Roman Baths Learning Centre plans for former city laundry

Bath & North East Somerset Council has appointed local architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS) as lead designers

The illustration shows the proposed Archway Centre.

The illustration shows the proposed Archway Centre.

for the planned ‘Archway Centre’ project in Bath.

The project will create a state-of-the-art Roman Baths Learning Centre above the former city laundry in Swallow Street and a World Heritage Site Visitor Centre in 10 York Street. Visitors will also be able to walk through spaces beneath York Street excavated by City Architect, Major Davies in the 1880s, and see parts of the Roman Baths that have never before been open to regular public access.

The arch in York Street.

The arch in York Street.

The Council submitted a successful round one development grant application* to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for £168,100 in 2014. Council staff will work with the design team over the next nine months to prepare a round two application to the HLF early in 2016 for capital funding for the Archway Centre. The project is expected to cost around £5 million.

The old laundry in Swallow Street

The old laundry in Swallow Street

Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “This significant project will help bring to life our heritage, improving the quality of experience for schoolchildren and others visiting the Roman Baths and also providing better interpretation of the World Heritage Site for everyone. FCBS has proven in open competition that they have the skills and relevant experience to develop these plans.”

The Great Bath - part of the  Roman bathing complex built around the thermal waters.

The Great Bath – part of the Roman bathing complex built around the thermal waters.

Matt Somerville, Project Associate at FCBS, said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to work in our home city on the most important Roman archaeological site in the country, a defining part of Bath’s World Heritage status. This project will bring back to life a really important group of buildings which have, until now, been sadly overlooked and it’s a daunting but extremely exciting prospect. We’re looking forward to working with Bath & North East Somerset Council to make a visit to the Roman Baths even more enjoyable than it is already.”

Other members of the design team are Bath-based structural and civil engineers Integral Engineering Design and mechanical and electrical engineers Method Consulting from Swindon.

Notes of interest from your Director.

1. * Heritage Grants (HG) applications are assessed in two rounds. A first-round pass is given when HLF has endorsed outline proposals and earmarked funding. A first-round pass may also include an immediate award to fund the development of the project. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second-round and as long as plans have progressed satisfactorily and according to the original proposal, an award for the project is confirmed.

2. From the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife, we use National Lottery players’ money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about. http://www.hlf.org.uk.

3. For further information about the Archway Centre see http://www.romanbaths.co.uk/archwaycentre

4. For further information about the City of Bath UNESCO World Heritage Site see http://www.bathworldheritage.org.uk/