A stagecoach is a four-wheeled public coach used to carry paying passengers and light packages on journeys long enough to need a change of horses. It is sprung and drawn by four horses. Used before steam-powered rail transport was available a stagecoach made long scheduled trips using stage stations or posts where the stagecoach's horses would be replaced by fresh horses; the business of running stagecoaches or the act of journeying in them was known as staging. Familiar images of the stagecoach are that of a Royal Mail coach passing through a turnpike gate, a Dickensian passenger coach covered in snow pulling up at a coaching inn, a highwayman demanding a coach to "stand and deliver"; the yard of ale drinking glass is associated by legend with stagecoach drivers, though it was used for drinking feats and special toasts. The stagecoach was a closed four-wheeled vehicle drawn by hard-going mules, it was used as a public conveyance on an established route to a regular schedule. Spent horses were replaced with fresh horses at posts, or relays.
A simplified and lightened form of stagecoach, known as a stage wagon, mud-coach, or mud-wagon, was used in the United States under difficult conditions. These were the vehicles. In addition to the stage driver or coachman who guided the vehicle, a shotgun messenger armed with a coach gun might travel as a guard beside him. A stagecoach traveled at an average speed of about 5 miles per hour, with the average daily mileage covered being around 60 to 70 miles.'Stage' referred to the distance between stage stations on a route but through metonymy it came to be applied to the stagecoach. The first crude depiction of a coach was in an English manuscript from the 13th century; the first recorded stagecoach route ran from Edinburgh to Leith. This was followed by a steady proliferation of other routes around the island. By the mid 17th century, a basic stagecoach infrastructure had been put in place. A string of coaching inns operated as stopping points for travellers on the route between London and Liverpool.
The stagecoach would depart every Monday and Thursday and took ten days to make the journey during the summer months. Stagecoaches became adopted for travel in and around London by mid-century and travelled at a few miles per hour. Shakespeare's first plays were performed at coaching inns such as Southwark. By the end of the 17th century stagecoach routes ran down the three main roads in England; the London-York route was advertised in 1698: Whoever is desirous of going between London and York or York and London, Let them Repair to the Black Swan in Holboorn, or the Black Swan in Coney Street, where they will be conveyed in a Stage Coach, which starts every Thursday at Five in the morning. The novelty of this method of transport excited much controversy at the time. One pamphleteer denounced the stagecoach as a "great evil mischievous to trade and destructive to the public health." Another writer, argued that: Besides the excellent arrangement of conveying men and letters on horseback, there is of late such an admirable commodiousness, both for men and women, to travel from London to the principal towns in the country, that the like hath not been known in the world, and, by stage-coaches, wherein any one may be transported to any place, sheltered from foul weather and foul ways.
The speed of travel remained constant until the mid-18th century. Reforms of the turnpike trusts, new methods of road building and the improved construction of coaches led to a sustained rise in the comfort and speed of the average journey - from an average journey length of 2 days for the Cambridge-London route in 1750 to a length of under 7 hours in 1820. Robert Hooke helped in the construction of some of the first spring-suspended coaches in the 1660s and spoked wheels with iron rim brakes were introduced, improving the characteristics of the coach. In 1754, a Manchester-based company began a new service called the "Flying Coach", it was advertised with the following announcement - "However incredible it may appear, this coach will arrive in London in four days and a half after leaving Manchester." A similar service was begun from Liverpool three years using coaches with steel spring suspension. This coach took an unprecedented three days to reach London with an average speed of eight miles per hour.
More dramatic improvements were made by John Palmer at the British Post Office. The postal delivery service in Britain had existed in the same form for about 150 years—from its introduction in 1635, mounted carriers had ridden between "posts" where the postmaster would remove the letters for the local area before handing the remaining letters and any additions to the next rider; the riders were frequent targets for robbers, the system was inefficient. Palmer made much use of the "flying" stagecoach services between cities in the course of his business, noted that it seemed far more efficient than the system of mail delivery in operation, his travel from Bath to London took a single day to the mail's three days. It occurred to him that this stagecoach service could be developed into a national mail delivery service, so in 1782 he suggested to the Post Office in London that they take up the idea, he met resistance from officials who believed that th
London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans; the City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of the London Assembly. London is considered to be one of the world's most important global cities and has been termed the world's most powerful, most desirable, most influential, most visited, most expensive, sustainable, most investment friendly, most popular for work, the most vegetarian friendly city in the world. London exerts a considerable impact upon the arts, education, fashion, healthcare, professional services and development, tourism and transportation.
London ranks 26 out of 300 major cities for economic performance. It is one of the largest financial centres and has either the fifth or sixth largest metropolitan area GDP, it is the most-visited city as measured by international arrivals and has the busiest city airport system as measured by passenger traffic. It is the leading investment destination, hosting more international retailers and ultra high-net-worth individuals than any other city. London's universities form the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe. In 2012, London became the first city to have hosted three modern Summer Olympic Games. London has a diverse range of people and cultures, more than 300 languages are spoken in the region, its estimated mid-2016 municipal population was 8,787,892, the most populous of any city in the European Union and accounting for 13.4% of the UK population. London's urban area is the second most populous in the EU, after Paris, with 9,787,426 inhabitants at the 2011 census.
The population within the London commuter belt is the most populous in the EU with 14,040,163 inhabitants in 2016. London was the world's most populous city from c. 1831 to 1925. London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London. Other landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square and The Shard. London has numerous museums, galleries and sporting events; these include the British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Tate Modern, British Library and West End theatres. The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world. "London" is an ancient name, attested in the first century AD in the Latinised form Londinium. Over the years, the name has attracted many mythicising explanations; the earliest attested appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written around 1136. This had it that the name originated from a supposed King Lud, who had taken over the city and named it Kaerlud.
Modern scientific analyses of the name must account for the origins of the different forms found in early sources Latin, Old English, Welsh, with reference to the known developments over time of sounds in those different languages. It is agreed; this was adapted into Latin as Londinium and borrowed into Old English, the ancestor-language of English. The toponymy of the Common Brythonic form is much debated. A prominent explanation was Richard Coates's 1998 argument that the name derived from pre-Celtic Old European *lowonida, meaning "river too wide to ford". Coates suggested that this was a name given to the part of the River Thames which flows through London. However, most work has accepted a Celtic origin for the name, recent studies have favoured an explanation along the lines of a Celtic derivative of a proto-Indo-European root *lendh-, combined with the Celtic suffix *-injo- or *-onjo-. Peter Schrijver has suggested, on these grounds, that the name meant'place that floods'; until 1889, the name "London" applied to the City of London, but since it has referred to the County of London and Greater London.
"London" is sometimes written informally as "LDN". In 1993, the remains of a Bronze Age bridge were found on the south foreshore, upstream of Vauxhall Bridge; this bridge either reached a now lost island in it. Two of those timbers were radiocarbon dated to between 1750 BC and 1285 BC. In 2010 the foundations of a large timber structure, dated to between 4800 BC and 4500 BC, were found on the Thames's south foreshore, downstream of Vauxhall Bridge; the function of the mesolithic structure is not known. Both structures are on the south bank. Although there is evidence of scattered Brythonic settlements in the area, the first major settlement was founded by the Romans about four years after the invasion
Reading is a large minster town in Berkshire, England, of which it is now the county town. It is in the Thames Valley at the confluence of the River Thames and River Kennet, on both the Great Western Main Line railway and the M4 motorway. Reading is 70 miles east of Bristol, 24 miles south of Oxford, 40 miles west of London, 14 miles north of Basingstoke, 12 miles south-west of Maidenhead and 15 miles east of Newbury as the crow flies; the first evidence for Reading as a settlement dates from the 8th century. It was an important trading and ecclesiastical centre in the medieval period, as the site of Reading Abbey, one of the richest monasteries of medieval England with strong royal connections, of which the 12th century abbey gateway and significant ruins remain. By 1525, Reading was the largest town in Berkshire, tax returns show that Reading was the 10th largest town in England when measured by taxable wealth; the town was affected by the English Civil War, with a major siege and loss of trade, played a pivotal role in the Revolution of 1688, with that revolution's only significant military action fought on the streets of the town.
The 18th century saw the beginning of a major iron works in the town and the growth of the brewing trade for which Reading was to become famous. The 19th century saw the coming of the Great Western Railway and the development of the town's brewing and seed growing businesses. During that period, the town grew as a manufacturing centre. Today, Reading is a major commercial centre, with involvement in information technology and insurance, despite its proximity to London, has a net inward commuter flow, it is ranked the UK's top economic area for economic success and wellbeing, according to factors such as employment, health and skills. Reading is a major regional retail centre serving a large area of the Thames Valley, is home to the University of Reading; every year it hosts one of England's biggest music festivals. Sporting teams based in Reading include Reading Football Club and the London Irish rugby union team, over 15,000 runners annually compete in the Reading Half Marathon. In the 2011 census, the urban area around Reading had an estimated population of 318,014, making it one of the largest towns in the UK without city status.
The Borough of Reading has a population of 163,100. It is represented in Parliament by two members, has been continuously represented there since 1295. For ceremonial purposes the town is in the county of Berkshire and has served as its county town since 1867 sharing this status with Abingdon-on-Thames. Reading may date back to the Roman occupation of Britain as a trading port for Calleva Atrebatum. However, the first clear evidence for Reading as a settlement dates from the 8th century, when the town came to be known as Readingum; the name comes from the Readingas, an Anglo-Saxon tribe whose name means Reada's People in Old English, or less the Celtic Rhydd-Inge, meaning Ford over the River. In late 870, an army of Danes set up camp at Reading. On 4 January 871, in the first Battle of Reading, King Ethelred and his brother Alfred the Great attempted unsuccessfully to breach the Danes' defences; the battle is described in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, that account provides the earliest known written record of the existence of Reading.
The Danes remained in Reading until late in 871, when they retreated to their winter quarters in London. After the Battle of Hastings and the Norman conquest of England, William the Conqueror gave land in and around Reading to his foundation of Battle Abbey. In its 1086 Domesday Book listing, the town was explicitly described as a borough; the presence of six mills is recorded: four on land belonging to the king and two on the land given to Battle Abbey. Reading Abbey was founded in 1121 by Henry I, buried within the Abbey grounds; as part of his endowments, he gave the abbey his lands in Reading, along with land at Cholsey. It is not known how badly Reading was affected by the Black Death that swept through England in the 14th century, but it is known that the abbot of Reading Abbey, Henry of Appleford, was one of its victims in 1361, that nearby Henley lost 60% of its population; the Abbey was destroyed in 1538 during Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries. The last abbot, Hugh Cook Faringdon, was subsequently tried and convicted of high treason and hanged and quartered in front of the Abbey Church.
By 1525, Reading was the largest town in Berkshire, tax returns show that Reading was the 10th largest town in England when measured by taxable wealth. By 1611, it had a population of over 5000 and had grown rich on its trade in cloth, as instanced by the fortune made by local merchant John Kendrick. Reading played an important role during the English Civil War. Despite its fortifications, it had a Royalist garrison imposed on it in 1642; the subsequent Siege of Reading by Parliamentary forces succeeded in April 1643. The town's cloth trade was badly damaged, the town's economy did not recover until the 20th century. Reading played a significant role during the Revolution of 1688: the second Battle of Reading was the only substantial military action of the campaign; the 18th century saw the beginning of a major iron works in the town and the growth of the brewing trade for which Reading was to become famous. Reading's trade benefited from better designed turnpike roads which helped it establish its location on the major coaching routes from London to Oxford and the West Country.
In 1723, despite considerable local opposition, the Kennet Navigation opened the River Kennet to boats as far as Newbury. O
George Palmer (businessman)
George Palmer was a proprietor of the Huntley & Palmers biscuit manufacturers of Reading in England. Palmer was born in Long Sutton in Somerset, the eldest son of William Palmer and his wife, the daughter of William Isaac of Sturminster Newton in Dorset. Both were Quaker families, his wife was a first cousin of James Clark who founded the shoemakers C. & J. Clark, his father died in 1826, he was educated at Sidcot School near Weston-super-Mare, before becoming an apprentice to his uncle, a miller and confectioner. He married Elizabeth Sarah Meteyard in 1850, they had had four daughters. One daughter Emily married the evolutionary biologist Edward Bagnall Poulton, whilst his daughter Alice married the physiologist Augustus Desire Wallace, his wife died in 1894, he died of a stroke at home three years later. Palmer went into business with a cousin Thomas Huntley in 1841, after Thomas's father Joseph Huntley, the founder of the business in 1822, was forced to retire through ill-health, it became apparent that Thomas Huntley did not have his father's good sense of business.
The firm was renamed Palmers. Whilst it was Joseph Huntley's innovation in the introduction of the biscuit tin and in the sale of biscuits to stage coach travellers that created the business, George Palmer is credited with making it a major Victorian success through industrial manufacturing techniques, by using the railways for distribution. With the engineer William Exall, Palmer invented new machinery to manufacture biscuits on an industrial scale; when Thomas Huntley died, in 1857, George Palmer was joined in the business by two brothers, William Isaac Palmer and Samuel Palmer. The turnover of the business had increased from £2,700 in 1841 to £125,000 in 1857, he was joined by his son, George William Palmer. Two other sons of George and four of his nephews, sons of Samuel became partners in the business. By the time of his death in 1897, the business had an annual turnover of more than £1.25 million, selling around 23,000 tons of biscuits each year. The company claimed to be the largest manufacturer of biscuit in the world.
In addition to his business career, George Palmer was involved in politics. He served in the local council in Reading from 1850, was as mayor of Reading in 1857-58, represented the town in parliament, he served as Liberal Member of Parliament for the Parliamentary Borough of Reading from 1878 until 1885, when the two-member seat was reduced to one member. Palmer stood as a candidate for the new constituency of Newbury in 1885, one of three created from the former county seat of Berkshire, but he was not elected, his son George William Palmer was twice elected to represent Reading, serving from 1892 to 1895 and from 1898 to 1904. Palmer's country estate was Marlston House in Bucklebury, he donated the 49 acres of land to Reading. The statue of George Palmer which now stands in Palmer Park was by sculptor George Blackall Simonds and sited in Broad Street, it was unveiled in the same day that Palmer Park opened. The same year, Palmer was given the freedom of Reading, declined the offer of a baronetcy.
The statue was moved c. 1930 to its current location. Penguin Pocket On This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006. ISBN 0-14-102715-0. Courtney, William Prideaux. "Palmer, George". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by George Palmer Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Palmer, George". Encyclopædia Britannica. 20. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 644–645
England is a country, part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to Scotland to the north-northwest; the Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south; the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world; the English language, the Anglican Church, English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, the country's parliamentary system of government has been adopted by other nations.
The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the west; the capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom concentrated around London, the South East, conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century; the Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles"; the Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Anglia peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea; the earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late-ninth-century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was part of the English kingdom of Northumbria; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years the Chronicle stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used; the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe, less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England. An alternative name for England is Albion; the name Albion referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus the 4th-century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth.
In it are two large islands called Britannia. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins, it either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend; the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximate
Bristol is a city and county in South West England with a population of 459,300. The wider district has the 10th-largest population in England; the urban area population of 724,000 is the 8th-largest in the UK. The city borders North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, with the cities of Bath and Gloucester to the south-east and north-east, respectively. South Wales lies across the Severn estuary. Iron Age hill forts and Roman villas were built near the confluence of the rivers Frome and Avon, around the beginning of the 11th century the settlement was known as Brycgstow. Bristol received a royal charter in 1155 and was divided between Gloucestershire and Somerset until 1373, when it became a county of itself. From the 13th to the 18th century, Bristol was among the top three English cities after London in tax receipts. Bristol was surpassed by the rapid rise of Birmingham and Liverpool in the Industrial Revolution. Bristol was a starting place for early voyages of exploration to the New World.
On a ship out of Bristol in 1497 John Cabot, a Venetian, became the first European since the Vikings to land on mainland North America. In 1499 William Weston, a Bristol merchant, was the first Englishman to lead an exploration to North America. At the height of the Bristol slave trade, from 1700 to 1807, more than 2,000 slave ships carried an estimated 500,000 people from Africa to slavery in the Americas; the Port of Bristol has since moved from Bristol Harbour in the city centre to the Severn Estuary at Avonmouth and Royal Portbury Dock. Bristol's modern economy is built on the creative media and aerospace industries, the city-centre docks have been redeveloped as centres of heritage and culture; the city has the largest circulating community currency in the UK—the Bristol pound, pegged to the Pound sterling. The city has two universities, the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England, a variety of artistic and sporting organisations and venues including the Royal West of England Academy, the Arnolfini, Spike Island, Ashton Gate and the Memorial Stadium.
It is connected to London and other major UK cities by road and rail, to the world by sea and air: road, by the M5 and M4. One of the UK's most popular tourist destinations, Bristol was selected in 2009 as one of the world's top ten cities by international travel publishers Dorling Kindersley in their Eyewitness series of travel guides; the Sunday Times named it as the best city in Britain in which to live in 2014 and 2017, Bristol won the EU's European Green Capital Award in 2015. The most ancient recorded name for Bristol is the archaic Welsh Caer Odor, consistent with modern understanding that early Bristol developed between the River Frome and Avon Gorge, it is most stated that the Saxon name Bricstow was a simple calque of the existing Celtic name, with Bric a literal translation of Odor, the common Saxon suffix Stow replacing Caer. Alternative etymologies are supported by numerous orthographic variations in medieval documents, with Samuel Seyer enumerating 47 alternative forms; the Old English form Brycgstow is used to derive the meaning place at the bridge.
Utilizing another form, Rev. Dr. Shaw derived the name from the Celtic words bras, or braos and tuile; the poet Thomas Chatterton popularised a derivation from Brictricstow linking the town to Brictric, a leading landholder in the area. It appears that the form Bricstow prevailed until 1204, the Bristolian'L' is what changed the name to Bristol. Archaeological finds, including flint tools believed to be between 300,000 and 126,000 years old made with the Levallois technique, indicate the presence of Neanderthals in the Shirehampton and St Annes areas of Bristol during the Middle Palaeolithic. Iron Age hill forts near the city are at Leigh Woods and Clifton Down, on the side of the Avon Gorge, on Kings Weston Hill near Henbury. A Roman settlement, existed at what is now Sea Mills. Isolated Roman villas and small forts and settlements were scattered throughout the area. Bristol was founded by 1000. By 1067 Brycgstow was a well-fortified burh, that year the townsmen beat off a raiding party from Ireland led by three of Harold Godwinson's sons.
Under Norman rule, the town had one of the strongest castles in southern England. Bristol was the place of exile for Diarmait Mac Murchada, the Irish king of Leinster, after being overthrown; the Bristol merchants subsequently played a prominent role in funding Richard Strongbow de Clare and the Norman invasion of Ireland. The port developed in the 11th century around the confluence of the Rivers Frome and Avon, adjacent to Bristol Bridge just outside the town walls. By the 12th century Bristol was an important port, handling much of England's trade with Ireland, including slaves. There was an important Jewish community in Bristol from the late 12th century through to the late 13th century when all Jews were expelled from England; the stone bridge built in 1247 was replaced by the current bridge during the 1760s. The town incorporated neighbouring suburbs and became a county in 1373, the first town in England to be given this status. During this period, Bristol became manufacturing centre. By the 14th centur
Bath is the largest city in the ceremonial county of Somerset, known for its Roman-built baths. In 2011, the population was 88,859. Bath is in the valley of the River Avon, 97 miles west of London and 11 miles south-east of Bristol; the city became a World Heritage site in 1987. The city became a spa with the Latin name Aquae Sulis c. 60 AD when the Romans built baths and a temple in the valley of the River Avon, although hot springs were known before then. Bath Abbey became a religious centre. In the 17th century, claims were made for the curative properties of water from the springs, Bath became popular as a spa town in the Georgian era. Georgian architecture, crafted from Bath stone, includes the Royal Crescent, Pump Room and Assembly Rooms where Beau Nash presided over the city's social life from 1705 until his death in 1761. Many of the streets and squares were laid out by John Wood, the Elder, in the 18th century the city became fashionable and the population grew. Jane Austen lived in Bath in the early 19th century.
Further building was undertaken in the 19th century and following the Bath Blitz in World War II. The city has software and service-oriented industries. Theatres and other cultural and sporting venues have helped make it a major centre for tourism, with more than one million staying visitors and 3.8 million day visitors to the city each year. There are several museums including the Museum of Bath Architecture, the Victoria Art Gallery, the Museum of East Asian Art, the Herschel Museum of Astronomy and the Holburne Museum; the city has two universities – the University of Bath and Bath Spa University – with Bath College providing further education. Sporting clubs include Bath Rugby and Bath City F. C.. Bath became part of the county of Avon in 1974, following Avon's abolition in 1996, has been the principal centre of Bath and North East Somerset; the hills in the locality such as Bathampton Down saw human activity from the Mesolithic period. Several Bronze Age round barrows were opened by John Skinner in the 18th century.
Solsbury Hill overlooking the current city was an Iron Age hill fort, the adjacent Bathampton Camp may have been one. A long barrow site believed to be from the Beaker people was flattened to make way for RAF Charmy Down. Archaeological evidence shows that the site of the Roman baths' main spring may have been treated as a shrine by the Britons, was dedicated to the goddess Sulis, whom the Romans identified with Minerva. Messages to her scratched onto metal, known as curse tablets, have been recovered from the sacred spring by archaeologists; the tablets were written in Latin, cursed people whom the writers felt had wronged them. For example, if a citizen had his clothes stolen at the baths, he might write a curse, naming the suspects, on a tablet to be read by the goddess. A temple was constructed in AD 60–70, a bathing complex was built up over the next 300 years. Engineers drove oak piles into the mud to provide a stable foundation, surrounded the spring with an irregular stone chamber lined with lead.
In the 2nd century, the spring was enclosed within a wooden barrel-vaulted structure that housed the caldarium and frigidarium. The town was given defensive walls in the 3rd century. After the failure of Roman authority in the first decade of the 5th century, the baths fell into disrepair and were lost as a result of rising water levels and silting. In March 2012 a hoard of 30,000 silver Roman coins, one of the largest discovered in Britain, was unearthed in an archaeological dig; the coins, believed to date from the 3rd century, were found about 150 m from the Roman baths. Bath may have been the site of the Battle of Badon, in which King Arthur is said to have defeated the Anglo-Saxons; the town was captured by the West Saxons in 577 after the Battle of Deorham. A monastery was founded at an early date – reputedly by Saint David although more in 675 by Osric, King of the Hwicce using the walled area as its precinct. Nennius, a 9th-century historian, mentions a "Hot Lake" in the land of the Hwicce along the River Severn, adds "It is surrounded by a wall, made of brick and stone, men may go there to bathe at any time, every man can have the kind of bath he likes.
If he wants, it will be a cold bath. Bede described hot baths in the geographical introduction to the Ecclesiastical History in terms similar to those of Nennius. King Offa of Mercia gained control of the monastery in 781 and rebuilt the church, dedicated to St. Peter. According to the Victorian churchman Edward Churton, during the Anglo-Saxon era Bath was known as Acemannesceastre, or'aching men's city', on account of the reputation these springs had for healing the sick. By the 9th century the old Roman street pattern was lost and Bath was a royal possession. King Alfred laid out the town afresh. In the Burghal Hidage, Bath is recorded as a burh and is described as having walls of 1,375 yards and was allocated 1000 men for defence. During the reign of Edward the Elder coins were minted in Bath based on a design from the Winchester mint but with'BAD' on the obverse relating to the Anglo-Saxon name for the town, Baðum, Baðan or Baðon, meaning "at the baths", this was the