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History of BathRec

Pre 1894

The Recreation Ground and land off North Parade were part of the Bathwick Estate held by the Forester family.


Captain G W Forester granted a lease to the Directors of the Bath and County Recreation Ground Company Limited.  This allowed the company to execute such works as should render it suitable for cricket matches, lawn tennis, archery tournaments, football matches and other outdoor sports (including the first Bath Rugby matches on the Recreation Ground).  The works included building a pavilion on the north side of the Recreation Ground. 


The first ever Somerset County Cricket festival (also known as the Bath Cricket Festival) was held.  This event ran more or less continuously from 1897. 


A further lease was granted to the Directors of the Bath and County Recreation Ground Company Limited for a term of 21 years at a rent of £100 per year. 


The Recreation Ground and the North Parade land were conveyed by the trustees of the Forester estate to the Bath and County Recreation Ground Company Limited for a price of £6,050.  The Deed of conveyance included restrictive covenants (the 1922 covenants). 

The North Parade land then included a building known as 'the Pavilion' which was used as an ice skating rink. The company then conveyed the North Parade land to Bath Aircraft Limited for the sum of £2,500. 


A lease was granted to Bath Football Club for land on the west of the Recreation Ground, together with a grandstand, a new north stand and a pavilion, for a term of 25 years. 


Bath Aircraft Limited conveyed the North Parade land to the Mayor Aldermen and Citizens of the City of Bath (the Corporation) for a price of £4,500. 


A new west stand was erected (in place of the grandstand) on the land used by Bath Football Club.  The 1927 lease was surrendered and a new lease granted for a further 50 years.


The west stand was extensively damaged by bombing during the blitz. 


The west stand was rebuilt.  The cost of more than £12,000 was met by the War Damage Commission.


Agreement was given for the erection of a building called 'the Club Room' to the west of the north stand on the land used by Bath Football Club.  A lease was also granted to James Colmer Limited for land in the north east corner of the Recreation Ground together with a pavilion to be used for the purposes of a tennis club. 


The Recreation Ground was conveyed to the Mayor Aldermen and Citizens of the City of Bath (the Corporation) on the 1st February 1956 for £11,155. 


The 1933 lease was surrendered and a new 75 year lease granted to Bath Football Club.


On the reorganisation of local government, the Recreation Ground and the North Parade land were transferred to Bath City Council. 


The Sports and Leisure Centre was erected by the Bath City Council on the south side of the Recreation Ground with an access over the North Parade land. 


A new 75 year lease was granted to Bath Football Club. 


Doubts over the legal effect of the 1956 Conveyance were settled when the High Court declared the Recreation Ground to be a charitable trust, with the Council as its trustee.  The Charity Commission initiated an investigation and appointed interim managers. 


The Council commenced a Strategic Review to consider how to resolve the legal issues and to establish the best way forward. 


The management of the Trust was handed back to the Council.  This role was carried out through a Trust Board of three councillors.  The title of the land was vested in the Official Custodian.  The Strategic Review was published.  Consultation revealed that a majority of respondents were in favour of varying the existing usage.

2008 - 2010 

The Trust developed proposals involving the retention of both the Rugby Club and the Leisure Centre on the Recreation Ground.  Additional land would be acquired to replace the area affected by the Rugby Club's lease. 


Consultation on the Trust's proposals showed strong public support.  The Trust presented its proposals to the Charity Commission. 


The Charity Commission published a draft Scheme to give effect to the proposals.  The Trust published an accompanying explanatory booklet.  There was again strong public support but also a significant minority of objections. 


The Charity Commission's final Scheme was published.  A new, independent trustee body was created and provided with the powers to implement the proposals.  The Council was made the custodian trustee.  The new trustees were appointed and commenced discussions with Bath Rugby and the Council.  In the meantime, an appeal was lodged against the Scheme. 


The Appeal was heard by the First-Tier Tribunal and the Scheme was amended to substantially limit the Trust's powers.  The Trust appealed against the decision of the First-Tier Tribunal. 

Interim agreements were made with Bath Rugby.  Negotiations commenced with the Council for a lease to regularise the position of the leisure Centre.  Support services from the Council were concluded and a General Manager, Office Manager and Groundsman were appointed by the Trust. 


The First Tier Tribunal issued a final Scheme in December 2016.   This brought to an end the long running legal matters and paved the way for future strategy to focus on the Charity's Objects.   The General Manager was re-appointed as Chief Executive and the Trust began the process of Incorporation.


Bath Recreation Limited was incorporated on 2 January 2018.   The Charitable Company subsumed Bath Recreation Ground Trust and all operations.   Bath Recreation Ground Trust is now a linked Charity to Bath Recreation Limited to hold the Title of Bath Recreation Ground only.  Bath Recreation Limited became the operating Charity and is the sole Trustee of Bath Recreation Ground Trust.




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