It wasn’t only Pentecost being celebrated by the congregation at Bath Abbey at the weekend but the fact that they were back in the east end of the church for the first time since the multi-million pound repair-and-regeneration ‘Footprint Project’ got underway.
Today – Monday, June 10th – Abbey staff and volunteers have been busy setting out chairs so services can once more be held at the east end of the church.
The contractors – Emery Brothers Ltd – started the undertaking in May 2018.
It involved closing off the east end so that the collapsing floor could be stabilised, eco-friendly underfloor heating installed and ledger stones on the Abbey floor restored.
There has been a wealth of discoveries during archaeological digs that have taken place, including a medieval tiled floor that was in the Norman cathedral that once stood on the site of the current Abbey.
No one quite knows what discoveries will be made in the next phase – but at least the east end was now back in use.
Richard Wyatt of Bath Newseum spoke to Project Director Alix Gilmer who seemed pleased to be announcing some good news at last.
Building work is also taking place to create new space and improved facilities in the underground vaults between Bath Abbey and Abbey Chambers, as well as in the adjacent terrace row of houses in Kingston Buildings which will house the new Song School.
The Abbey’s Footprint project is a £19.3 million programme of work, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, that will provide new spaces for learning, music and interpretation, better visitor facilities, undertake essential conservation work, as well as opportunities for volunteer and community involvement.
It will secure the Abbey’s physical future and improve its hospitality, worship and service to the city.
More information can be found on www.bathabbey.org.