Beauty of Bath

Origin and History

Beauty of Bath was once the most important commercially-grown early eating apple in Britain. Its big drawback is that it does not keep and the variety fell out of favour after World War II when the market became flooded with foreign imports. 

 

The apple was first recorded growing in the village of Bailbrook near Bath and originally named Bailbrook Seedling. Somerset nurseryman George Cooling introduced it commercially in 1864 under the name Beauty of Bath and it won a first class certificate from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1887. By the 1930s Beauty of Bath was growing in commercial orchards across the country.

Fruit

The deliciously-perfumed fruit is small and regular in shape with an appearance often described as 'handsome.' The yellow skin is heavily striped with bright red streaks. The flesh is creamy white, soft, juicy, and sometimes stained pink under the skin. The flavour is distinctive and fairly sharp.

Picking, Storing and Using

Eaten straight from the tree Beauty of Bath is a lovely dessert apple and can be picked as early as July, but if stored for more than a couple of days it becomes bland and mealy. It has a tendency to drop its fruit before they are quite ripe and historically growers spread straw around the base of the tree to prevent windfalls from bruising.  

Growth, Flowering and Pollination

The tree is large, strong and spreading with unusually small, finely-serrated leaves. It blossoms early, making it susceptible to frost damage, and does better in warm, sheltered positions where it often crops heavily. It has good disease resistance, particularly to scab.

Copyright © Karen Meadows 2018

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