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FAQS

1) What areas of the Abbey are being developed?

Outside the Abbey:

The majority of the work will be taking place underground, at vaults level directly below Kingston Parade (the area between the South side of the Abbey and Kingston Buildings which house the Abbey offices). This will create 200 sq meters of additional space and link up the various spaces in and outside the Abbey to create a more cohesive way of working.

The work will provide:

  • A new song school
  • Collections and interpretation spaces
  • An administrative hub and a large meeting room
  • Modern kitchens and catering facilities
  • Toilets, cloakrooms and baby changing facilities
  • Workshop and storage facilities

Inside the Abbey

  • New cloister style entrance and retail space opening onto Kingston Parade
  • Improved lighting within the Abbey
  • A new and stable floor
  • An efficient underfloor heating system
  • A new vestry

The changes proposed will have little effect on the external appearance of the Abbey – with one exception, the South side: a minor extension to the clergy vestry, and changing some windows to doors in the Jackson extension to create a new and welcoming entrance.

2) How much will this cost?

The overall cost will be in the region of £19.3 million.  This will result in considerable additional space at vault-level and in Kingston Buildings, and will resolve our current flooring, spatial and energy problems both within the Abbey and in the adjacent buildings.  Other aspects of the project which will be funded from this sum include extraction of energy from the Roman Great Drain and the provision of comprehensive interpretation of the whole building and its site for the many visitors to the Abbey.

3) Where is the project at in terms of funding?

We have already seen £2 million of investment so far and this has come from a variety of sources. The preparatory work dating back to 2009 has come from the Abbey’s own funds; supplemented by the generosity of The Friends of Bath Abbey. Work which took place last year was funded separately. The North aisle trial including repairs to the floor and a new underfloor heating system was made possible by the generosity of the Coles-Medlock Foundation and Brian and Margaret Roper while our newly modified, eco-friendly chandeliers were funded from The Friends of Bath Abbey and Business West’s Improving Your Resource Efficiency (IYRE) programme. Footprint will be financed through a combination of church funds, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF),other trusts and foundations, legacies and donations.

4) When will the work start?

It has already started! Bath Abbey and our architects, FCBS, have been working in consultation with stakeholders and organisations including English Heritage, Bath Preservation Trust, B&NES Council and various church authorities since 2009. Planning permission and listed building consent for work outside the Abbey was granted by B&NES Council in March 2013. A separate application is being made to the church authorities for the work on the Abbey. Subject to funding and planning approvals, the building work on the project is expected to start in 2017.

5) When will it be completed?

The earliest the project could be complete is 2019. All the work is subject to funding and planning approvals, and therefore this date is subject to change.

6) Who is designing the scheme?

The architects and lead consultants are Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS), an award-winning international firm based in Bath with a reputation for sustainable design and a strong track record in working with historically important and listed buildings. FCBS are supported in this work by a number of other largely local high quality consultants including Buro Happold, Mann Williams and Bare, Leaning & Bare who were each selected based on their considerable experience.

7) What is happening with the pews in the Abbey?

All fixed furniture, including the pews, in the Abbey will need to be removed in order to repair and renew the collapsing floor. We will be reinstating some of the pews, in particular the hand-carved Corporation Stalls, while considering replacement seating in other areas of the church. One of the options is to have chairs in the nave which will provide flexibility for worship and the opportunity to host many more and different events. This will also mean that the historic ledgerstones which are hidden beneath the pews will be revealed for the first time in over 150 years. These ancient ledgerstones, dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, are an important part of the Abbey’s heritage and hold the key to many fascinating stories about the people who worked and lived in the parish, as well as those who visited Bath for the healing waters in the 18th and 19th centuries.

8) What will happen to worship, music, choirs etc while the development is taking place?

The work undertaken outside the Abbey will cause relatively little disruption to the day-to-day operation of the Abbey; other nearby buildings will be used to support the work of the Abbey where needed. The building work within the Abbey will be phased and parts of the building will be screened off as required to enable the work to be undertaken whilst the church continues to being used for worship.