The Holburne Museum was originally constructed in 1795 as'The Sydney Hotel' by local architect Thomas Baldwin, who also oversaw the construction of many streets, townhouses and civic buildings within the city of Bath, most notably the renovated Guildhall and the original Pump Room.
The Sydney Hotel was originally created as a social tavern - intended as a meeting-place with accommodation rather than a traditional hotel. During the 19th century it performed a number of functions, at different times housing a therapeutic centre and a college, before its purchase by Bath City Council in 1880, and a subsequent resale to the Holburne Trustees in 1912. The interior of the building was completely redesigned and refurbished at this point by Reginald Blomfield, and the Holburne Art Museum opened its doors to the public for the first time in 1916.
Skip ahead to more recent years, and the Museum has once again undergone fairly extensive restoration, which was undertaken during 2010 and duly completed early in 2011. This most recent programme of renovation work has seen an innovative glass extension erected to the rear of the building, which at a single stroke has practically doubled the Museum's previous exhibition space.