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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 
  • Toilets, cloakrooms and baby changing facilities
  • Workshop and storage facilities

Inside the Abbey

  • Improved lighting within the Abbey
  • A new and stable floor
  • An efficient underfloor heating system

2) 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 was made to and granted by the church authorities for the work on the Abbey. As a result, we began building work inside and outside the Abbey in Spring 2018.

3) What building work is being done at present?

The floor of the East end of the Abbey is undergoing repairs and work is being carried out on the new choir rehearsal facilities, offices and meeting rooms in Kingston buildings.  Work is also being carried out on the archives, toilets and kitchen facilities in the basement of Abbey Chambers.

If you wish to know more about the work in 2018-March 2019 and how this will impact on access for visitors and worship, please click here.

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

While the building and restoration work is taking place, our intention is for the Abbey to remain open as usual with as little disruption as possible to visitors, worshippers and neighbouring businesses and residents. In order to do this, the building work inside the Abbey will be carried in phases. 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. Other nearby buildings and churches have generously offered us their spaces to support the work of the Abbey where needed. Inevitably there will be some disruption and changes to operations while the work takes place; we ask and thank you for your patience and understanding. 

For more information about how the building work will impact on access and day to day operations, please click here.

5) 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.

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

Thanks to a grant of £10.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, additional funds from private individuals and trusts, as well as the Abbey’s own congregation and visitors, the Abbey has almost raised the amount needed with over £1 million left to raise.

Andrew and Christina Brownsword via The Brownsword Charitable Foundation have agreed to give £500,000 in match funding towards Bath Abbey’s Footprint project in order to encourage local businesses and organisations to support the project.

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 in the North aisle in 2012 including repairs to the floor and a new underfloor heating system was funded separately through 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. 

7) When will it be completed?

The earliest the project could be complete is 2021. All the work is subject to funding and planning approvals, and therefore this date is subject to change.

8) 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.

9) 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.The pews in the nave will be replaced with chairs which we believe will bring a huge benefit for the many people that worship at the Abbey. The chairs will offer more comfort and will enable us to open up the Abbey’s nave and side aisles, making it much more accessible and user-friendly for contemporary worship. 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.

10) What will happen to any burials uncovered in the Abbey during the floor repairs?
Any human remains that are uncovered inside the Abbey during the repairs to the floor will be carefully removed and stored for the duration of the work. At an appropriate point during the floor repairs, any human remains found will be respectfully reinterred and a special prayer will be said.

11) 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. For more information about this, please click here.