Hill House is at the end of Belvedere Terrace, which was built in 1760. It was originally called Belvedere Inn and was fist known as an inn in 1792. For the next 30 years The Belvedere Inn and Tavern seems to have grown in commercial status in Bath as auctions of large properties advertised as taking place from the premises. In 1809 a Mr George Hulbert purchased the Belvedere Inn and later the adjacent property at No 24 Belvedere. The two properties were renamed the Belvedere Private Hotel. In 1819 an advertisement in the Bath Directory stressed the refined nature of the establishment.
“Belvedere Private Hotel
For Ladies, Gentlemen and Families of Distinction;
Most delightfully situated at No 24 and 25, Belvedere, Bath.
GJ Hulbert, Foreign Wine and Spirit Merchant,
begs leave to announce to the Nobility,
that he has fitted up the above House in a neat and commodious Style,
comprising every Accommodation of an Inn,
without any of its attendant Inconveniences.
This establishment is unconnected with,
and entirely distinct from the Public Line,
By which Plan it has already received the Patronage and
Support of the first Ladies and Gentlemen of Distinction visiting Bath,
By whom it is allowed to stand unrivalled for its Neatness
as well as every Comfort, which will be always the
Study of the Proprietor to continue.”
The Hotel, however, did not last long. In 1829 George Hulbert died and his widow decided to let No 24 Belvedere as lodgings. No 25 Belvedere became a wine and spirit merchants, known at the Belvedere Wine Vaults.
Around 1840 the Hulbert’s son, Henry, built and extension on the corner of Morford Street ( now the breakfast room) and moved the wine merchants into it. This formed the centre of a string of outlets including in Broad street (under the post office) and later to the north side of the assemble rooms. These were “opened [as] a receiving box for orders [with] stores for porter, ales, cider and perry”.
In 1858 The Belvedere Wine Vaults (or Belvedere Wine Cellars as it was sometimes known) was sold. A plan of that time shows that directly behind it was a pub called “The Bunch of Grapes”. This had originally been know as The Belvedere Tap and provided a service for servants and coachmen of those staying in the Belvedere Inn. It had its own brew house and stable at the rear.
The layout of the properties have not changed to this day and can be view from the rear of Hill House across to what is now the bath Museum of Works.
The Belvedere Wine Vaults was first registered as a pub in 1926. It continued as a pub with rooms until 2011 when it was converted into a 6 bedroom guest house with owners’ accommodation in the basement. However, the original wine vaults remain in tact in their original state in which they were built in 1760. The vaults, like many in Bath, extend under the road and can be viewed upon request.
“We wish to acknowledge the book called Bath Pubs, by Kirsten Elliott and Andrew Swift published by Akeman Press and thank the authors for its use in putting together this short history of Hill House. Bath Pubs is an excellent read and well researched history of the drinking establishments of Bath – some of which remain to this day – and we recommend it to both guests and visitors to this website alike.”
Finally, thank you to Bath archive Department for the maps below. It is interesting to know that, as these maps show, when our property was built, The Royal Crescent was not completed, Camden Crescent was not started and Morford Street did not exist. Indeed, if you opened our side entrance in 1762 you would have looked out over fields!