ION-DRI Programme


Did you know?

Freya Gabie, as Artist in Residence has been exploring the unique history of 256 Grays Inn Road. Here she shares some of her findings from her archive of research

Did You Know...?

Did you know this site has been connected to health and wellness for centuries? 

A spring found in 1760 turned this site into one of the 18th Century’s most popular public spas.

In 1760, John Bevis, an English doctor, electrical researcher, and astronomer discovered iron-rich spring water on this site that was found to have health-giving properties to those who drank it. This led to the creation of Bagnigge Wells, one of the most popular public spas of the 18th century, with people coming from far and wide to drink the purgative waters.

Bagnigge Wells Tea Gardens, King's Cross Road © London Metropolitan Archives

Bagnigge Well was discovered after Bevis was asked by the proprietor of Bagnigge house to investigate why he was struggling to grow flowers in his garden. This led to the discovery of Bagnigge Well, St Chad’s Well, further up Grays Inn Road towards Kings Cross, and nearby Black Mary’s Hole. These three springs fed the now subterranean river Fleet, which runs along the east of the site, causing the river to become known as ‘The River of Wells.’ 

The subterranean River Fleet ©sub-urban.com

Alongside John Bevis’s discovery of the mineral springs, he was the first to compile a celestial atlas, the Uranographia Britannica, which alongside a survey of 2,935 stars observed from his home in London, was the first to also include non-stella objects. This Atlas was sadly never published in Bevis’s lifetime but was later printed anonymously under the name Atlas Celeste. 

Atlas: Uranographia Britannica, John Bevis, c1790. Photograph by Freya Gabie

I was interested in Bevis’s ability to enquire and imagine past the surface of things - these investigations revealing what was beyond earth and sky. The ambition and imagination needed for such inquiry seemed so connected to all I have learned about the incredible neurological research due to take place on this site in the future. Neurological research also reveals beyond and beneath the surface; as such it is a journey of discovery. It seemed fitting to create a new Atlas for the research centre drawing from and celebrating the health-giving waters still running beneath 

Freya Gabie, Artist in Residence

Find out more about Freya Gabie's work