It’s our heritage

Good to see B&NES publicity has caught up with something Bath Newseum covered last week.

The visit by the new council leader, Cllr Kevin Guy to the city’s new World Heritage Centre and Roman Baths Clore Learning Centre (together the Archway Project) which have now come a step closer to opening, as construction work has finished.

The buildings have been handed over to the Council by Beard Construction.

L to R Tony Crouch, World Heritage Manager; Stephen Bird, Head of Heritage Services; and Cllr Kevin Guy, Leader of B&NES Council.

The Council’s project team, working with architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, will now focus on the fit-out of the buildings ready for opening later this year.

Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project will provide:

  • A World Heritage Centre in York Street with free admission, where people can find out why Bath is so special, and pick up trails and guides to help them explore the World Heritage Site
  • A Roman Baths Clore Learning Centre for pre-booked school and community groups, with three state-of-the-art learning rooms, and a hands-on Investigation Zone set among real Roman remains
  • New areas of the Roman Baths including a Roman gym and laconicum (a type of sauna) which will be brought to life for Roman Baths visitors by projections and sounds depicting the Roman spa experience

Council Leader Kevin Guy, who toured the Archway Project last week, said: “After a huge amount of hard work by the project team, architects and construction company, it’s wonderful to see the buildings looking so spectacular. There is still more work to be done, but we look forward to opening these three areas to the public later this year.”

Richard Samuel, Deputy Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Resources, said: “It’s great news that construction work has been successfully completed and the buildings handed over to the Council. We are now counting down to the opening, when residents, visitors and school children will be able to enjoy these fantastic new facilities and all of the exciting activities that will happen in them.”

Councillor Dine Romero, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Communities and Culture, added: “About 15,000 school children and community groups are expected to use the Roman Baths Clore Learning Centre every year. The new, purpose-built facilities will improve the quality of their visit to the Roman Baths dramatically, with specially designed learning rooms and a hands-on Investigation Zone which will offer a memorable experience for primary school children.”

The interior of the World Heritage Centre awaiting fitting out. It’s my understanding there is still one contract to be awarded for technical gear.

Mike Hedges, director at Bristol-based Beard, said: “It is extremely rare that anybody gets to go to work every day among 2,000-year-old remains, which are literally part of the fabric of our nation’s history.

Of course, the Romans were renowned for their innovative building and engineering skills. So as a construction firm with a specialism in the heritage sector, it was a truly unique experience to work among the remains of their construction work. It is a project that will bring this fascinating part of our history to life for future generations and we’re proud to have played our part in making that happen.”