This week marks the start of the 130th anniversary of The Recreation Grounds and The Bishop’s Barn being given to the people of Wells.
The Grounds were given to the city by Bishop Lord Arthur Hervey in two parts, in 1887 and 1897, as a place for recreation and amusement.
With a varied history: from a medieval tithe barn storing grain in the fifteenth century to a 1970s venue for iconic bands such as Status Quo, Supertramp and SLADE – housing audiences of up to fifteen hundred; from a site for the quartering of Royalist troops during the Bloody Assizes to a roller skating skating venue in 1910; from an over-spill Christmas sorting space for the Post office in 1955 to its more recent use as venue for weddings, celebrations and community events in the 90s: the Bishop’s Barn has seen its fair share of history.
Today I took a visit to the fantastic Wells City Archives at the Wells and Mendip Museum to explore the history of the Barn further.
Image from the Phillips Collection from Wells and Mendip Archives
Given over in 1887 Bishop Hervey wanted the grounds to provide an important outdoor space for families in Wells who did not have access to green spaces. At the time (130 years ago) there was great focus on the impact of outdoor spaces on health and wellbeing and improving the lungs!
Over the coming months we’ll be sharing lots of memories and images. We’d love to find out about your memories from the Recreation Grounds and Barn! Do you have any photos in your family collection you could share?