Boom year for Baths

The Great Roman Bath which is fed with water from the Sacred King's spring.
The Great Roman Bath which is fed with water from the Sacred King’s spring.

Four thousand short of a million people visited the Roman Baths in 2013 – making it a record year for the city’s premier attraction.

A figure of 996,169 is a big bounce back after a six per cent drop the year before when tourist numbers were affected by the London Olympics.

In figures given to the Economic and Community Development Policy  Development and Scrutiny Panel (they must come up with shorter, sensible names for these gatherings!) councillors heard the same success wasn’t being felt at other cultural attractions.

The Fashion Museum – at 98,591 – was down from 118,943 in 2012 when National Trust members were admitted free on an experimental basis – this stopped last year. However in 2013 the number of paying visitors rose to 85,133 from 69,948 in 2012, and income rose from £398,000 in 2012 to £508,000 in 2013.

Fashion doll’s mantua, yellow and silver woven brocaded silk, 1760s Woman’s court mantua, green-brown woven brocaded silk, possibly worn by Elizabeth Linley at the court of George III, 1760s
Fashion doll’s mantua, yellow and silver woven brocaded silk, 1760s
Woman’s court mantua, green-brown woven brocaded silk, possibly worn by Elizabeth Linley at the court of George III, 1760s
The new look upper gallery at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath. May 4th 2012. Photographer Freia Turland e:info@ftphotography.co.uk m:07875514528
The new look upper gallery at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath. May 4th 2012. Photographer Freia Turland e:info@ftphotography.co.uk m:07875514528

The introduction of charges for temporary exhibitions hit the Victoria Gallery with numbers down to 94,169 from 103,275 in 2012.

However members were told that  Heritage Services’ business strategy, approved by the Council, has involved on- going investment in the Roman Baths.

This, together with an aggressive pricing policy, has successfully grown visitor numbers, visitor satisfaction levels and income.

More modest investment in the Fashion Museum, including a series of ‘blockbuster’ exhibitions, has arrested and reversed the decline in visitors there.