BRSLI Talk on Oratorio on October 22nd.

BRSLI Building

The original BRSLI building, demolished by the Council in 1932

Anyone thinking of coming to the premiere of the Oratorio on October 30th might be interested in a talk at the BRSLI at 16 Queen Square, Bath, BA1 2HN, 7.30 0n October 22nd.

Sue Curtis will be talking about the poetry of Robert Graves as it is used in the oratorio, Jools Scott will play a recording of some of the music from the oratorio, and Tim Snowdon will read the poems being discussed. There will be an opportunity to ask questions of the compiler and composer about the piece.

The Cool Web is an oratorio based on the poems Robert Graves wrote at the front as a young officer. As such, it offers a moving glimpse of a poet struggling to write about an unbearable experience as it happened. In this talk Sue Curtis, the compiler, talks about the poems she and Jools Scott chose to include, why they are there, what they mean to her, and how they have informed the emotion, narrative and intensity of the music itself.

The Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution has been central to the intellectual and cultural life of Bath for centuries.

BRLSI originally occupied a purpose-built building at Terrace Walk in the centre of Bath, near the Abbey and overlooking what is now the Parade Gardens. Opened in 1824, it occupied the site of Harrison’s Assembly Rooms, a regular haunt of Beau Nash, which had burnt down in 1820. A century later an equally terminal fate befell the BRLSI building, when the local Council decided to demolish it to make way for a traffic scheme…

The Institution building on Terrace Walk, Bath had housed the collections, lectures, libraries and all manner of events for 108 years. The demolition of the building, which began in December 1932, took eight months, such was the enormity of the task. Many believed the building to be of outstanding architectural importance, and lobbied that an alternative to demolition be found.

Many suggestions were put forward by such bodies as : Old Bath Preservation Society, Bath City Council and others regarding a relocation of the building ( the Portico being of particular importance) however no solution was found. By September 1933 no trace of the Institution building remained on the site.

In the photograph above, the front entrance of the Institution can be seen clearly; the impressive Portico was unmistakable. Many believed (and still do) that this Portico was part of Harrisons (later renamed Kingston) Assembly rooms which stood on this site until 1820. Much controversy surrounded the pedigree of this Portico, the original being designed by William Wilkins (who went on to design The London University College, The National Gallery London etc.) in 1808.


The BRSLI today


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