£5.5m scheme to revive the Roman Baths
A £5.5 million project to renovate the Roman Baths has been completed, with improvements to make it easier for visitors to imagine what life was like 2,000 years ago.
Projections of Roman characters as well as real-life actors in the museum, are among the developments which help add a new dimension to the experience.
The five-year redevelopment aimed to transform the baths into an attraction for the 21st century, improving accessibility for disabled visitors as well as providing creating a fun and interactive day out.
A vast selection of audio guides in a number of languages, including an English alternative by Bill Bryson and one in Mandarin, along with a new British Sign Language guide, are now available.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
Another of the aims of the project was improving the existing shops, with the main Roman Baths Shop in Stall Street closing for two months in January to allow for a £200,000 refurbishment.
The facelift, which was the first in 10 years, improved disabled access in the premises and also increased merchandising space by 10 to 15 per cent, to accommodate a higher volume of customers.
Stephen Bird, head of heritage services at baths operator Bath and North East Somerset Council, said all of the work was important to retain the museum’s status as a leading visitor attraction.
He said: “We had to up our game to retain our position.
“We needed to bring the baths into the 21st century but without changing it into a fairground ride.”
Attracting almost 900,000 people a year and putting an estimated £92m into the economy, the attraction made a profit of £3.3m last financial year.
So Mr Bird said it was impossible to close the baths down entirely for restoration and so instead the complex was closed section by section.
Mr Bird said: “We want people to be sure that the time they have spent here has been worth it and we have great comments from people and people saying that this is the best museum they have ever been to.”
The aim of the development plan is to increase visitor numbers and boost revenue, which benefits local taxpayers across the Bath area by effectively subsidising the council tax.
Meanwhile the access improvements for disabled people have led to a Gold Award from Able Radio, an online radio station for the special needs community.
The station described the work done at the baths as “phenomenal”.
The news was broken to Romans Baths manager Stephen Clews at the end of an online radio interview with a presenter who had recently led a team of assessors with special needs to review the improvements.
He said: “To be recognised for our extensive work on improving accessibility at our facilities in this way is very rewarding.
“Able Radio had carried out a thorough investigation into the services we provide and the recent improvements we have made.”
Councillor Terry Gazzard, B&NES cabinet member with responsibility for tourism and culture, said: “Significant investment by the council has made the Roman Baths more accessible so that an even greater number of people are able to enjoy the rich history of this wonderful city.
“Our overall redevelopment project puts the council in a stronger position to attract even more visitors to the city which will benefit local taxpayers and local traders.”
Work to make the Roman Baths more accessible included the installation of two new lifts, which means people using wheelchairs can now gain access to more than 60 per cent of the site.