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.

archway-project-swallow-street-elevation

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.”

archway-project-artists-impression

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 www.romanbaths.co.uk/archway

 

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.

www.garfieldweston.org

 

It’s a green light for Archway Project.

It’s a green light for Archway Project.

Not surprisingly perhaps, B&NES has given its  Archway Project – which includes the creation of a new Learning Centre for the Roman Baths in Swallow Street and a World Heritage Centre at 10 York Street –  full planning permission and listed building consent.

The Roman Baths Learning Centre will be a fully accessible state-of-the-art centre where school children will participate in exciting hands-on sessions with Roman artefacts and where projects and activities will be run for members of the local community. It will be linked to the Roman Baths via an underground tunnel.

Now they’ve just got to hope the Heritage Lottery Fund comes up with the bulk of the money.

archway-project-swallow-street-elevation

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

The Learning Centre will also feature an investigation zone set amongst Roman remains, where school children will be able to explore and record archaeological materials, with an excavation area where they will be able to unearth replica Roman objects. This space will be used for family events at weekends and during the school holidays.

The World Heritage Centre will contain imaginative displays that explain why the World Heritage Site of Bath is so special and will encourage people to explore the heritage around the city. Admission will be free for everyone.

The project will also open up areas of Roman remains that have never before been open for regular public access, including a laconicum (sauna) and exercise courtyard.

Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), the Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “We are delighted that planning permission and listed building consent have been granted for the Archway Project. The project will transform learning at the Roman Baths and create a world-class visitor centre where people can find out more about our World Heritage City, as well as opening up new parts of the Roman Baths for public access.”  

archway-project-artists-impression

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

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. This will be followed by a programme of activities and events for local communities, school children and visitors.

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

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Heritage Grants applications are assessed in two rounds. A first-round pass is given when HLF has endorsed outline proposals and earmarked funding. A first-round pass may also include an immediate award to fund the development of the project. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second-round and as long as plans have progressed satisfactorily and according to the original proposal, an award for the project is confirmed.

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 @heritagelottery

Torch-lit Baths attract record crowds

Torch-lit Baths attract record crowds

Torchlit Summer Evenings at the Roman Baths attracted record visitor numbers this year. There were more than 40,000 evening visitors during July and August, up from just under 33,000 in 2015 and 29,000 in 2014.

twilight_2-med

Each summer, the Roman Baths stays open until 10pm every evening in July and August, offering visitors the chance to beat the crowds and soak up the special atmosphere around the torchlit Great Bath. Due to its popularity, evening opening will be extended in summer 2017, starting from Saturday 17 June and running until the end of August.

Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “We are delighted with the success of Torchlit Summer Evenings. Late opening at the Roman Baths contributes to Bath’s evening economy, as well as encouraging overnight stays in the city, and reducing crowding during the daytime. This year, more than 3,000 local residents used their Discovery Cards to visit the Roman Baths for free in July and August.”

Visitor comments on Tripadvisor included:

“Beautiful, atmospheric and memorable.”

“…absolutely stunning as the baths is torch-lit in the evening. This was such an interesting place, an absolute must if you’re visiting Bath!”

“The baths look even more fantastic when illuminated by torchlight.”

“Visiting at around 7pm on an August evening was a refreshingly wonderful experience. No queue, few crowds outside and this firm favourite has kept its place in our regular ‘tourist’ visit list.”

“It was one of the best places that I have ever visited. Everything is perfect and you will have an unforgettable experience being there. The best moment was the torch-lit time – absolutely amazing.”

The Roman Baths is now accessible to a wider range of visitors than ever before. New lifts and changes to the building have resulted in better access for disabled visitors, and staff are trained and experienced in helping those with special needs such as autistic visitors. There are special audioguides for visually impaired visitors and British Sign Language users,  and four new audioguide languages have been introduced – Dutch, Korean, Polish and Portuguese – bringing the total number of audioguide languages to 12.

www.romanbaths.co.uk

Take a look at what’s beneath your feet.

Take a look at what’s beneath your feet.

Visitors to the Roman Baths can now explore locations around the perimeter of the historic site where ancient remains and precious artefacts were unearthed, thanks to a new ‘Beneath My Feet’ app.

The free app reveals where objects such as the gilt bronze head of the goddess Minerva, now on show in the Roman Baths museum, were found.

roman baths

The re-displayed head of Minerva

It also helps to orientate visitors, telling them when they are standing above key areas of the Roman baths and temple complex, such as the original main Roman drain, which is still in use after 2,000 years to channel the natural hot water into the River Avon, 500 metres away. 

The app features a map of the area around the Roman Baths, which includes Abbey Church Yard, Kingston Parade, Stall Street and York Street. There is a wealth of history beneath these streets, from Roman city-centre buildings to a whole Saxon burial ground.

roman baths

The Roman Baths.

When users click on points on the map, information pops up about each location, along with images relating to the artefacts, buildings or even human remains that have been unearthed there.

Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “This new app, leading the way in Visitor Information, will enhance people’s visit to the Roman Baths, as they explore the streets nearby, and find out more about the rich variety of historic buildings and artefacts that lie beneath them.”

The app was developed by Acoustiguide Limited, providers of audioguides to the Roman Baths. It is available for both Android and Apple devices, via Google Play or the Apple App Store.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.acoustiguidemobile.am_romanbaths&hl=en_GB

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/roman-baths-beneath-my-feet/id1093112136

B&NES hosts Museums Week this October half-term

B&NES hosts Museums Week this October half-term

This October half-term, visitors to museums in Bath and North East Somerset can enjoy a host of special events and activities as part of Museums Week (22-30 October 2016).

Organised by Bath & North East Somerset Council, Museums Week is the new name for Heritage Open Week, which has been running for more than 30 years. There are 22 different venues taking part this year, with events for all ages and interests.

Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Bath & North East Somerset Council, said:  “Museums Week will celebrate the unique collections and activities in our local museums. There are more than 100 special events and activities to choose from over October half-term, and admission is free for local residents with a Discovery Card.”   

From children’s activities to filmmaking and food tasting, there’s something for everyone during the nine-day celebration, for example:

Take part in The Big Draw at Victoria Art Gallery and make a life-size drawing of yourself

Learn a bit of Latin and make a Roman bookmark at the Roman Baths

roman baths

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

See the fantastic leggings and trousers at the Fashion Museum and create life-size legging designs with amazing patterns

Make a moving carousel toy inspired by the Silver: Light and Shade exhibition at the Holburne Museum

Create mosaic pictures and patterns using card and special papers at Keynsham Civic Centre

keynsham civic centre

Keynsham’s One Stop Shop

Use technology from the 1960s to make a short film at Museum of Bath at Work

See Bath’s royal charters, gold, silver and sword in the Mayor’s Parlour

Go on an outdoor fossil hunt at Radstock Museum

radstock museum

Radstock Museum

Enjoy free tastings at Sally Lunn’s Buns, where there will be a different Bath bun topping on offer every morning

Follow the clues on the Children’s Trail and collect stickers at each museum

For more details visit www.bathmuseumsweek.co.uk.

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.