Bringing the East Bath to life.

Bringing the East Bath to life.

The East Baths area of the Roman Baths, adjacent to the famous Great Bath, will be updated in early 2017, with new interactive displays immersing visitors in the sights and sounds of the Roman bath house.

roman baths

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

Projections, soundscapes and CGI reconstructions will show the Roman Baths at the height of their popularity as a working, living and leisure space. Roman characters of all social classes will interact with each other and visitors will be invited to watch, listen and step into the Roman Baths as they would have looked in the first to fourth centuries.

Considered by many to be the women’s quarters of the Roman Baths, the East Baths contained a large tepid bath fed by water that flowed through a pipe from the Great Bath. A series of heated rooms developed and grew until the site reached its maximum extent in the fourth century. There was a plunge pool (balneum), hot room (caldarium), warm room (tepidarium) and changing room (apodyterium).

Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “These imaginative new displays will transform the East Baths, bringing them to life for visitors of all ages. This is part of an ongoing programme of development designed to enhance the award-winning visitor experience at the Roman Baths.”

The project includes conservation and protection works to the Roman monument, which will be carried out this autumn. The new displays will then be revealed in March 2017.

Event Communications, a leading experience design company, has been appointed to create the new interpretation, while locally-based Sally Strachey Conservation will carry out the conservation works.

Public talk

Members of the public are invited to find out more about the East Baths development at a free talk on Wednesday 26 October 2016, 6.30pm-7.30pm at the Pump Room (entrance via main Abbey Church Yard entrance). There will be a chance to hear presentations and see plans. Just turn up, no need to book.                                                                                                                                      

‘Milestone’ charity grant for Roman Baths Archway Project

‘Milestone’ charity grant for Roman Baths Archway Project


The Archway Project at the Roman Baths has received a grant of £75,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation, a major milestone in funding for the building of a state-of-the-art Roman Baths Learning Centre.

Situated above the former spa laundry in Swallow Street, the new facilities will increase the space dedicated to education at the Roman Baths by 400%. Two new classrooms will enable the Roman Baths to develop formal and informal learning programmes, engaging a wide range of communities and audiences.


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

The new 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.

The Learning Centre will give more school children a higher standard of facilities and enable the Roman Baths to reach out to a wider variety of people locally and regionally with a range of new learning experiences.

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

David Beeton, Chairman of the Roman Baths Foundation, said: “The Foundation is delighted that its efforts to raise funding for a state-of-the-art Learning Centre for the Roman Baths have been supported so enthusiastically by the Garfield Weston Foundation.”


The Archway Project will open up areas of the Roman Baths not seen by the public before.

The Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation, Philippa Charles, said; “We are delighted to be supporting this project, which will improve the learning experience for those who visit the Baths, which are such an important part of the UK’s heritage.”

The Learning Centre is the largest element in a project that also includes a World Heritage Centre and new access to Roman remains beneath York Street that have never before been on public display.

The Roman Baths has submitted a second stage application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to secure a grant of nearly £3.5 million towards the £5 million project. The HLF is due to make a decision later this year.

If the fundraising target is achieved, building work will start in summer 2017 and the new Learning Centre and World Heritage Centre will open in early 2019.

For more information visit


For your information:

The Garfield Weston Foundation is a family-founded charitable grant-making foundation which supports a wide range of causes across the UK, donating over £58million in the most recent financial year.

It was established in 1958 by Willard Garfield Weston and since then has donated over £900million, becoming one of the largest and most respected charitable institutions in the UK.

The trustees are descendants of the founder and the Weston Family takes a highly active and hands-on approach.


Mayor of Bath’s Art Show

Mayor of Bath’s Art Show

The Mayor of Bath and The Rotary Club of Bath West are encouraging artists to get their applications in now for the 11th annual Art Show being held at the Guildhall on Friday and Saturday 28 & 29 October. 

Last year over 200 pictures were hung, with sales raising funds for the Mayor’s and Rotary President’s charities.  Profits from this year’s show will be shared between The Mayor of Bath’s Relief Fund, which helps local people facing hard times, and Bath Stroke Support Group, the Rotary President’s charity.


The Mayor (Cllr Paul Crossley) & President, Rotary Club of Bath West, Stella Tonks

The Mayor of Bath, Councillor Paul Crossley, said “Bath is blessed with a very large number of artists.  This enables local artists to display their work and also raise money for worthwhile local charities at the same time.”

Semi-professional artists, members of amateur art groups, college and university students can all submit their work and keep 80% of the sale price, which must be a minimum of £30.  The hanging fees will be £3.50 per painting, but this increases to £15 for paintings priced at £200 plus.

Visitors will be asked to select their favourite picture or sculpture and this year a Trophy will be presented to the winning artist.

The free exhibition is open to the public from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm on 28 & 29 October and a Preview by invitation on the Thursday evening.

Application forms are available on the Charter Trustees’ website or from the Mayor’s Office, Guildhall, Bath, Somerset, BA1 5AW

Majority back new West of England Mayor-led Authority

Majority back new West of England Mayor-led Authority

The people of B&NES seem to have given their support to the idea of a Mayor-led West of England Authority according to the majority of responses received by the council.

Residents have had the opportunity to have their say on the creation of a new combined authority (MCA) and a £1billion pound devolution deal put on the table by the Government.

Bath Guildhall

Bath Guildhall – headquarters of B&NES.

Responses were received from across public, business, education and voluntary sectors – with the majority of people expressing overall support for the deal.

Feedback was sought on four key areas of the proposed devolution deal: Decision making, Place (transport and housing), People (adult education and skills), and Business.

From the 2,011 responses received across the region; 1,109 (55%) said that, on balance, they believe that a West of England Mayoral Combined Authority would benefit the West of England region. 674 (34%) said that they did not agree, and 176 (9%) said that they did not know. 52 respondents (2%) did not answer. Details have been published on the West of England Devolution site

Together with Bristol and South Gloucestershire councils, Bath & North East Somerset Council will submit a joint consultation report to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. The Secretary of State will review the findings of this consultation alongside the Strategic Governance Review, the proposed Governance Scheme and any other representations that have been made directly.

The public responded both online, on paper and in some cases directly to government. Information and surveys were made available through local libraries, Citizen Service Points and One Stop Shops, as well as via parish councils and community facilities.

A series of public drop-in events were also held – publicised via local radio, newspapers, social media and council websites. In addition, the councils also received direct feedback from a variety of people – through face-to-face contact at the public events and via letters and emails.

Cllr Tim Warren (Conservative, Mendip), Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “We’re grateful to everyone who took part in the public consultation and attended the public events. I am pleased that overall the public supported the deal.

“The next step will be for the Secretary of State to consider the results and based on the comments received to determine if the deal goes ahead. Finally each Council will be asked to endorse his decision in October.  It is at that time all three authorities independently will come to a balanced view about what will be best for their areas.”

If it is agreed that the MCA should go ahead, it would be established in the first part of 2017, with elections for the position of West of England Mayor to take place across all three local government areas – Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire – in May 2017.

Maintaining council standards – Can you help?

Maintaining council standards – Can you help?

Bath & North East Somerset Council is looking to recruit two independent local volunteers to help promote and maintain high standards of conduct by councillors and co-opted members.


The statue of Justice on top Bath Guildhall.

This is an important role for volunteers who will work with the Council’s Monitoring Officers to consider any complaints the Council receives against elected and co-opted members.

Some knowledge of local government is desirable but not essential.  More important is that the Independent Person(s) are people the general public can trust to be completely impartial and have the utmost integrity.

You can be considered for this role if you:

Are a resident, work in or have close links with the Council

Have a proven track record of contributing to the community

Are able to analyse information, ask pertinent questions and maintain confidentiality

You must not be:

Politically active

A member, co-opted member or officer of Bath & North East Somerset Council for any Parish Council in B&NES

A past member, co-opted member or officer of the above in the last five years

Involved with the Council as a major supplier, partner or contractor.

Being an Independent Person is voluntary, but an allowance and expenses will be paid.

For an application form and further details visit:

The closing date is Thursday 31st August 2016. Interviews will be held the week beginning 12th September 2016.  Appointments will be made by the Council by the end of the month.


Roman Baths spread the word.

Roman Baths spread the word.


Following an increase in international visitors in the past few years, the Roman Baths and Fashion Museum have introduced audio guides in four new languages: Dutch, Korean, Polish and Portuguese.

This brings the total number of audioguide languages available at the two museums to 12, plus a British Sign Language guide for deaf people and enhanced audio description for visually impaired people.audio_guides_21 med

The choice of Dutch, Korean, Polish and Portuguese is based on visitor take-up and feedback. 

Run by Bath & North East Somerset Council, the Roman Baths attracts more than 1 million visitors a year, making it one of the most visited heritage attractions in the United Kingdom. Approximately 40% of these visitors come from overseas, and 30% of the total speak a language other than English. 

Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “It’s great news that even more visitors to the Roman Baths will now be able to hear information about the historic site in their own language. This is the latest move in our constant efforts to make the site fully accessible to as wide a range of people as possible.”

The biggest increase in recent years has been in the take-up of Mandarin audioguides at the Roman Baths, which has grown from 12,800 visitors in 2005, when they were first introduced, to 84,700 in 2015. 

Cllr Anketell-Jones added: “This represents more than 8% of total visitors, a remarkably high number for any museum, and more than most national museums in London. Our Mandarin-speaking visitors now outnumber French, which until seven years ago was the most widely spoken language.”

roman baths

The Roman Baths.

Dutch, Korean, Polish and Portuguese audioguides are being introduced at the Fashion Museum at the same time in order to give visitors to both sites a consistently high experience. More than 20% of Fashion Museum visitors ask for audioguides in languages other than English – Mandarin and French also being the most popular languages there.

Audio guides are included in the Roman Baths and Fashion Museum admission price. They are currently available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian and British Sign Language. Visually impaired people can make use of enhanced audio description in English. There’s also a special children’s audioguide, and a light-hearted, conversational guide to the Roman Baths by author Bill Bryson.

The Roman Baths also offers information leaflets in more than 30 different languages, which helps to identify emerging overseas visitor trends. Russian was introduced in 2010 and Russian visitation peaked at 15,800 in 2013. 

London Road trees destroyed in hit and run.

London Road trees destroyed in hit and run.

Three young trees lining the central reservation of London Road – and planted as part of last year’s improvement scheme – were destroyed over the Spring bank holiday weekend in a hit and run collision which has been labelled “heart-breaking” and “senseless, reckless driving” by local residents and campaigners.


Two stumps are all that’s left of these trees.

Lib Dem Councillor Lisa Brett (Walcot) commented:

“These trees were planted in early 2015 as part of the London Road regeneration project. It is heart-breaking to see them destroyed by dangerous driving after all the years of hard work undertaken by local residents and Councillors to develop the plans to improve the environment.”

“The Lib Dem administration was proud of its investment in the London Road as one of the main gateways to our city. The regeneration project helped transform a previously badly neglected area. The current administration must now step up and ensure that these trees are replaced and that the remaining trees and replacements are protected from further attacks.”


Another splintered tree.

Local resident Ann Dunlop said:

“I’m disgusted by the consequences of senseless and irresponsible driving, something we see far too much off on the London Road at night, thankfully no body has been killed. These trees were planted for the benefit of the local community and to help improve the environment of London Road for all Bath residents and visitors. The criminal knocked them down should be ashamed of themselves.”

Chair of the London Road Regeneration Community Steering Group, Francesca Thompson, added:

“The London Road regeneration project marked a turning point in the fortunes of London Road. This scheme was all about changing perceptions of London Road and attracting new businesses and investment to the area. Local residents led the way in deciding what improvements would make the most difference, and making the area greener with trees and planters was top of the list. It is so disappointing that the trees have been knocked down, but this does not take away from the overall achievement.”

For information:  The London Road project was one of the flagship regeneration projects of the Liberal Democrat Council administration of 2011-2015. The project included improvements to the street scene, better pedestrian and cycle facilities and environmental projects. 


One of the felled trees.