Today the Virtual Museum of Bath was invited into the major building site on the Saw Close where Monday week (April 18th) rigs will arrive to start sinking the piles on which a multi-million pound commercial development will eventually sit.
Stand by for restaurants, a hotel and casino which will be partially fronted by the old Grade 2 listed tower entrance through which the public flocked – over the years – for musical theatre, dancing and finally a game of bingo.
Just recently contractors found a portion of fabric – bearing the name of the old Palace Theatre – in old cellars discovered beneath the site. They are due to be filled in with concrete ‘foam’ over the next couple of days.
Archaeologists from Cotswold Archaeology have worked alongside Sanctus site manager John Cossins Price and his men who have dealt with the demolition, safe extraction of asbestos and now laid the foundation for the new development.
Underneath it all – carefully marked out to avoid major damage from piles – sits a pipe factory, roman mosaic floors and Georgian cellars. It’s all been photographed and recorded by the archaeologists who will no doubt eventually publish their findings.
The exposed pipe factory was visited by hundreds of Bathonians during a special ‘open day’ last year.
Here’s a selection of images from today – including some from inside the old theatre bar alongside. Originally the theatre ticket office – it finished its life as the Market Public House. This will also form part of the new scheme.