History of Number 10
Number 10 Kingsmead Square is part of a terrace of quasi-uniform houses forming the south side of the square. It’s history can be dated by rent book and deed evidence to around 1736. At this time there were only 3 other buildings in the square apparently on the west side including Rosewell House. The development of Kingsmead Square is described by contemporary Jon Wood in his essay towards a description of Bath and ascribes the design of the buildings to 18th century Bristol architect John Strahan.
The houses in Kingsmead Square have nothing, save ornaments without to please the eye.
Kingsmead Square was both geographically and socially on the edge of fashionable Bath. Our terrace was regarded as as a bulwark against the ill-famed streets that lay beyond. This may have helped in it’s defense against proposed demolition which threatened once in 1938 to make way for a cinema and again in 1969. It was eventually refurbished during the 1970s.
Over the years residents of Number 10 have included many types of tradespeople among them a greengrocer, French polisher, smith, bootmaker and charwoman. But the longest standing was undoubtedly Frank Ridout, owner of a fish restaurant. Grace & Ted was once his original restaurant, while Ridout and his family occupied the floors above.
Number 10 Kingsmead Square was a lovely old house on the corner. Of course, it was Georgian and had lovely mahogany… I always remember the staircase, mahogany banisters that used to curve round. There was gas light in most of the rooms and my father I think, had electricity put in some of the rooms but it was a big house.
We were all born there, apart from one. We had a playroom at the top of the house. The rooms were much smaller, where the maids used to sleep. In fact, we had somebody who used to work for my parents and she used to work for us and her name was Elsie and she came and she lived in. She used to get up in the morning and bring tea into the parents, things like that.
Our house in Kingsmead Square was tall because, you know it was Georgian, and it suddenly went down to little artisan cottages, two up and two down, with a back yard. There were a couple of gypsies that lived next door to the pub and they used to put things to sell outside the front door. And then you got the Trinity (pub) and then you got to Avon Street, where you just didn’t go.
I knew people who lived next door who were the Wiltshires, a very nice family with two daughters. We got friendly with them but they were artisans and my father didn’t want us to go there. My parents used to say ‘don’t you go in that house’ and I didn’t know why.
A member of the Ridout family (1925-2010)
The place I was born in was number 10 Kingsmead Square. It was a nice big old house. It’s on the corner, you know, where the tree is in Kingsmead Square. It’s that house on the corner. It looked across to where Silcox, Son and Wicks… you know, the furniture lot. We had the whole house.
A member of the Ridout family (1920-2006)