lend themselves to 'artistic licence' and guesswork!

The project is however proving to be successful...against the odds and it is very fortunate that some living members of the Institution have invaluable memories of the building, its fittings and interior. It is hoped that a completely accurate computer reconstruction can be achieved eventually.

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