City of Bath Celebrates 25 Years of World Heritage Status
16th April 2012
City of Bath Celebrates 25 Years of World Heritage Status
The stunning city of Bath is celebrating 25 of being recognised by UNESCO as a World heritage Site with a host of offers, events and celebrations to showcase why it is so special.
UNESCO identifies very special places that need to be preserved for future generations to enjoy. There are currently some 936 World Heritage Sites worldwide of which 28 are in the UK – and Bath is the only entire city on the UK to be attributed with the accolade.
Other sites on UNESCO’s list are as diverse as the Pyramids of Egypt to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. These places are “considered to be of outstanding value to humanity” according to UNESCO, and Bath is very rightly included alongside them.
The city has been recognised for the past 25 years for its Roman Archaeology (most notably the intriguing Roman Baths), the hot springs (the only of their kind in Britain, the basis for Bath’s spa culture and now the source for a modern Spa complex), the wealth of Georgian Architecture including sweeping terraces and crescents (such as the iconic Royal Crescent), picturesque squares and Palladian style architecture such as the stunning Pulteney Bridge.
With so much to celebrate, Bath is planning a host of events, starting off with family festivities on World Heritage Day on 22nd April, and continuing with special events throughout 2012 including Museums at Night Weekend, Monuments by Moonlight and a host of events for Heritage Week in October. The city will also offer a very special welcome to anyone celebrating their 25th Wedding Anniversary in Bath this year.
Nick Brooks-Sykes, Chief Executive of Bath Tourism Plus says “having World Heritage Status is a tremendous accolade for Bath. Belonging to this very exclusive global club is shorthand for saying that Bath is a “must see” for any visitor to the UK. We will be telling the world of our pride in Bath’s World Heritage status during 2012”.
The city is proud of its World Heritage status and this is shown in the many fascinating museums that explore the city’s beginnings and development. The Bath Preservation Trust operates The Building of Bath Collection with its fascinating displays about the construction of the Georgian city, The Herschel Museum of Astronomy and Beckford’s Tower and Museum as well as No 1 Royal Crescent where visitors can see how the interior of a Georgian house would look. In fact, Bath has more museums than most other UK cities with 17 within a square mile, celebrating everything from art, fashion, history to the more unusual, including East Asian art or American history.
Bath is keen to protect its prestigious World Heritage status, and the city works hard to protect its legacy for future generations, maintaining the delicate balance between being a thriving and living city and preserving the past. Councillor Cherry Beath, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “we hope people of all ages will enjoy the variety of activities on offer, which rejoice in Bath’s multiple layers of cultural genius. This ranges from Roman foresight and technology in harnessing the only hot springs in the country to how, in the same fantastic landscape setting, the elegant Georgian new town influenced the architectural and social traditions of a nation.”
Dr SimonThurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage recently listed Bath in the Financial Times as one of the ten most alluring World Heritage Cities in which to live with “elegance, sophistication and shopping”.
For information about what’s on and where to stay in Bath: visitbath.co.uk.
Nicky Hancock, Hancock Communications 012255 332299 email@example.com
Audra McSherry, Bath Tourism Plus 01225 322434 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editors:
WORLD HERITAGE DAY PROGRAMME OF EVENTS IN BATH - 22ND APRIL
People can enjoy Roman military re-enactments with The Ermine Street Guard and explore their Roman camp; with demonstrations of weaponry and manoeuvres between 11am and 4pm. There will also be two special demonstrations at 12 noon and 2.30pm.
Carving Stone at The Circus, from 11am to 3pm, presents an opportunity to join local sculptor Laurence Tindall and letter carver Iain Cotton for a chance to have a go at stone carving inspired by floral designs. This event has been organised by the Bath Preservation Trust with the stone provided by the Bath Stone Group.
No. 1 Royal Crescent will be open from 10.30am to 5pm (last admission 4.30pm) on World Heritage Day offering visitors the chance to meet Georgian servants. The much-loved costumed actors will bring to life the day-to-day challenges of running a household in the 18th century. Costumed performances will take place throughout the day between 11am and 4pm. Admission to No.1 Royal Crescent is free on World Heritage Day for Bath & North East Somerset Council residents with a Discovery Card.
The Mayor’s Honorary Guides will conduct guided circular walks every hour at 11.50am, 12.50pm, 1.50pm and 2.50pm around the architecture of upper Bath starting at the Roman Camp in Royal Victoria Park. The Roman events and the guided walks are free to all.
The Assembly Rooms, Bennett Street will be open 10.30am to 5pm for visitors to explore the historical rooms that were at the heart of fashionable Georgian society, the perfect venue for entertainment. When completed in 1771, they were described as ‘the most noble and elegant of any in the kingdom’. National Trust staff will be on hand to talk about the work that they do in Bath and the South Cotswolds and how you can get involved. There is free entry for Discovery Card holders and National Trust members.
For more information on the World Heritage Day events visit www.bathnes.gov.uk/heritageevents.
BATH TOURISM PLUS
Working with the public and private sectors, Bath’s destination marketing organisation, Bath Tourism Plus, takes full responsibility for co-ordinating the work of a busy tourist information centre, the marketing of Bath and the surrounding area to leisure and business travellers, PR activity to attract the nation’s top travel writers, a conference office, and development of Bath’s official destination website www.visitbath.co.uk
For a city of its size, Bath has more museums than most, 17 within a square mile. Many tell the story of this fascinating city like the Roman Baths or the Museum of Bath at Work while others delve into a variety of interesting topics like the Fashion Museum and the Museum of East Asian Art. Each museum will be running a full programme of events and exhibitions both for local residents and for the four million visitors from around the world who come to Bath each year. Bath is like a virtual museum with a piece of history around every corner told through the World Heritage Audio Trail which can be downloaded from visitbath.co.uk free of charge.
Over the past five years more than £20 million has been invested in restoring and redeveloping three major museums; the Holburne Museum, the Roman Baths and the American Museum in Britain, creating new facilities and adding excitement to the displays.
Events throughout this special year will be Museums at Night in May and special events for Heritage Open Week in October.
ROMAN BATHS – TRAVEL BACK IN TIME
The Roman Baths is the best preserved Roman religious spa from the ancient world. Around Britain’s only hot spring, the Romans built a temple and bathing complex that still flows with natural hot water.
Have you ever tried to imagine how the Romans lived? The Roman Baths museum has been transformed into a walking, talking, historical time-machine. With costumed interpreters of Roman characters bringing the experience to life, you can walk along Roman pavements in their footsteps (along with the 900,000 visitors the Baths attract every year). The sacred spring, the only thermally heated spring in the UK was at the centre of an important complex of baths. People came from the whole of the Roman Empire for the healing powers of the spring and to worship the Goddess Minerva in the Temple of Aqua Sulis. Today, the Roman Baths is one of the best preserved ancient sites in Europe and after £5.5 million investment it is well worth another visit.
UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES
Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa’s Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world’s heritage.
WORLD HERITAGE IN THE UK
There are currently 28 World Heritage Sites (WHS) in the UK. They vary greatly and include archaeological sites, historic buildings, natural formations, urban centres and industrial landscapes. This diverse range of sites demonstrates the wealth of natural, historical and cultural property contained and preserved within the UK today. The UK National Commission for UNESCO (UKNC), the UK Government and UNESCO are committed to working together towards identifying, protecting, conserving, presenting and transmitting these places for the benefit of future generations. The World Heritage status is a prestigious designation and can help create a sense of national and local pride. Inscription can promote tourism, and increased focus on the conservation of a site. Becoming part of the World Heritage List, give sites new opportunities to reach out to and engage with the local community, particularly young people.
In Bath, World Heritage is principally co-ordinated by Bath & North East Somerset Council. A dedicated manager, employed by the Council, has responsibilities for producing and implementing a management plan for the site. This officer also liaises with other World Heritage Sites to exchange information, learn from the practice of others, and represent the city at World Heritage meetings.
Tony Crouch, World Heritage Manager on 01225 477584 World_Heritage@BATHNES.GOV.UK