Waters and Wonder at City of Bath World Heritage Day!

30th Anniversary, Arts, Bath 2017, Celebration, Events, News, Performance, Uncategorized, UNESCO, world heritage day, World Heritage Sites

Drawing the windows on Pulteney BridgeBath’s annual celebration of International World Heritage Day took place on Sunday 23 April in the sunshine at a beautifully blooming Parade Gardens.

The ‘Waters of Bath’ was the theme for the day and free activities exploring the history and use of Bath’s hot springs, canal network and River Avon were enjoyed by over 1400 visitors of all ages.

View of standsThe gardens came alive with the sound of music courtesy of Bath Spa Band and Bath City Jubilee Waits, who also accompanied the Widcombe Mummers in their colourful ‘St George and the Dragon’ play to mark St George’s Day.

Special guided walks are an ever popular feature of the annual event.  Various routes and subjects were covered, from the history and features of Parade Gardens to waterside tours.  These were led by the Mayor’s Honorary Guides, Cleveland Pools Trust and the National Trust.

This year, for the first time, World Heritage Day featured a programme of mini talks.  These focused on the history of Bath’s waters as well as updates from projects and initiatives across the World Heritage City including Bath Abbey Footprint, the Bathscape landscape partnership, Bath Medical Museum and the restoration of Cleveland Pools.

A record-breaking number of heritage displays and activity stands were present on the day offering opportunities to find out more about local canals, river safety, Bath’s best green views, Lottery-funded projects and heritage initiatives.  Location knowledge was tested with the ‘Great Spas of Europe’ picture quiz and flags were added to a giant world map to show the far-flung World Heritage Sites people had visited.  Visitors were treated to the Bath Record Office Roadshow and the chance to see real objects associated with the spa from the Roman Baths collection.  They even got to meet Paralympic champion swimmer Stephanie Millward and try on her medals at the Cleveland Pools stall!  It was wonderful to bring together so many (27!) of the City’s key heritage organisations, who enjoyed catching up with each other as well as enthusing visitors.

World Heritage Sites world mapsThere were lots of family-friendly activities to keep younger visitors entertained including craft activities, World Heritage dominoes, historic maps, colouring competitions and a bookmark stamp trail.  Special mention must be made of the amazing Pulteney Bridge model-building activities offered by Bath Preservation Trust. Robert Adam, the original Georgian architect, was wandering round the site all day and was most impressed with the efforts of budding designers and engineers.  He also posed for many selfies with his physician in tow in front of his world-famous bridge.

Robert Adam and his PhysicianAll in all the day was a great way to kick off the 30th anniversary celebrations of Bath becoming a World Heritage Site.  Watch this space for a series of special talks in the Autumn as we continue to celebrate this milestone.

Planning Inspector supports WHS setting

Bath 2017, Conservation, Management Plan, News, Planning, Uncategorized, UNESCO, Workshop, World Heritage Sites

BATH SKYLINE FROM ZION HILLThe green setting of Bath is a key attribute of Outstanding Universal Value

Following the World Heritage UK Technical Seminar on planning and World Heritage on 8th March, you may be interested in this recent (18 April 2017) appeal decision from Bath. In dismissing the appeal for 20 dwellings within the WHS, the inspector was convinced by the Council’s policy documents including the WHS Management Plan and the need to protect open hillsides as part of the OUV. We know from discussion in the technical seminar that comparable examples from different sites are considered useful and this example also provides some validation of Bath’s ‘Setting Study’ approach, another hot topic!  The decision can be found here. Please feel free to contact tony_crouch@bathnes.gov.uk for any further detail. 

Save-the-date: Planning Technical Workshop 8th March 2017

Education, Events, Network meetings, News, Opportunities, training, Uncategorized, UNESCO

Save-the-date  Planning Technical Workshop

We are pleased to announce the date and location of the next World Heritage UK Technical Workshop, which as a result of Member feedback, will explore further issues around Planning and World Heritage Sites.

Save the date:

Date: Wednesday 8th March 2017 (evening networking social event on the 7th likely)

Venue: Bath Cricket Club (website here)

Bath Cricket Club is located at the recreational heart of the City of Bath World Heritage Site, with spectacular views across the ground taking in the spires of Bath Abbey and St Johns Church to the city and beyond. The club is 5 minutes from both Bath Spa railway station and the newly re-refurbished bus stations with car parking alongside the clubhouse.

Further details on the programme, tickets, accommodation etc. to follow.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Tony Crouch, Don Gobbett and Chris Mahon

World Heritage UK Technical Workshop Team

The splendour of Georgian society is celebrated at World Heritage Day in Bath

Celebration, News, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites

On Sunday 17 April the Assembly Rooms came alive with echoes from Georgian Bath for World Heritage Day.

This annual free event, which celebrates and promotes the city’s World Heritage Site status, is now in its eighth year.  World Heritage Day is held at a different venue in Bath each year.  This was the first time the event had taken place indoors.  The theme chosen for the day was Bath’s Georgian social legacy – one of the key attributes for which the city was designated a ‘World Heritage Site’ by UNESCO in 1987.  The Assembly Rooms, which opened in 1771, provided the perfect setting for a range of themed activities and entertainments.

Over 650 visitors of all ages took the opportunity to learn Georgian dances with the Jane Austen Dancers, listen to 18th century music, gamble at the card tables, try on fancy costumes and make-up, explore displays of Georgian objects and find out more about the art and architecture of the Assembly Rooms.  Craft activities were enjoyed by the younger visitors – many a tricorn hat was spotted around town that day!

A highlight was the chance to meet Captain William Wade (Bath’s Master of Ceremonies from the 1770s) and his friends – the artist Thomas Gainsborough and Mr and Mrs James Hook Campbell.  However, proper standards of behaviour were not always observed as it emerged Captain Wade and Mr Campbell were rivals for the affections of Mrs Hook!  At times the tension spilled over from the card tables to a formal duel with swords and pistol – the skilful stage-fighting actors of the Natural Theatre Company put on an entertaining show for the crowds!

Guided tours are a popular feature of Bath’s World Heritage Day.  This year there were three to choose from.  The Mayor of Bath’s Honorary Guides led walks around the ‘Upper Town’, to explain how the ‘Company of Bath’ shifted their focus to developments in this fashionable area in the 18th century.  Within the Assembly Rooms visitors were given wonderful views of the elegant interiors of the public rooms on a Balcony Tour.  ‘Georgian Highlights Tours’ of the Fashion Museum’s brand new ‘Fashion in 100 Objects’ exhibition were also on offer.

A showcase was provided for Bath’s many and varied heritage organisations.  The National Trust with their technology partners from the University of Bath invited visitors on a virtual reality walk through Ralph Allen’s landscape garden at Prior Park.  The Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution brought along the fascinating 18th century diaries of ‘Enlightened’ Bath resident, Edmund Rack.  The city’s major Heritage Lottery Fund projects were all represented, with informative displays and staff on hand from Bath Abbey Footprint, the Cleveland Pools Trust, the ‘Bathscape’ landscape partnership and the Archway Centre Project.  The exciting Archway Centre development will extend learning facilities at the Roman Baths and deliver a World Heritage Interpretation Centre in the heart of the city.