He’s got responsibility for influencing the way the modern city of Bath connects with and safeguards its history and heritage, but when l met Professor Barry Gilbertson – newly appointed as Chairman of the City of Bath World Heritage Steering Group – he wanted to talk doughnuts.
Well, he also wanted to talk about what World Heritage status means to Bath and how – as a place where people live and work – the city couldn’t be frozen in time – but it was the comparison between the heart of this ancient place to a ring doughnut that stuck in my mind.
It’s all to do with the threat of creating a hole in the middle because residents don’t want to live in the heart of Bath because tourism is too high.
I went to Barry’s city centre home to do a substantial interview with him. He is – of course – only at the start of his tenure-ship and has a lot of meetings and research to undertake.
His chat ranges over how to manage the impact of the city’s development with its World Heritage Status, the issue of transport and the impact of some four and a half million visitors each year on the fabric of Bath.
He wants to talk to groups and organisations everywhere to spread the World Heritage news and give his body a much higher profile.
You’ll find a story about his appointment – which lists his credentials – elsewhere in Bath Newseum, but before you click on the interview l will leave you with a quote from Barry.
“We are not our past, but our Heritage must play its part in the future of this wonderful city, whether it is to live, to work or to play.
Importantly, the WHS should not be a constraint or obstacle to growth, but an invitation to excel.’