Visitors will be able to see conservation work in progress on the statues of famous Romans at the Roman Baths from next week (Monday 9 January).
Julius Caesar, Claudius, Hadrian and Constantine the Great will all have a careful clean and undergo minor repairs to keep them looking their best and also protect them for the longer term.
The work will involve the erection of scaffolding at the east end of the Great Bath and on the western terrace and will take place between Monday 9 January and Thursday 26 January. The Roman Baths, including the Great Bath, will remain open throughout and visitors will be able to speak to the conservators at intervals throughout the day.
Stephen Clews, Roman Baths and Pump Room Manager, said: “We carry out conservation work to these statues every nine or 10 years. They are quite fragile and, being made of Bath stone, are vulnerable to the weather. When the work is finished they won’t look dramatically different, but good conservation is like that. The important thing is that they will still be here for visitors to appreciate and enjoy for many years to come.”
Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Bath & North East Somerset Council, which owns the Roman Baths, said: “This conservation is part of an ongoing programme to protect the Roman Baths and present them to the public for them to enjoy. The Council takes seriously its duty of care for the historic monuments in public ownership and does this type of conservation in small amounts each winter to cause as little disruption as possible.”
All of the statues apart from Julius Caesar date from Victorian times. They were carved by the sculptor GA Lawson and erected by architect John McKean Brydon, ready for the grand opening of the Roman Baths to the public in 1897. Julius Caesar was added in 1989, to replace an older version that had been vandalised.
Late last year their companions on the terrace overlooking the great Roman Bath – the Emperor Vespasian and the early Governors of Britain, Julius Agricola, Suetonius Paulinus and Ostorius Scapula – all had similar treatment.