12 days of Archway

12 days of Archway

The Roman Bath’s Archway Project is offering people the opportunity of giving a Christmas present with a difference this year.

From 1 December to 12 December 2017, the Roman Baths Foundation will run a Christmas appeal called ‘12 days of Archway’ to support the Project.

Archway Project Long Section

A long section through the Archway Project scheme.

Instead of sending a Christmas card, people can sponsor a virtual tile from £5 and leave their mark on the Archway Project. Tiles can be customised with a personal Christmas greeting. Sponsoring a tile will help to open up an area of the Roman Baths not seen by the wider public before.

Alternatively, adopting a Roman Stone could be a unique gift for a friend or relative. There are three adoption levels, ranging from £100 to £1,000. Stone adopters may receive regular updates about the stones, invitations to exclusive events and acknowledgement on a donor wall, depending on the level chosen. Adopting a stone will help the National Lottery supported Archway Project to create a fascinating digital learning resource for children and young people to use in the new Learning Centre.

There will be special prizes for people signing up to our newsletter during the appeal period. Prizes will include an afternoon tea for two in The Pump Room; an ‘Above and Below’ tour for two people; and a pair of saver tickets to visit the Roman Baths, Fashion Museum and Victoria Art Gallery.

On Friday 8 December, the Archway Project will have a stall at Bath Christmas Market for one day. This will be a chance for people to find out more about the project, to donate or enter the prize draw. There will be festive chocolate coins available to buy, with all proceeds going towards the Archway Project.

The Roman Baths Foundation is a charity set up to raise funds for conservation and education work at the Roman Baths. Raising funds for the Archway Project is its first flagship project.

David Beeton, Chairman of the Roman Baths Foundation, said: “12 days of Archway offers people some exciting gift ideas, and the money raised will help inspire the next generation of archaeologists for years to come.”

roman baths

Roman monumental stones ‘scattered’ on the floor. An area the public would get to see.

About the Archway Project

The Archway Project will increase the space dedicated to education at the Roman Baths by 400%. Situated above the former Spa laundry in Swallow Street, two new learning spaces will enable the Roman Baths to develop formal and informal learning programmes, engaging a wide range of communities and audiences.

The Learning Centre will be connected to the Roman Baths by an undercroft that passes through Roman remains beneath York Street. An underground Investigation Zone will provide hands-on access to Roman remains through facilitated learning sessions.

On the ground floor of the Swallow Street building, a World Heritage Centre will contain imaginative displays that explain why the World Heritage Site of Bath is so special. Admission will be free for everyone.


An artists impression of how the new Archway Project might look.

The Archway Project will also open up new areas of the Roman Baths to visitors, including a laconicum (sauna) and exercise courtyard.

Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the project has been awarded £3.4m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

To find out more please visit www.romanbaths.co.uk/archway or come and speak to the Archway Project team at Bath Christmas Market on Friday 8 December.

About the Roman Baths Foundation

The Roman Baths Foundation is an independent charity (No. 1163044) set up to raise funds for conservation and education work at the Roman Baths. The Roman Baths Foundation aims to:

  • promote, preserve, develop and maintain the Roman Baths and Pump Room complex, including all buildings, monuments, collections, structures and archaeological remains and artefacts.
  • advance the education, interest and appreciation of the general public with respect to the Roman Baths.


About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk.  Follow us on Twitter, Facebookand Instagram and use #HLFsupported.

Above and Below tour

The Above and Below tour takes visitors to some of the tunnels under the Roman Baths and adjacent streets and also gives them an insight into the work being done above ground to transform nearby buildings into a Learning Centre for the Roman Baths and a World Heritage Centre for the city, as part of the Archway Project.


The Pump Room restaurant

Regarded as the social heart of Bath for more than two centuries, The Pump Room is a striking neo-classical salon with a fountain for drinking the hot spa water. The Pump Room restaurant is open daily for morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea, with live music by the Pump Room Trio or resident pianist.



Here’s looking at you.

Here’s looking at you.

The African colours of the Tanzanian market place are flooding the walls of the Walcot Chapel Gallery at the moment.P1160986

The work of a young artist called Natasha Sweeting who was born to a Tanzanian mother and a British father in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania back in 1981.

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Artist, Natasha Sweeting.

While in school she developed an interest in portrait painting and was especially drawn to the untold stories behind people’s expressions and also the power of the gaze.


Natasha continued her artistic education here in the UK – studying at Loughborough and Goldsmiths  Universities and the Kent Institute of Art and Design.


Returning to her homeland she continued to develop her skills and gained recognition for her work through various exhibitions – all covering the theme of the African identity through portraiture.

It’s this she brings to the Walcot Street exhibition now that she has moved to Bath with her Yorkshire born husband and young child.

The exhibition continues tomorrow – Saturday, October 21st.



It’s all in the eye of the beholder.

It’s all in the eye of the beholder.

I suppose –  be it a traditional portrait or landscape painting framed on the gallery wall – all realistic visual art is an illusion. Be it faces or places, it’s our brains who merge paint daubs and strokes into order as a recognisable image.

Perception is all about how we see things – how we make sense of it all.

Bath’s Holburne Museum heads towards the darker months of late autumn and winter with a striking and – in part – vibrantly colourful exhibition which is all about the tricks an artist can play on the viewer.


The new exhibition at the Holburne Museum

Seurat to Riley: The Art of Perception comes to us from Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park. It’s sharp, vibrant, informative and playful. Forget the gloom outside and  immerse yourself  in  galleries where the eyes play tricks.

To quote from the Holburne’s on-line webpage:

“This exhibition will explore one of the most exciting threads of art history of the past 150 years. Many artists from the Impressionists onwards were inspired by scientific colour theories, such as the pointillist work of Georges Seurat, where colours other than those actually painted on the canvas are generated in the eye of the viewer.


During the 20th century this interest in perception extended to creating a sense of movement and a variety of artists from the Vorticists to Josef Albers looked at using form, and often colour, to convey the sensation of movement.

This interest intensified in the 1950s and 1960s in what came to be known as ‘Op Art’ and ‘Kinetic Art’, exemplified by the work of artists such as Victor Vasarely, Bridget Riley, Jeffrey Steele and Peter Sedgley.

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Tom Boggis – Curator of Seurat to Riley: The Art of Perception.

This art has had a bold legacy right up to the present, not only in the further development of some of these artists but also in the work of others including Carlos Cruz-Diez, Jim Lambie and Sara Moorhouse.”


No photography allowed in here!

It’s all there to view – and interact with – in an exhibition curated by Tom Boggis.

Bath Newseum went down for a chat with him but, because of copyright issues, that had to take place outside the exhibition’s closed doors.

The Holburne Museum’s website can be found at www.holburne.org 

The exhibition runs from Friday, October 20th through to Sunday, January 21st next year.

Admission is £10/£9 concs/ Free to all Museum Members. Under 16s go FREE (Under 12s must be accompanied by an adult).

Free lunchtime World Heritage talks at the Guildhall

Free lunchtime World Heritage talks at the Guildhall


A series of free lunchtime talks will take place at the Guildhall, Bath, this November to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Bath becoming a World Heritage Site.

Management professionals from Hadrian’s Wall, Stonehenge, the Tower of London, and Bath & North East Somerset Council will give 30-minute talks on how they are undertaking the conservation and promotion of their respective sites.

Councillor Paul Myers (Conservative Midsomer Norton Redfield), Cabinet Member for Economic and Community Regeneration, said: “Bath and North East Somerset has a well-deserved reputation as a centre of excellence for heritage management.

“We constantly monitor best practice elsewhere to maintain this and it is a pleasure to welcome these national experts to share their knowledge and experience with us.” Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 14.32.01

30 Years of World Heritage in Bath
Wednesday, November 1
Tony Crouch, City of Bath World Heritage Site Manager

World Heritage at Hadrian’s Wall

Wednesday, November 8
Humphrey Welfare, Chairman, Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site Partnership Board

World Heritage at Stonehenge
Wednesday, November 15
Sarah Simmonds, Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site Partnership Manager

World Heritage at the Tower of London

Wednesday, November 22
Natasha Downie, World Heritage Site Co-ordinator, Tower of London

All talks run from 1.10pm until 1.45pm. Booking is not required, just turn up on the day.



Lights up at Bath’s new hotel.

Lights up at Bath’s new hotel.

Always nice to feel at one with the ‘in crowd’ isn’t it.

Such an occasion- attracting the bright ‘young’ things –  was the official launch of Bath’s new ‘kid’ on the commercially-accommodating block – The Apex City of Bath Hotel.


Guests gathering in the new conference suite for the start of the evening’s events.

A £50 million pound investment – on the corner of James Street West and Charles Street – and one that now boasts not only 177 bedrooms but the largest conference facilities so far offered in a city yet to fully tap this additional and lucrative market.


One of the table settings set up to show what the hotel can do.

We started the evening – with wine and canapes in hand – in the Lansdown Suite. It’s a conference room that can hold up to four hundred delegates – and an events space flexible enough to also host exhibitions, dinner-dances, receptions and weddings.


Don’t need to tell you who this is!

Whilst admiring our hi-tech surroundings we listened to David James – CEO of Bath Tourism Plus – remind us that Bath attracted more visitors each year than Bristol and Manchester combined.


Another personality l don’t have to ‘caption.’


Cllr Tim Warren, Leader of B&NES.

Both the hotel’s General Manager, Tim O’Sullivan and B&NES Leader Tim Warren reflected on the fact that this new business was providing much-needed employment and one that was ‘buying in’ local produce.


Holy cow! It’s undercover boules in Bath!

Apex is a family run firm with ten hotels in Scotland and England. We couldn’t fault the welcome – nor the fun the staff had laid on. Everything for guests to enjoy from boules on the ‘green’ to a help-yourself sweetshop!


The hotel’s temporary help-yourself sweetshop.

The tour of the hotel’s facilities included the gym and pool area and the gift of an Apex duck – there were plenty floating on the water!


Grabbing a duck to take home!

Check out the facilities for yourselves on https://www.apexhotels.co.uk/apex-city-of-bath-hotel


Bath’s gulls have feathered competition!





A temple of convenience.

A temple of convenience.

Bath’s Sydney Gardens has a long and illustrious history.

Laid out as commercially-run 18th century pleasure grounds –  in which even Jane Austen herself would have strolled – the site was taken over by the old Bath City Council in 1908 and opened to the public.

sydney gardens

The main driveway through Sydney Gardens. 

These days – as we live in an age of austerity – the park has an air of faded glory.

It certainly needs some ‘TLC’ – which hopefully will come as a result of Heritage Lottery funding. An application for nearly four million pounds will be going in next year.

If successful – according to the B&NES website – ‘The funding will be used to restore historic buildings, invest in landscape and garden restoration works, and create new play areas for all ages, over a three year programme (2019 – 21).

sydney gardens

Winter sunshine in Sydney Gardens

Alongside the works, a programme of events and activities around art, nature, horticulture, wildlife, play, sport, archaeology and history will be put on.

The project will celebrate the fascinating history of the gardens, with its Cosmorama, Labyrinth, Merlins Swing, Concerts, Public Breakfasts, Galas and Illuminations.’

Someone who takes a keen interest in all this is Kirsten Elliott – a  local author and historian – who also gives guided walks around the city’s parks.


Kirsten Elliott – author and local historian.

She’s excited about one particular original feature – added when the Council bought the old Georgian ‘Vauxhall’ – but until now hidden and forgotten in the overgrown bushes.

It’s what celebrity author (Lady) Lucinda Lambton – who writes about architecture – would describe as a ‘temple of convenience.’ A cast-iron Edwardian ladies loo.

Kirsten took Bath Newseum along to have a look.

These days Bath’s public loos have been taken over by a private company who provide ‘well-maintained’ facilities that are accessed via a 20 pence piece.

sydney gardens

The existing facilities in Sydney Gardens

We have come a long way since the days of ‘spending a penny’ haven’t we. Out of interest, l can explain where that description of the ‘call of nature’ came from.

It’s all to do with the Great Exhibition – the world’s first trade fair – which opened in Joseph Paxton’s amazing Crystal Palace in 1851.


The Great Exhibition © Wikipedia


Over six million people visited so it was, with some relief l am sure, that the exhibition also featured the UK’s first paid-for flushing toilet when visitors spent one penny to experience a clean toilet seat, a towel, a comb and a shoe shine.

Records show that 675,000 pennies were spent!

Bath Abbey’s walls to tell all.

Bath Abbey’s walls to tell all.


Did you know Bath Abbey’s historic floor and walls are covered with over 1,500 memorial stones each with a different story to tell? Families will be able to discover the fascinating tales behind these ancient stones in the Abbey this October half-term.

As part of Bath Museums Week, members of the public can take part in family-friendly tours of the Abbey’s memorial stones on Monday 23 October; Tuesday 24 October; Wednesday 25 October and Friday 27 October at 10.15am, 11.15am, 12.15pm, 2.15pm and 3.15pm each day. The tours are 45-minutes long and have been especially tailored for families and children from the age of 7 upwards.


The Abbey floor is covered with memorial – or ledger – stones

Ollie Taylor, the Abbey’s Interpretation Officer, said: “There’s the familiar saying: “If only walls could talk.” In a way, ours can! The Abbey’s walls and floors are lined with over 1,500 historic memorials, each with a different story to tell. These ancient stones commemorate individuals from all walks of life; some grand, some ordinary, some happy, some sad, but all equally fascinating.


“Our Family Friendly Tours is a great way for parents and children alike to find out more about some of the wonderful characters who lived in or visited Bath hundreds of years ago. Through a combination of storytelling, dressing-up and hands-on history, we’re hoping to share these tales in a way that makes history more fun and more alive. We’d love for families going away from these tours to be able to say they’ve enjoyed themselves, and also to have learnt a little about the Abbey’s history, and to share their stories with others.”

bath abbey

Looking across from Bishop Montague’s tomb.

Bath Abbey’s ‘Family Friendly Tours of the Memorial Stones’ are being held on Monday 23 October; Tuesday 24 October; Wednesday 25 October and Friday 27 October. Tours are free, no booking required, last approx. 40 minutes and begin quarter-past the hour each day at 10.15am, 11.15am, 12.15pm, 2.15pm and 3.15pm. The tours are free but all visitors are invited to give a donation at the entrance.  The activities are suitable for children over 7 and there is no need to book. However, please note there are limited places and it is on a first come first serve basis.