Have your say on heritage.

Have your say on heritage.

Members of the public are being asked to comment on plans to enhance Bath’s World Heritage status.

The City of Bath World Heritage Site Management Plan  – devised by B&NES – has been renewed with a draft published for public consultation. Bath is an exceptional site in that the entire urban area is inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Venice is the only other city within Europe which holds this honour.

roman baths

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

Bath and the surrounding area benefits from World Heritage Site status as it attracts millions of visitors each year.

The unique merits of this prestigious city help to support many businesses to thrive, and makes Bath and North East Somerset even more attractive to companies looking to invest in the area. People living in and around the city can also benefit from the better quality of life that can be gained from a well-maintained conservation area.

Cities are dynamic places of change where people live and work, so the key challenge is to balance this thriving atmosphere alongside conservation of the globally important heritage.

The World Heritage Site Management Plan will cover the next six years and is produced and overseen by a well-established Steering Group with Bath & North East Somerset Council taking lead responsibility for the site. 

Cllr Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “The state of conservation in Bath is currently exceptionally good, with considerable new investment being made to protect and preserve many of Bath’s landmark structures. Collectively we need to maintain this whilst carefully delivering growth to ensure the vitality of our world renowned city.” 

The purpose of the Plan is to set out how this management takes place, what the main issues affecting the site and its landscape setting are likely to be, and how they will be addressed. Bath

Looking to the future, World Heritage Steering Group Chairman Peter Metcalfe said:  “Bath is a living city and the quality of our environment is a product of our exceptional people, both past and present.  This is an ambitious new plan which positively seeks to enhance Bath’s position as a centre of heritage excellence and an outstanding place to live, work and visit”.

The draft plan can be viewed and commented upon at http://www.bathworldheritage.org.uk/management-plan or at Council One-Stop-Shops and libraries. The public consultation runs until Friday 15th July. 

Key Facts about Bath World Heritage Site

What is World Heritage?

World Heritage Sites are ‘places of Outstanding Universal Value to the whole of humanity’.  ‘Outstanding Universal Value’ means cultural and/or natural significance which is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries. There are currently (Jan 2016) 1031 WHS world-wide, and UNESCO adds a few new sites each year. Famous sites include the Taj Mahal, Pyramids of Giza, Great Wall of China and the Grand Canyon. The UK signed the 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention in 1984 and in doing so committed to identify, protect, conserve and interpret its sites and pass them on to future generations.

There are 29 (2016) WHS in the UK (and its overseas territories).

The City of Bath World Heritage Site

The site was inscribed on 12 December 1987.

The site is exceptional in that the entire urban area (approximately 29 square km) is inscribed.  Only Venice provides a comparable example throughout Europe.

The 3 springs at the heart of the site are the only ones classified as ‘hot’ in the UK.

The hottest spring is the Hetling at 48oC and there are 43 minerals in the water.

The most voluminous is the King’s Spring, with a continuous flow of 13 litres per second or 1,106,400 litres per day.  This flow will fill a domestic bath tub every 8 seconds.

88, 859 people live within the site.

There are approximately 5,000 listed buildings in the site, with the highest concentration of grade l and ll* listings outside of central London.

The site generates approx. 1,500 applications for Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent per year – undoubtedly the highest of any UK World Heritage Site.

A single conservation area of 1,486ha covers two-thirds of the site.

There are 5 scheduled monuments covering 1.4ha (approx. 13% of the central area).

The surrounding landscape is covered by the Bath & Bristol Green Belt, plus the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), surrounding the city on its north, east and south sides.

There are 9 registered historic parks and gardens within the site, with 23 Parks and Gardens of local Historic Interest and 2 Sites of Special Scientific Interest

Approximately 4.5m people visit Bath each year, adding an estimated £380m to the local economy and accounting for an estimated 10,000 jobs.

There are 21 primary schools in or adjacent to the WHS, plus two universities with over 20,000 students.

 

 

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. 

Torchlit Summer Evenings at the Roman Baths in Bath

Torchlit Summer Evenings at the Roman Baths in Bath

 

Locals and visitors will be able to enjoy the magical experience of seeing the Roman Baths by torchlight every evening this summer.

The Roman Baths will be opening until 10pm every evening during July and August for a special season of Torchlit Summer Evenings, with last entry at 9pm. 

Set in the heart of the World Heritage City of Bath, the Roman Baths is an ancient temple and bathing complex on the site of Britain’s only hot spring, which still flows with naturally hot water.

roman baths

The Roman Baths at night.

Visitors can walk around the Great Bath where people bathed nearly 2,000 years ago, see the ruins of the temple of Minerva where Roman worshippers gathered, and explore the Roman Baths museum.

Run by Bath & North East Somerset Council, the Roman Baths attracts more than 1 million visitors every year, making it one of the most visited heritage attractions in the UK.

Cllr Patrick Anketell-Jones, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “The Roman Baths is one of the jewels in the UK’s cultural crown and the Torchlit Summer Evenings are a magical experience for visitors. And with free entry for Discovery Card holders, the late evening opening is a great opportunity for local residents to rediscover one of Bath’s most famous attractions after the daytime crowds have disappeared.” 

The Roman Baths will be open every day in July and August from 9am to 10pm, with last entry at 9pm. Adult tickets for the Roman Baths will cost £15.50 in July and August. Entry is free for local Discovery Card holders.

Any Bath and North East Somerset residents who do not have a Discovery Card can apply for one by visiting http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/tourism-and-heritage/discovery-card and downloading a form.

Pump Room

Pump Room interior

The Pump Room restaurant will be open late for dinner and drinks, with live music every evening. Last orders 9.00pm. Please call 01225 444477 or email events.bath@searcys.co.uk to book. The Roman Baths Kitchen offers a more informal setting with alfresco dining. Reservations can be made on 01225 477877 or email rbk@searcys.co.uk. The Roman Baths shop will stay open every day until 10pm.

You can combine a tour of the Roman Baths with a dinner package or a trip to nearby Thermae Bath Spa, where you can bathe overlooking the twinkling lights of the city as the sun goes down.P1110197

The following packages are available:

Torchlit Tour and Dinner at the Roman Baths Kitchen

A special twilight ticket including a three-course dinner at the Roman Baths Kitchen, located just opposite the Roman Baths in the shadow of Bath Abbey, and a visit to the Roman Baths by torchlight. £39.50 (excluding wine). Reservations can be made on 0844 8475 256 or email tourism@bathtourism.co.uk.

 

Spas Ancient and Modern Package

Combine a visit to the Roman Baths, including a Champagne Tea or three-course lunch at the Pump Room, with an evening at Thermae Bath Spa where you can bathe in the naturally warm, mineral-rich waters of the Minerva Bath and relax in the open-air rooftop pool with its magnificent views over the twinkling lights of the city at sunset. Spa treatments can be booked as an optional extra. £79.00 mid-week, £82.00 weekends.

 

Painting – at least part of Roman Bath – red!

Painting – at least part of Roman Bath – red!

An archaeological dig at the Roman Baths has uncovered new details about the history of the baths – including the remains of red paint on the outside Roman wall of the Great Bath, which implies that the building was red.

Roman_Dig3

At least part of Roman Bath was painted red!

 

The dig took place underneath York Street and Swallow Street, in an area of the Roman Baths not currently open to the public. This area will form part of the new Access and Investigation Zones in the Roman Baths Learning Centre, and the work was carried out to find out more about the archaeology of the site.

Roman dig

The archaeological investigation underway.

Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “It’s fascinating to see new finds being unearthed at the Roman Baths, giving us further information about the history of the site. When the Roman Baths Learning Centre opens in 2019, these spaces will form part of a state-of-the-art education centre, which will include a digging pit where school groups can uncover replica Roman objects in an authentic setting.”

Highlights of the dig included:

Discovering wall plaster with a red painted finish still adhering to the outside of a Roman wall of the Great Bath, which implies that this part of the building was painted red.

Investigating a Roman bath from the earliest phase of the Roman Baths

Investigating a second Roman Bath beneath York Street

Finding the footings of the Roman walls of the Great Bath

Establishing the Roman floor levels to the south of the Great Bath

Identifying a pre-Roman land surface beneath York Street

Gaining a better understanding of the extent of Georgian and Victorian disturbance of the area

Samples have been taken for analysis by scientists at Bournemouth University, who will try to work out where building materials used in the different phases of construction of the Roman Baths came from. 

The work is all part of the Archway Centre project, which will create a Roman Baths Learning Centre above the former city laundry in Swallow Street and a World Heritage Centre at 10 York Street.

Visitors will be able to walk through spaces beneath York Street excavated by City Architect Major Davis in the 1880s, and see parts of the Roman Baths that have never before been open for regular public access.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has earmarked £3.37million towards the project. The Roman Society has also just donated £1,000 towards the development of the Archway Centre, helping to fund this work.

For more information about the Archway Project visit www.romanbaths.co.uk/archway-centre.

 

New ‘dig’ at Roman Baths.

New ‘dig’ at Roman Baths.

Archaeologists have begun digging up two hidden Roman baths which have never been fully excavated and recorded underneath York Street and Swallow Street this week.

The archaeological dig will take place in an area of the Roman Baths not currently open to the public, which will form part of the Access and Investigation Zones in the upcoming Archway Centre.

roman baths

The Laconicum – which could be on permanent display.

Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “This is an exciting milestone in the development of the new Archway Centre, which will provide a cutting-edge education centre for the Roman Baths and new access to Roman remains that have never before been on display. I look forward to seeing what the archaeologists discover!”

roman baths

Areas within the Roman Baths complex you don’t normally get to see.

This will be the first time the two Roman baths have been seen since the 1960s, when they were partially excavated by archaeologist Barry Cunliffe, now Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at the University of Oxford. The archaeologists will investigate the condition of the Roman masonry, examine the materials used to backfill the baths, and record those elements that were less well-recorded in the past 

When the new Archway Centre opens in 2019, one of the baths will be given a protective lining and filled with earth so it can be used as a digging pit for school groups, where children can uncover a variety of replica Roman objects. This part of the project will be funded by Stone King Solicitors.

archway centre

The illustration shows the proposed Archway Centre.

The Archway Centre project will create a state-of-the-art Roman Baths Learning Centre above the former city laundry in Swallow Street and a World Heritage Centre in 10 York Street. Visitors will also be able to walk through spaces beneath York Street excavated by City Architect Major Davis in the 1880s, and see parts of the Roman Baths that have never before been open for regular public access.roman baths

 

For more information about the Archway Centre visit www.romanbaths.co.uk/archway-centre.

Baths get a silver.

Baths get a silver.

The Roman Baths has won a top national award after scooping a Silver award in a ceremony for Visit England’s Awards for Excellence 2016 last night (Tuesday 8 March).

roman baths

The Great Roman Bath

The attraction, which is run by Bath & North East Somerset Council, won the award jointly with the Calvert Trust Exmoor Barnstaple, Devon in the Access for All category at the ceremony at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, as part of English Tourism Week.

The success is its second accessibility award this year and follows a Gold Award for Access and Inclusivity, which the Roman Baths won last month in the South West Tourism Awards.

Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “We are delighted that the Roman Baths has been recognised as one of the most accessible attractions in the country in Visit England’s prestigious Awards for Excellence.

“This award reflects the ongoing efforts of staff at the Roman Baths to provide a world-class welcome for all visitors, through excellent staff training, information provision and updates to the building, such as the recent addition of new lifts.

“It is a great challenge to make a 2,000-year-old

roman baths

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

site accessible for everyone so this is an exceptional achievement.”

Despite the challenges of the attraction being a Grade One listed building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument, staff at the Roman Baths have worked hard to make the site accessible to everyone with recent improvements including four new lifts, handrails, ramps and more places to rest.

The provision for wheelchair users has been improved with the availability of wheelchairs for visitors to borrow, lowered ticket office counters and accessible toilets.

Visually impaired people now have access to tactile signage, braille and audio-description of key objects. For deaf and hard-of-hearing people there are British Sign Language (BSL) audio tours, induction loops for hearing aid users and BSL trained staff.

As the Roman Baths has no space for push-chairs, rucksack-style child carriers are provided at the entrance to enable young children to stay safe and enjoy the attraction. Child-friendly audio guide commentary is also available for children aged between five and 11.

The site has also been made more accessible to people on the autism spectrum with detailed guidance on what to expect provided on the website.

For more information on the Roman Baths, visit www.romanbaths.co.uk.

Of interest:
The Gold Award for Access and Inclusivity that the Roman Baths won last month in the South West Tourism Awards was shared with the Calvert Trust in Exmoor.
The Roman Baths attracts a million visitors each year, making it one of the most visited heritage attractions in the United Kingdom, and the museum collection has been awarded Designated status by the Government as a non-national museum that holds a nationally important collection.
With a history stretching back more than 25 years, the Visit England Awards for Excellence represent the highest accolade in English tourism. The awards recognise businesses that incorporate best practice and demonstrate excellence in customer service throughout their operation, and celebrate the very best in quality and innovation.

Gold award for Roman Baths

Gold award for Roman Baths

The Roman Baths has been celebrated for its accessibility and named Winner of Winners in the South West Tourism Awards this week.

SW tourism awards

L to R. Tom Byrne: Security and Operations Manager Lindsey Braidley: Learning and Programmes Coordinator Helen Jones: From Purple Cloud Consultancy, who train staff Katie Smith: Visitor Services Manager Stephen Clews: Manager of the Roman Baths

The attraction won the Gold Award for Access and Inclusivity as well as the prestigious Winner of Winners award at a ceremony at Exeter Cathedral last night (Thursday, 4 February).

It was recognised for its efforts to welcome all types of visitors and particular praise was given to the British Sign Language (BSL) trained staff, BSL audio tours, large print leaflets, use of braille on exhibits and online information for people with claustrophobia.

The provision for wheelchair users was also praised, including the availability of wheelchairs for visitors to borrow, lowered ticket office counters and accessible toilets. The assessors also noted the high level of training for all staff.

Judges then selected the Roman Baths as the overall winner from all the winners of the 16 award categories, in recognition of the attraction’s extensive consultation and services to local people through free admission with the Council’s Residents’ Discovery Card.

Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “The Roman Baths constantly strives to improve accessibility for all visitors and local people.

“There have been many efforts made to ensure the historic site can be enjoyed by everyone, including staff training, information provision, and improvements to the building, such as the recent addition of new lifts.

“We are delighted that these efforts have been recognised with both of these South West Tourism Awards. They are a testament to the fantastic customer service that the staff provides.”

The Roman Baths shared the Gold Award for Access and Inclusivity with the Calvert Trust in Exmoor.

The attraction has also been shortlisted for the Access for All Tourism Award in Visit England’s Awards for Excellence, winners for which will be announced on Tuesday, 8 March.