How heritage makes money.

Another record year for the city’s world-famous Roman Baths with 1,202,491 visitors generating £23.3 million income and a surplus profit – after costs – to B&NES of £8.5 million pounds.

roman baths
The Great Bath – part of the Roman bathing complex built around the thermal waters.

That’s according to the annual Heritage Services review which also recorded a record number of visitors to the Victoria Art Gallery and a rise in numbers at the district’s Fashion Museum – now looking for a new home. (see story elsewhere)

Head of Heritage Services, Stephen Bird MBE

In a foreword to the report, the Head of Heritage Services, Stephen Bird MBE says: 

‘The content of this report gives only the briefest insight into the extent, quality and diversity of the services we delivered to our 1.5 million customers in 2018/19.’

He said his department ‘set ourselves a challenging profit target for the year to support the Council’s financial position. Thanks to another record year at the Roman Baths returned a surplus of £8.5m to the council after all costs.’

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A page from the report.

The Victoria Art Gallery, he continued,  ‘also welcomed a record number of visitors to be inspired by its enriching programme of exhibitions and buy the unique products on offer in the Gallery shop.

The Fashion Museum saw a rise in visitor numbers thanks to the Royal Women exhibition, while its world-class collection continued to be in demand with important items loaned to exhibitions in London, Dresden, Copenhagen, New York and Victoria, Australia.’

Other notable events during the year, said Mr Bird : ‘Included the submission to UNESCO of the Great Spas of Europe consortium bid for a second World Heritage Site nomination, the securing by the Film Office of a major BBC courtroom drama filmed at the Guildhall, and the start of the Wellcome Trust-funded project at Bath Record Office to catalogue and conserve records relating to public health in Bath over time.

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More information from the annual report.

Finally, I would like to thank our front-line staff for the excellent service they give day after day, as well as those who work behind the scenes setting up for functions, hanging exhibitions, booking visits, counting cash, curating collections, cleaning buildings and leading educational activities.

And I cannot finish without paying tribute to the dedicated teams of volunteers working across the Service, stewarding at the Victoria Art Gallery, working on collections at the Record Office and Fashion Museum and supporting the Learning & Participation programme activities throughout the year.’