Bath Abbey is launching new tours that will take visitors behind-the-scenes to see the incredible work that is taking place for the Footprint project. The tours will start on Monday 22 October and will give people an opportunity to see the work taking place to save the Abbey’s historic floor from collapse.
Visitors will visit parts of the Abbey that are usually off limits to members of the public. Thanks to experienced guides, those on the tour will learn about the historic ledgerstones that make up the Abbey floor, why the floor is collapsing, and the complex work carried out to repair the floor as part of the Footprint project, as well as some of the discoveries the archaeologists have found along the way. Tours will run on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 11am and last an hour and 15 minutes.
The East end of the Abbey building is currently closed off to the public as essential work to repair the historic church floor takes place. In addition to floor repairs, work for the Footprint project also includes installing a new eco-friendly heating system using Bath’s famous hot springs, and creating new spaces and facilities for all to use.
Ollie Taylor, Bath Abbey’s Head of Interpretation, Learning and Engagement, said: “The Abbey floor is unique; it is made up of 891 memorial stones, more than any other church in the country, but there’s no getting away from the fact that it is collapsing. The focus of our behind-the-scenes tours will be the restoration of the Abbey floor, which is a major conservation project in its own right. All the stones will be lifted from the floor, the surface beneath stabilised, and the stones repaired and relayed.
“Our tours will take you to where the repair and conservation work is taking place and look at the floor's history. We are extremely grateful to our team of volunteers who will be leading these tours. Most of them are closely connected to the Abbey and have been part of its community for years, so have many great stories about this beautiful place of worship and its people, past and present.”
Tours cost £10 per person and are free for B&NES Discovery Card holders. Tickets can be purchased from the Abbey Shop. As tours go into areas where building and conservation work is taking place, those going on them must wear hard hats, hi-vis jackets, and steel toe cap boots (all of which will be provided). Because child-sizes of the protective clothing are not available at the moment, the tours are only offered to those over 16 years of age. Those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Please click here for further information about the tours.