Welcome to the Roman Baths Blog!

This blog is a behind the scenes look at the Roman Baths in Bath. We hope you enjoy reading our stories about life surrounding the Roman Baths.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

If you liked it, then you should have put a posy ring on it!

This week’s blog is about an amazing artefact that I had to put on the museum's database. It’s a gold Posy ring! I’ll explain more in a second but first, just look how pretty it is! 

Posy rings are gold bands with an inscription on the inside. Our posy ring’s inscription says “A friends gift”… well actually ‘friends’ has been spelt ‘frends’ and there’s a little tear in the band over the ‘f’ of ‘gift’ so (if we’re going to be literal!) it says “A frends gif”.  

Close-up of the inside inscription
Our ring was found in a field in Keynsham, by a metal decectorist! I wonder why it was there? We can only speculate! It just shows you what treasures you can find in the most random places. The size of the ring isn't represented well in the photo on. It's actually very tiny! I doubt even my little finger could accommodate it! Possibly it was meant for a child!

‘Posy’ comes from the old French word ‘poséy', meaning a form of poetry. Our little ring isn't poetic, but some posy rings were just a simple statement. One of my favourite, more poetic, posy rings (that I came across on the British Museum website) has the inscription “many are the stars I see but in my eye no star like thee” how lovely is that?! Link here.

Posy rings weren't just for betrothals and love tokens but also exchanged in friendship and sometimes given out in remembrance of a death. Unfortunately, our ring's inscription means that it was probably a gift of friendship, which undoes all of the romantic back stories that another collections team member and I were making up. Oh well!

Not the Disney-style back story I'd hoped for!
The peak of their popularity was from the 15th-17th century. Our ring has been dated to the 1600s! It’s amazing that I’m holding something so familiar, as a gold ring, in my hand that’s around 400 years old!!


Wednesday, 22 January 2014


A few of months ago I had a really unusual and exciting request. Would I be happy to appear on the Jedward big adventures show?? My answer was a cautious yes.

I was given the task of giving John and Edward their guided tour of the Roman Baths.  They would then do a tour for a group of school children.

The first time I saw John and Edward was by the balcony overlooking the Sacred Spring. They strutted in, hair spiked up wearing studded jackets, skinny jeans and beautiful hand decorated converse trainers. The boys are exactly how you imagine them. Full of life with unlimited energy (exhausting!!).  We launched into filming almost straight away so not much time to chat. I was nervous-this was my first television appearance. However, every time the director shouted 'cut,' John and Edward made funny little jokes which started to make me laugh. At one point John (or was it Edward?) reached forward towards my face...ahhh what was he going to do?? "You have a hair on your face, it will show on camera" and he swept the hair away. "Oh, thanks” I said, a bit embarrassed! 

Filming on the terrace overlooking the great bath was next along with Stephen, the museum curator. Unfortunately every time he seemed to speak a lorry kept reversing, beeping as it went.  Having to say the same thing over and over again in a serious voice is quite difficult especially when you have John or Edward pulling faces at you! My favourite part was when the camera panned out across the great bath and we had to pretend to be having a chat and a laugh.

I am now also good at voice overs for short animations. I have it down to 46 seconds!! That includes 10 seconds for breathing!

Jedward went on to do filming at the Assembly Rooms. As they left the building I breathed a sigh of relief, I was exhausted!

Jedward’s visit to the Roman Baths will be on BBC 1 tonight at 4:30pm.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

My Placement at The Roman Baths Part 2

The last week of my placement, I visited museums around Bath. Through these experiences, I had a better understanding of how museums are managed in UK. And the top three illuminating things I learned at the Roman Baths are that their priorities are visitors’ interests, learning projects, and the interpretation of the museum:

First of all, the museum focuses a lot on the public. The principle here is the museum belongs to everybody. At the Baths there is a meeting every Monday morning to discuss details of the museum for the past week and coming week. It is said that these details are the most important thing to ensure a better experience for visitors. The managers read feedback from visitors and resolve any problems immediately. This is what we would like to change in China. We used to impose our interests on the public, giving them exhibitions according to our interests. Now we try to put our focus on people rather than objects. 

A Major Davis Tour at the Roman Baths

Second, the learning activities are fantastic. They provide various workshops for children from under 5 to adults. People enjoy getting involved in the museum and the museum gives them a better life. They also provide workshops for disabled people and for people who have lost their jobs, helping them to get back into society. This inspired me to think what we should do in our museum, what we can provide to the public. Without consideration of audiences, the vitality of a museum could be lost.

Third and the most significant thing I learned here, is how to interpret the museum. They use a range of interpretation techniques, such as panels (text and graphics); audio guides; human guides; reconstructions; interactives; scale models and so on. These are aimed to complement each other and provide access to the visitors. This is what we need to introduce all aspects of museums to more people.
The Roman Baths Children's interpretation manual.

It is so important for a museum to have its own personality and to be accessible for everybody. Although there is a different situation and policy in China, we could not just apply the same or similar management to our museum, but it is significant to see it in different ways. It brings inspirations and lights my mind, we could have some positive social, cultural, educational and economic changes according to the reality of Chinese museum.

At last, I must express my thanks to everybody I met here. Everyone is so kind and generous to share, giving me very good memories of the three weeks. Thanks to you all and I will miss this fabulous autumn in Bath.

 Wang Pu