‘Magic’ lanterns

‘Magic’ lanterns

Out working as a member of the Mayor of Bath’s Corps of Honorary Guides this morning and a bit of a treat for the ten tourists l led into Bath’s Assembly Rooms.

They were in time to see the cut-glass-crystal London-made Georgian chandeliers – that hang in the ballroom – hovering almost at floor level.


They have been winched downwards to enable some early spring cleaning by the specialist firm that the National Trust brings in to clean and maintain these most precious objects. Some of the most important to have survived from the 18th century.


Seem to have collected a few ‘orbs’ on this iPhone 6 shot?

These are replacements – fashioned after part of one of the original set collapsed just one month after the rooms opening in 1771. The falling fragment nearly landed on Thomas Gainsborough’s head! He wrote to a friend the next morning with news of his lucky escape.


All the chandeliers were hidden in the stone mines surrounding Bath just before war broke out in 1939. Just as well, as the Assembly Rooms were gutted by fire in the 1942 Baedecker Raids.

The chandeliers were re-hung when the building was restored between 1956 and 1963.


HLF to help fund Royal Crescent celebrations

HLF to help fund Royal Crescent celebrations

Bath Preservation Trust has received a grant of £69,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting city-wide project the Trust will lead throughout 2017, to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Royal Crescent in Bath.


No other building better represents the architectural innovation, social identity and creative imagination of Georgian Britain than the Royal Crescent in Bath. The foundation stone for this masterpiece of eighteenth century design was laid on 19th May 1767 and since then it has become one of the most famous buildings in Britain. It stands as a doorway through which the history of the Georgian period can be discovered and the architecture of the future inspired.


The project will include exhibitions, debates, community events, guided walks and artworks exploring the enduring power of a single building. Primarily focused in and around the Trust’s three city-centre museums, there are also activities in partnerships with Bath Festivals, RIBA South West and The Natural Theatre Company. The hashtag #royalcrescent250 will be used to spread the word on social media and the specially designed logo will be available for the promotion of any Royal Crescent 250 events.


Caroline Kay, Chief Executive of Bath Preservation Trust, said:

“We are delighted to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund which allows us to move forward with our ambitious programme of exhibitions, projects and community engagement. Alongside our own activities we hope that our leadership of this project will encourage others in the City to put on their own celebrations of the creation of an icon, and for further sponsors and other partners to join us.”

Nerys Watts, Head of HLF South West, said:

“One of the greatest examples of Georgian architecture, the Royal Crescent has stood witness to 250 years of life and development in Bath. Thanks to National Lottery players, we’re delighted to support this programme which will not only celebrate this milestone anniversary, but also enable communities to get involved in exploring the heritage of their city and add their own perspectives. We look forward to the year ahead!”


Bath Preservation Trust’s celebrations will encompass:

  • Six exhibitions across No. 1 Royal Crescent, The Museum of Bath Architecture and the Herschel Museum of Astronomy through which the Royal Crescent, its architecture, social history and influence will be better interpreted and explained.  Through those exhibitions the influence of Bath as a centre for creativity during the eighteenth century will be explored, and the influence such creativity continues to have today and could have in the future. 
  • Over 60 events that will offer the opportunity to enjoy walks, talks, tours, workshops, debates and activities. Local residents and visitors to Bath, community groups and schools will have the chance to join in and discover more about the Royal Crescent and what it can teach us about Bath’s built heritage and social history.
  • Training sessions from lectures to guided walks will offer over 250 new and existing volunteers the opportunity to add to their skills and knowledge.
  • The creation of new digital resources to enable a wider and more diverse range of people to participate in the project and learn about the Royal Crescent and its legacy.

Bath Preservation Trust

Bath Preservation Trust is a local amenity group and registered charity. It was set up in 1934 to safeguard the historic city of Bath, now the only complete city in the UK afforded World Heritage Site status. The RC250 project offers the opportunity for the Trust to work together across its own museums and with the wider city to encourage greater understanding of the heritage of Bath and work towards fulfilling the Trust’s aims which are:

  • to encourage and support the conservation, evolution and enhancement of Bath and its environs within a framework appropriate both to its historic setting and its sustainable future, and
  • to provide educational resources, including museums, which focus on the architectural and historic importance of the city.

The Trust does this by:

  • Campaigning and providing expert advice and opinion of planning applications, planning policy and legislation, and other matters affecting the World Heritage site and its environs;
  • Running four museums with specific themes and collections relating to the Georgian period, its economy, its buildings, social life and personalities;
  • Providing educational resources, lectures, talks and events for all ages, in particular relating to the Georgian buildings in Bath and the wider architectural development of the City; and
  • Having the active membership of involved and concerned subscribers.

The museums of Bath Preservation Trust share these aims and also have their own aims that work towards specific goals.  The individuality of each museum is strengthened and enhanced when working together and this project will enable a wide variety of ideas to be explored and heritage to be explained.

www.bath-preservation-trust.org.uk   Twitter  Facebook  Instagram


About the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk.  Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported.HLF lens financial support to Crescent

Lottery boost for Sydney Gardens


 Bath’s historic park  Sydney Gardens has been awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund’s Parks for People programme.

sydney gardens

Winter sunshine in Sydney Gardens

A partnership between Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Parks Team, the Friends of Sydney Gardens, local residents’ groups and the Holburne Museum has successfully bid for £332,000 for Sydney Gardens.

The money is the first part of a programme to secure a £3.6 million grant to improve the  park – all that’s left of a Georgian Pleasure Garden or Vauxhall.

The money will be used to restore historic buildings, invest in landscaping works and deliver activities designed to create ‘a beautiful and tranquil pleasure garden that achieves a renaissance as a unique, fun and restorative environment for all ages’.

sydney gardens

MInerva’s Temple – brought from the Empire Exhibition at the Crystal Palace and re-erected here in 1913-14.

The programme will include renovation of the play area and new gardens; and public events such as art sessions, community archaeology days and outdoor tai chi.

Starting in the spring, a design team will be working with the local community to develop these plans in more detail, with a full application submitted in June 2018.


If successful, this will mean an investment of £3.3 million – a once in a lifetime opportunity for what is thought to be Britain’s only remaining 18th century pleasure garden.

Councillor Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North) Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “The Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund have given a huge boost to the Council by awarding us this money, which will be used to improve what is the only remaining 18th Century pleasure garden in the country.

“We are very fortunate to have many parks and green spaces in Bath and North East Somerset. Sydney Gardens is one of our most beautiful and tranquil open spaces and this money will help to ensure it can be enjoyed by many for years to come.”

sydney gardens

Chairman of the Friends of Sydney Gardens, Jonny East, said: “This is a great example of how the council’s Parks Team, working in partnership with the local community, can attract a substantial amount of external investment to help restore and improve this historically important, and much-loved, park.”

HLF’s Chief Executive Ros Kerslake said, on behalf of HLF and Big Lottery Fund: “Public parks play a vital role in our health and well-being. With this investment from National Lottery players there’s real opportunity for a rejuvenated Sydney Gardens to deliver huge benefits to the whole community.”


For your information:

To date, more than £850million of money raised by National Lottery players has been invested in parks since 1996.

About the Big Lottery Fund

The Big Lottery Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. It puts people in the lead to improve their lives and communities, often through small, local projects.

It is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Every year it invests over £650 million and awards around 12,000 grants across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes.

Since June 2004 it has awarded over £8 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people.


About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.ukFollow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported. 

The Parks for People programme uses money raised by National Lottery players to support the regeneration, conservation and increased enjoyment of public parks and cemeteries. In England the two Lottery Funds have been working in partnership from 2006 to deliver a multi-million pound investment in public parks.  Find out more about how to apply at www.hlf.org.uk/parks 

*Parks for People 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.