Time to wish the Bath World Heritage Centre in York Street a happy first birthday and good to see that staff and volunteers were able to come together to celebrate its first anniversary.
Supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the centre is a springboard for people to engage with the city’s culture, history and heritage and explore popular Bath landmarks as well as lesser-known places around the city.
Since opening on 9 May 2022, the centre has welcomed more than 72,000 people through its doors, from local people wanting to find out about the heritage on their doorstep, to visitors from as far afield as India, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
Councillor Kevin Guy, Leader, Bath & North East Somerset Liberal Democrat Group, said: “It has been wonderful to welcome so many people to the World Heritage Centre during its first year. Our staff and volunteers have enjoyed sharing their knowledge of Bath and helping people discover the city’s unique heritage, from spotting hidden details in the Circus and Royal Crescent, to learning about the extravagant funfairs that took place in Sydney Gardens.”
Professor Barry Gilbertson, Chair of the City of Bath UNESCO World Heritage Site Advisory Board, said: “We have been determined to increase awareness of our two World Heritage Inscriptions, the reasons for the Inscriptions in 1987 and 2021, and the importance of World Heritage to Bath’s economy. 72,000 visitors in our first year of opening is an amazing achievement. By comparison, that number is very close to the capacity of Old Trafford stadium in Manchester!”
Stuart McLeod, Director of England – London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “It’s fantastic to hear that the first year of the Bath World Heritage Centre has been so successful. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, we were able to support creating an engaging learning experience that shares the fascinating history of Bath to locals and tourists alike. Its success is a testament to the team.”
The centre features a host of interactive exhibits and displays designed to inspire, excite and inform. Friendly and knowledgeable staff and volunteers are on hand to answer questions and help people make the most of their visit. There are free walking trails and guides to help visitors to the city explore all it has to offer, as well as a specially designed mobile app with lots of fun features.
The centre’s 52 volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds, and have so far contributed a total of 2,237 hours to the World Heritage Centre. Many also volunteer in other capacities around the city, including as Mayor’s Honorary Guides and Bath Welcome Ambassadors, and at Bath Abbey and the Victoria Art Gallery. What they all bring is a shared enthusiasm for sharing the rich history of Bath with visitors – whether local or from further afield.
As a World Heritage Site, Bath sits alongside places like the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China as one of the greatest cultural sites in the world. The city recently gained a second listing as one of the ‘Great Spa Towns of Europe’ and is the only UK city to appear twice on the World Heritage List.
Find out more about the Bath World Heritage Centre here: www.bathworldheritage.org.uk/worldheritagecentre