Roman Baths Archway Project | The Roman Baths

Roman Baths Archway Project

A new Learning Centre, the Archway Centre, gets boost with HLF funding

20 October 2014

A recent Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £168,000 will enable the Council’s Heritage Services to develop exciting plans for a major heritage project to convert buildings in York Street and Swallow Street into a Roman Baths Learning Centre and World Heritage Interpretation Centre, transforming the visitor experience at the Baths and dramatically improving the site’s learning offer. An existing tunnel under York Street will give school groups direct access into the heart of the Baths.

Image: Heritage Lottery Fund logo

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Where will it be built?

If successful in obtaining further funding, the project will also interpret and breathe new life into the currently much-overlooked Victorian spa buildings close to the Roman Baths, open up more in-situ remains for daytime visitors to see and create an underground ‘investigation zone’ for learning groups of all ages. These improvements will allow local people and the many thousands of tourists that visit every year to rediscover the Roman, Georgian and Victorian heritage of Bath. Plans also include innovative plans to use energy recovered from waste water in the Roman Drain to heat the Centre.

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Why is it called the Archway Centre?

The Archway Centre project gets its name from the stone bridge that spans York Street which used to carry water from the Victorian spa to its laundry across the road. All the buildings in which the centre will be housed are already owned by Bath & North East Somerset Council, who manage the Roman Baths.

Why is a learning centre needed?

The current education facility consists of just one room within the museum.  It is a purpose-built classroom at the heart of the Roman Baths with a fine view of the Great Bath, but it is often booked to capacity, requiring overspill into a less suitable 19th century meeting room in the Pump Room complex above. The current facilities have no dedicated cloakroom, toilets or lunch-eating facilities attached.  These arrangements no longer meet the expectations of schools and the new centre will provide the full breadth of facilities required for a school to get the most out of their visit.