Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Rotunda


This striking dome is the focal point of the Montpellier shopping area. It sits at the top of the parade of shops, bars and cafes and is one of the first things visitors heading into town see.

Originally the building was one of Cheltenhams many Spas. Previously the building was wooden but was replaced in 1817 by a stone built Long Room. In 1825-6 the Rotunda was added by London architect John Papworth. As the spa waters went out of fashion the building was used as a concert and dance venue, the Long Room was used by a bank. Since 1926 Lloyds Bank have owned and used the Long Room, and they bought the Rotunda in 1962 for £14,000. When they took over the Rotunda it was in a very sorry state, a survey showed that the 160 feet diameter, 60 feet high dome had dropped 3 inches and was being held up by seriously rotten beams. In the renovation 2 tons of copper and two of lead were removed, also many tons of ornate plasterwork were taken down. The building now stands proudly, showing what Cheltenham is all about - fine architecture and interesting history.

7 comments:

Lori said...

This is a beautiful shot. And you were just saying yesterday you didn't have anything to show us! It's wonderful that the rotunda was preserved. It sounds like it was in bad shape before. But it looks gorgeous now.

Salem Oregon Daily Photo said...

Hi Marley, my first time here. Love the info you posted about the building and dome. Good for Lloyds Bank renovating and saving the dome.

• Eliane • said...

So your city is a spa city? I had no idea. Is it completely extinct? Or do you still have activities around the water? I am thinking of the Belgian city of Spa, which is, as its name indicates a spa city too. It also gives its name to the most popular water in the country: l'eau de Spa. When the spa activities declined they started festivals of all kinds. It is also a destination for company offsites and such. What about Cheltenham? Any similarities there?

Chuck Pefley said...

Wonder if Lloyds was insuring the structure before buying and remodeled to minimize their liability exposure?

Jackie said...

yes, it looks like yesterday's photo-hunting expedition was successful, if this is anything to go on! Lloyds Bank clearly did a good job here - it's nice to see they retained some of the character and didn't just knock it down to create another faceless bank building.

brian said...

this is a cool building, and nice that they renovated it - no wonder it sank 3 inches with all that extra tonnage! =)

Ming the Merciless said...

It looks like a magnificient piece of architecture.

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