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News Archive 2013

Chief Executive of Bath Tourism Plus, Nick Brooks-Sykes (right) and Bath Bid Manager, Andrew Cooper (left) will be presenting the cheque to the Reverend of Bath Abbey (centre) 

 

THE GREAT BATH FEAST BANQUET IN BATH ABBEY RAISES £5,000 FOR FOOD CHARITIES

Two food charities are set to benefit from £5,000 raised from the Great Bath Feast’s Michelin starred banquet held in Bath Abbey at the start of October.

Thanks to the generosity of those involved, money raised from ticket sales is going to support Bath Abbey’s nominated charities; FareShare, a UK charity that has centres in Bath and Bristol which offers support in relieving food poverty in the community and the TEAR Fund, a charity that provides food for the country’s poorest in Zambia.

Accepting the cheque on behalf of the charities, The Reverend Prebendary Edward Mason, Rector of Bath Abbey, said: “We were delighted to host the first ever Great Bath Feast Banquet at the Abbey. It was a very special evening with everyone gathered around tables in celebration of good locally sourced food, and it was wonderful to see the teamwork and community spirit of those involved. It was important to us that taking part in this event meant celebrating good food for everyone, not just for an elite few. Thanks to everyone’s generosity, thousands of pounds will go to FareShare and TEAR Fund, both charities which feed the hungry.”

To read the full story click here.

 

BATH ABBEY FLOOR HOTS UP 

After 22 weeks of restoration work, a section of the floor in Bath Abbey’s North aisle has been successfully repaired saving it from eventual collapse. This section of the floor has also been fitted with underfloor heating pipes that, as part of the Abbey’s long-term Footprint project, will be fuelled using Bath’s famous thermal water.

The new heating will be carefully monitored for the next 12 months in order to measure its effectiveness with different floor surfaces. Two-thirds of the floor in the trial area will be recovered with the original ledger stones while the final third will be covered in new stone.

To read the full story click here.

 

GET HANDS-ON WITH HISTORY AT BATH ABBEY

A Stonework and Sculpture Activity Day for families will be held in Bath Abbey on Wednesday 30 October, from 10am to 4.30pm, as part of Bath & North East Somerset’s Heritage Open Week.

It promises to be a fun-filled day for all ages with hands-on activities including stone-carving, clay modelling and learning to draw like a stonemason. All activities are free so there is no need to book.

To read the full story, click here.

Former stonemason, Bryan Dring, is one of the 20 craftsmen and women who have come forward to share their stories

 

BATH ABBEY PROJECT TO CAPTURE CRAFTSMEN’S STORIES BEFORE THEY ARE LOST

Over 20 people from Bath to Brighton have already come forward to share their memories of helping care for and restore Bath Abbey since the launch of the ‘Creating Voices: Oral History Project’ in January this year.

However, the Abbey still needs your help in finding more people who may remember working on the Abbey’s restoration between 1942 and 2000. The aim is to build up a collection of craftspeople’s stories and to bring to life two crucial periods in the Abbey’s history: the post war period and the turn of the millennium. 

One particular local craftsman whose interview has already been successfully recorded is former stonemason, Bryan Dring, now in his 80s, whose granddaughter contacted Bath Abbey through Facebook after seeing his photo on the local news. Bryan worked for Bath-based builders, Haywood and Wooster, who were responsible for restoring Abbey's stonework in the 1950s. The stone would arrive in large blocks (sometimes weighing half a ton) and then be sawed, chiselled, and shaped to requirements.

One particular memory which stands out was working on the Abbey’s stone altar on Christmas Eve 1954 and being alerted to a fire. Thanks to his quick thinking, the then newly-restored tower was saved from being burned down! 

To read the full story click here.

 

 

NEW CHAIRMAN FOR FRIENDS OF BATH ABBEY

Retired engineer Professor Jeffrey Jupp has been appointed as chairman of The Friends of Bath Abbey.

Professor Jupp recently took over the role from former chairman Dr John Wroughton following an official handover during the Abbeys’ Patronal Festival. Dr John Wroughton retired as chairman after four successful years. During his tenure the Friends helped fund key projects such as the Creating Voices: oral history project, the refurbishment of the chandeliers, and a new Glockenspiel for the organ.

To read the full story, click here.

 

BATH ABBEY CONGREGATION  RAISES £30,000 FOR FIVE CHARITIES AROUND THE WORLD INCLUDING HOMELESS IN BATH

Bath Abbey’s congregation has raised £30,000 in just over a month for five charitable projects around the world from Zambia to Sri Lanka, including over £5,000 for supporting the homeless and vulnerably housed in Bath. This was £3,000 more than the total donated at a similar appeal last year after the Rector challenged the congregation to match or increase their giving.

Each year the Abbey congregation raises money as part of Pentecost celebrations to support their ‘Big Five’ mission links. Each of the ‘Big Five’ projects is based in a different part of the world, but all support those in financial or emotional need or  help those who have suffered hardship rebuild their lives. These comprise the Wycliffe Bible Translators’ Tunen project in Cameroon, development work with women-headed families in Sri Lanka, a women’s shelter and vocational training centre in Northern Zambia and support of Church Mission Society (CMS) partners in Egypt. 

CASE STUDY - BATH COUPLE HELP CHANGE LIVES IN SRI LANKA

A couple from Bath recently visited Sri Lanka to continue their work helping women-headed families, who have been devastated by tsunami, to set up their own businesses.

Tim and Liz Westbrook carried out a project with Voluntary Service Overseas living in the south of Sri Lanka for two years from 2008 to 2010, and were so moved by the lasting legacy of the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami and its devastating effects on the local people, that they became involved in a number of humanitarian projects, calling on their church back in the UK, Bath Abbey, to help. The Abbey’s congregation responded by donating £26,040 over the last five years. 

To read the full story click here.

 

BATH SPA UNIVERSITY AND BATH ABBEY COLLABORATE TO PRESENT NEW EXHIBITION

The exhibition in Bath Abbey explores the theme of ‘Hospitality’.

The exhibition features new artworks by 11 Bath Spa University artists, including professional artist alumni, current students and staff from the School of Art and Design. It will be on show inside the Abbey from Tuesday 4 to Friday 28 June. 

Commenting on the theme, Claire Todd, the exhibition curator and Bath Spa University MA Ceramics graduate, said: “The works are embedded in the fabric of the Abbey, in familiar and less visible ledges and corners. Worshippers and visitors may seek out certain works and encounter others by chance. In this way we aim to heighten awareness of the single joy of hospitality and space for reflection and to magnify the warm nature of the Abbey as a place of encounter and exchange."

To read the full story, click here.

 

BATH ABBEY’S VICTORIAN CHANDELIERS GO GREEN

Bath Abbey’s Victorian chandeliers have had a new lease of life thanks to a donation of £63,700 from the Friends of Bath Abbey and a further grant of £8,000 from Business West’s Improving Your Resource Efficiency (IYRE) programme. As part of the Abbey’s long-term development project, Footprint, the chandeliers have been restored to their original Victorian design intent and also now incorporate new state-of-the-art LED lights.

First designed by Francis Skidmore in 1870, the chandeliers were adapted at the turn of the 20th century when new gas fittings were added. Further modifications followed and, in 1978, the lights were changed to electric fittings which obscured the view of the chandeliers themselves. These reduced the aesthetic impact of the chandeliers and also provided inadequate lighting.

To read the full story, click here.

 

 

SPECIAL EVENT TO CELEBRATE LOCAL SOCIAL ENTERPRISES

Bath Abbey will be hosting ‘Next steps...’, a one-off event to celebrate and raise awareness of local social enterprises on Thursday 16 May, from 12pm to 3pm. 

Members of the public can get involved by bringing in their bikes to the Abbey courtyard for servicing by the Bath Bike Company or sampling some free soup made and served by the Bath Soup Company. There will also be a display of planters made by Handy Help, a new social enterprise project set up by Clean Slate and DHI (Developing Health and Independence) which aims to get long-term unemployed people in Bath and North East Somerset to help vulnerable people and those on low incomes to improve their homes and gardens.

Another of the highlights will be one of Bath’s most innovative social enterprises, Secret City Tours, which offers an entertaining, informative walk led by the homeless or formerly homeless to discover a hidden side to this amazing World Heritage city. Tickets are £7 and £5 for concessions. The tour lasts 1hr 30mins and will start from outside the Abbey at 3pm following the ‘Next Steps...’ event on Thursday 16 May. 

To read the full story click here.

 

ART EXHIBITION ENCOURAGES PUBLIC TO THINK DIFFERENTLY

Bath Abbey welcomes the return of 'Think Different', an annual exhibition featuring artwork by local people who are currently supported by homelessness charities in Bath. The exhibition which runs from 14 to 19 May is a longstanding partnership between Bath Abbey and local Bath homeless and housing organisations including Big Issue, DHI (Developing Health and Independence), Julian House, Genesis Trust, and Stonham Housing.

A variety of artwork including film, photography, creative writing and sound will be on show including animation, refurbished furniture and even planters for the garden. Organisers are hoping that the variety of and creativity displayed by the works within the exhibition will make visitors more aware of the potential of the homeless, those in poor housing or those facing addictions, and to enable us to ‘think differently’ about them. 

To read the full story click here.

 

LOCAL ARTIST SHOWS WORK ALONGSIDE DAMIEN HIRST AT BATH ABBEY

Local artist Patrick Haines has been overwhelmed by the positive response he has received for his work which is currently on display at Bath Abbey as part of the ‘Odyssey’ exhibition.

Three of Patrick’s pieces are on show in Bath Abbey alongside household names such as Damien Hirst and David Mach. Examining the relationship between man and nature, Patrick’s work brings the untamed natural world into ordered human environments.

To read the full story click here.

David Mach Jacob's Ladder

 

ODYSSEY: A LONG JOURNEY IN WHICH MANY THINGS HAPPEN
5 APRIL TO 6 MAY

An art exhibition at Bath Abbey curated by bo.lee projects

Tessa Farmer, Patrick Haines, Damien Hirst, David Mach, Koji Shiraya

Bath Abbey will be the iconic location for ‘Odyssey’, a major contemporary art exhibition featuring work by renowned and emerging artists including Damien Hirst, David Mach, Tessa Farmer, Koji Shiraya and Bath-based, Patrick Haines. Curated by bo.lee projects, ‘Odyssey’ brings together seven art works brings together a collection of artworks which meditate upon the fragility, as well as the infinite possibility, of human existence. The works, situated in a series of resonant spaces within the Abbey, will inspire new responses, both to the sacred spaces and to the works themselves.

Alan Garrow, Vicar Theologian at Bath Abbey comments:

Bath Abbey is an astonishing space, and one in which it has always been possible to explore the big issues: who we are, where we’ve come from and where we’re going. This exhibition, brilliantly brought together by bo.lee projects, adds an extra sharpness to that experience by provoking questions such as: ‘what am I giving my life for?’, ‘what good can come out of sacrifice?’, or ‘where do earth and heaven meet in my daily experience?’. It’s an amazing exhibition and one that promises to live long in the memory. We urge Bath locals to come and enjoy their Abbey, and to experience this landmark moment in the city’s engagement with contemporary art.”

To read the full story click here.

 

BATH ABBEY APPOINTS ORAL HISTORY PROJECT MANAGER

Bath Abbey has appointed Dr Oliver Taylor as Project Manager for ‘Creating Voices’, an 18-month oral history project which will  gather, preserve, and share the stories of the many individuals who helped care for or restore the Abbey between 1942 and 2000. The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Friends of Bath Abbey.

Dr Taylor brings with him a wealth of experience, having completed degrees in English Literature from Durham University. He also has valuable experience of managing oral history projects for Gloucestershire Archives. In addition to his part-time position at the Abbey, Dr Taylor will continue to work simultaneously on a project which tells the story of Gloucester’s pioneering engineering firm Fielding and Platt, manufacturers of Britain’s first vacuum cleaner and the paving slab machines that helped to pave most of the country. His role at Bath Abbey will involve managing volunteers from the Abbey and Heritage students from Bath Spa University who will record the memories of stonemasons, sculptors, stained glass window conservators and the many others who have been involved in work on the Abbey’s fabric over the years. There has already been a great amount of interest in the project and people are beginning to come forward to share their memories.  

To read more click here.

 

BATH ABBEY RECEIVES COUNCIL'S GO AHEAD FOR PHASE 1 OF FOOTPRINT PROJECT

 

Bath Abbey has today been granted planning permission and listed building consent by Bath and North East Somerset Council. Councillors on the Development Control Committee voted overwhelmingly in favour of plans to improve public and ancillary support facilities at the Abbey, which includes a new Song School, alterations to Kingston Buildings, the 1920s Jackson Extension to Bath Abbey, the Clergy Vestry and adjoining vaults and cellars.

Seven years of consultation, planning and work have resulted in the current plans with 444 people recording their support for the project on the B&NES website.

Edward Mason, Rector of Bath Abbey, said: “We are thrilled to have been given planning permission, and are especially grateful for the warm encouragement and professional cooperation we have received. The vote is indicative of the strength of partnership of the Abbey with B&NES and many other organisations in the centre of Bath a shining example of how people can work together for the community’s good.”

Charles Curnock, Director of the Footprint project, said “This is a very significant day for the Abbey, for the Council and the city. We can promise you that we’ll continue to work closely with B&NES and all who long to see the Abbey and our community flourish.  A huge amount of consultation, discussion and listening has gone into this and we’re very grateful to everyone for their contributions. Together, we want to protect the fabric of this precious building and to make it a space for everyone:  and this is a big step towards this goal.”

 

Nick Brooks-Sykes, Chief Exec of Bath Tourism Plus with Charles Curnock raising our new and improved Diocesan flag

 

FLYING THE BATH & WELLS DIOCESE FLAG

On Tuesday 5 March at 1.30pm, an unofficial flag-raising ceremony took place at Bath Abbey as the flag from the top of the Tower was replaced with a new one.

Charles Curnock from Bath Abbey said: “The Bath & Wells Diocesan flag is flown from the top of the Abbey Tower every day come wind, rain or shine. Unfortunately this has meant it has taken quite a bit of battering over the years from Mother Nature, and despite several repairs is now looking worse for wear. One of the people who has made a point of mentioning this to us was Nick Brooks-Sykes, Chief Exec of Bath Tourism Plus, so we invited Nick to help us raise the new and larger version.”

To read the full story click here.

Photo courtesy of Alan Morley.

 

 

 

 

BATH ABBEY HOSTS ‘EXPERIENCE EASTER’ FOR LOCAL PRIMARY SCHOOLS

Bath Abbey will be running an interactive event for classes of Year 5 and 6 school children entitled ‘Experience Easter’ from Monday 11 March to Friday 22 March 2013.  It is designed to take Key Stage 2 pupils on a journey through the events of Holy Week, from Palm Sunday to Easter Day.

Seven ‘Stations of the Cross’ will be set up in the Abbey, enabling children to explore and develop their ideas using the events described in the Bible, and to engage in creative thinking, art evaluation and group discussions. Visitors to the Abbey will be provided with a special leaflet that they can utilise as they walk around the Abbey so they too can spend some time reflecting about the events of Easter.

To read the full story click here.

 

Over 500 school children taking part in African dancing and drumming at the Abbey

 

OVER 500 SCHOOL CHILDREN TO TAKE PART IN MUSIC WORKSHOP AT BATH ABBEY

For the third year running, 500 pupils from 11 local primary and secondary schools will be singing, dancing and beat boxing at Bath Abbey as part of the Schools’ Singing Programme’s annual workshop.  On Monday 25 and Tuesday 26 February (9.30am-3.20pm), the students will be taking part in a series of activities designed to get the children to enjoy singing as a group, experience different musical genres and to develop good singing and performance techniques.

Both days end with a concert at which the children come together to showcase their newly acquired skills. Participating schools include Freshford C of E Primary; King Edward’s Secondary; St Julian’s Primary, Wellow; Weston All Saints Primary; King Edward’s Pre-Prep; St Andrew’s C of E Primary; Widcombe Junior; St John’s C of E Primary, Keynsham; St Philip’s C of E Junior; St Stephen’s CEVA Primary and High Littleton C of E Primary.

To read the full story click here.

 

BATH ABBEY’S DIRECTOR OF MUSIC CELEBRATES BIRTHDAY BY MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Peter King, Bath Abbey’s Director of Music, celebrated his 60th birthday with a charity concert which raised over £5,400.

The audience comprised members of the public, family and friends who generously donated money to Macmillan Cancer TrustDorothy House Hospice and the Genesis Trust with each of the three charities receiving £1,806.

Peter said: “I wanted to celebrate by doing what I enjoy most, which apart from dog walking, is playing the organ! It has been touching to see how generous people have been and I am sure the charities will put the money to good use.”

To read the full story click here.

Abbey volunteers at last year's Thanksgiving service and meal for volunteers 

 

ABBEY COMMUNITY GIFTS £200,000 OF TIME TO CITY

Bath Abbey’s community contributes over 28,000 voluntary hours per year – with a third of their time dedicated to good causes across the city. In financial terms, it would have cost the Abbey and the city the equivalent of £209,583 last year, based on the Living Wage.

A survey conducted by the Abbey showed that its congregation contributes 345 hours per week to the Abbey alone. With activities as wide-ranging as welcoming visitors and stewarding concerts to running children’s groups and supporting services, the smooth running of the Abbey is made possible by a large and dedicated team of volunteers. The Abbey’s volunteers are equally generous when it comes to donating their time outside the Abbey itself devoting 195 hours per week to other local charities and organisations.

To read the full story click here.

 

If you would like to find out about volunteering at Bath Abbey, please contact Dawn Farmer, Visitors’ Officer: 01225 303310 or email: visits@bathabbey.org

 

Hayward & Wooster stonemasonry team on the Abbey tower replacing worn stone with a new Clipsham block, May 1952 

 

BATH ABBEY RECEIVES HLF FUNDING FOR CREATING VOICES: AN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT

Bath Abbey has been awarded £22,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting oral history project, ‘Creating Voices’, designed to capture the stories of the many individuals who were involved in caring for the Abbey’s fabric or who worked on restoring the present Abbey building. Further funding of £7,000 has been provided by the Friends of Bath Abbey bringing the project total to £29,200.

Working in conjunction with Bath Spa University, the ‘Creating Voices’ project will collect and present people’s stories from over a 60-year period of the Abbey’s rich and inspiring history, from the 1942 Bath Blitz, which provided the impetus for the 13 year post-war restoration of the Abbey, up to the end of the Abbey 2000 Restoration. 

To find out more, click here.

 

WEDNESDAY 23 JANUARY - WEATHER UPDATE

The Abbey is open for visiting as usual today, despite the snow.  The shop's open too and at the moment you can even climb the Tower.

We're planning usual opening hours and Tower Tours on the hour from 11am - 3pm though if the weather deteriorates we might have to rethink - updates will be posted here.

 

TUESDAY SNOW UPDATE FOR ABBEY CHOIRS

There will be no Choir Practice tonight (Tuesday 22nd January) due to heavy snow forecast and local schools closing early.

 

FRIDAY 18 JANUARY - SNOW DAY!

Despite snow, we are open today for prayers and visitors. (See the door in the bottom left hand corner!)

Abbey Shop's also open but Tower Tours are not running as it's too slippery.