Allchurches goes behind the scenes at Bath Abbey for the Footprint Project
07 SEP 2018
Staff from Allchurches Trust were lucky enough to go behind the scenes at Bath Abbey recently to see first-hand how a myriad of secret spaces and archaeological treasures are being unearthed as the Footprint project gets underway.
Bath Abbey has been the centre of Christian faith in the city for more than 1,200 years and the project will see it restored to the community use for which it was first designed. Footprint is not only crucial to preserving one of the UK’s heritage gems; it will ensure it meets the current future needs of people of all ages in Bath and visitors from all over the UK and beyond.
As well as repairing and stabilising the Abbey’s collapsing floor, the project will create 200 square metres of new facilities for worshippers and visitors, including a new song school and a discovery centre that will tell the story of the Abbey. It will also reduce its carbon footprint by installing an eco-friendly heating system using energy from Bath’s natural hot springs and energy-efficient lighting.
Allchurches Trust has given a £50,000 grant towards Footprint and recently had the chance to tour the works with Project Director, Charles Curnock and experts from Wessex Archaeology and local contractor, Emery.
Representatives from the Trust watched as sections of the floor are carefully lifted stone by stone and documented ready for repair before being re-laid on a new sub-floor. A range of specialist conservation techniques are being used on the stones depending on their condition.
Archaeological excavations of the sub floor are also revealing hidden voids that have unveiled a wealth of archaeological finds, including masonry, pottery and even Roman coins, which are all being recorded and monitored.
Charles Curnock, Footprint Project Director, said: “We are very grateful to Allchurches Trust for their generous grant. Work is progressing well on our Footprint project and we have had immense support from the Abbey’s own congregation, visitors, private individuals, other trusts and organisations including a major £10.7 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Thanks to everyone’s generosity and support, the Abbey now has just over £1 million left to raise. The £50,000 grant from Allchurches Trust will help us get closer to towards completing Footprint, a ground-breaking project that will enable the Abbey to continue to serve the city and our many visitors, and bring lasting benefits to future generations.”
Director of Grants and Relationships at Allchurches Trust, James Laing, said: “Bath Abbey is one of the UK’s most iconic and important historic buildings, attracting more than 400,000 visitors a year, but it is also hugely important to local people, serving a city of 85,000 people.
“We’re delighted to have been able to give a grant towards the Footprint project, which will enable the Abbey to reach out and support its community even more effectively, including providing enhanced learning and worship opportunities and being more accessible to all.”