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Pulteney Weir

What is it?

The 1603 map of Bath by Savile shows a weir on the River Avon to the east of the Abbey. On the west (Abbey) bank is shown "The Monks Mill" and on the opposite bank "Bathewick mill" [Davis & Bonsall 2006]. The photograph below is taken from the approximate location of the Monks Mill. The weir ran diagonally across the river to the Bathwick Mill, which would have been where the leftmost tree now stands. The purpose of the weir was to provide a difference in river level ( a 'head' of water) that would drive the water wheels used to power the mills.

For centuries Bath had suffered from the River Avon flooding - even the Romans had to raise the level of some of their baths complex to alleviate the problem. Flood levels are marked on the buttress of Widcombe footbridge, on buildings in Grove Street and on Norfolk Buildings.

In the early 1970's the weir was rebuilt in its current 'V' shape with an associated flood control gate (sluice) on the east side of the river (see also Civic Trust Award page).

Pulteney Weir features in the recently released film of Les Misérables. Part of the scene where Inspector Javert commits suicide by jumping into the River Seine was filmed here in October 2012.

Where is it in Bath?

The weir is on the River Avon just downstream from Pulteney Bridge:
Location of plaques at Pulteney Weir
Plaque 1 is affixed to the balustrade on Grand Parade, overlooking the weir:

Pulteney Weir plaque

The text of Plaque 1 reads

"Bristol Avon River Authority

This Plaque commemorates the opening of Pulteney Weir and Sluice on 2nd June 1972
by The Lord Mayor of London Alderman Sir Edward Howard, Bt.
at the invitation of J.T.Stephenson Esq. The Chairman of the Bristol River Authority

The weir and sluice are part of the Bath Flood Prevention Scheme designed and carried out by the Bristol and Avon River Authority under the direction of the engineer to the Authority Frank Greenhalgh B Sc., C Eng., F.I.C.E, F.I.W.E."

Plaque 2 is a duplicate of plaque 1 and is fixed to the structure of the flood control gate ("Radial Gate"):

Plaque on flood control gate structure

Location map of plaque 1:
Pulteney Weir plaque location map



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