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Tyne and Wear HER(1698): Stella, Path Head Wood, Bath House - Details

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Stella, Path Head Wood, Bath House



Health and Welfare

Bath House

Post Medieval


Ruined Building

In Path Head Wood are the remains of an old bath house. It was probably built about the same time as the summerhouse (HER 1699) when Lord Widdrington was in residence at Stella Hall (HER 1694) and before he took part in the 1715 Jacobite uprising, thus making it one of the earliest park buildings in the north-east {1}. DESCRIPTION This bath house may well be contemporary with the summerhouse on Summerhill, which was probably built at a time when Lord Widdrington was in residence at Stella Hall (early in the 18th century). If so, it is one of the earliest park buildings in the north east, but it could have been built later for Thomas Clavering. Built of brick to the outer leaf, with sandstone internal walls, it is compact in size and gothic in style, with pointed-arched window openings. Bath houses were one example of the various buildings (including follies, grottoes and temples) utilised by landscape designers of the picturesque movement, in order to create interest and assist perspective in a landscape. They were also functional buildings normally containing at least a plunge pool and dressing room, and were very useful before houses had plumbed water. Other bath houses were situated around the region, including at Gibside and Benwell, and design and plan form varied, but this one consists of an entrance vestibule and 2 wings. It speaks of a time when leisure and wealth were displayed by such means around the estates of prominent persons, and gives a good indication of the elevated status of the inhabitants of the hall. The building is now in a semi-ruinous condition due to neglect and vandalism, but ironically it could be argued that this (without the defacing) is in keeping with the picturesque aesthetic out of which it arose. MATERIALS Sandstone DATES 18th century




<< HER 1698 >> T. Yellowley, 1986, Stella and Blaydon Burn; Gateshead Council, 1999, Conservation Area Policy Guidelines, Strategies and Character Statements, Path Head Conservation Area, p 55; Alan Rounding and Tom Yellowley, Stella; Gateshead Council Local List Fact Sheet X20/LL/115

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