Bid for lottery money to put priceless Roman coins found in Bath on show
Lottery money is being sought to put on display a priceless hoard of Roman coins found in Bath.
Experts have been amazed at the discovery of the Beau Street Hoard - a collection of around 22,000 coins dating back to 270AD uncovered by work on a new hotel in the city.
Now Bath and North East Somerset Council is hoping to win hundreds of thousands of pounds of lottery funds to acquire, conserve and display the treasures.
It has already secured £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to help it plan a range of activities celebrating one of the largest hoards of Roman coins ever found in Britain.
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The authority is planning a programme of 26 learning and community activities centred on the hoard and will be making a second application for a further £480,000 of HLF cash next summer.
It wants to take a roadshow around the B&NES area showing off some of the coins, and to properly display the hoard at the Roman Baths.
The council is also applying to other grant-giving bodies for financial help to secure the future of the coins, which have been analysed at the British Museum following their discovery during work on Wessex Water owner’s YTL’s new spa hotel in Beau Street.
Council cabinet member for sustainable development Councillor Cherry Beath (Lib Dem, Combe Down) said: “If our 2013 application is successful, this grant would help the council to do more than simply display this magnificent hoard. We hope to be able to help people enjoy their cultural heritage and increase local learning opportunities right across Bath and north east Somerset.”
HLF regional head Richard Bellamy said: “The Beau Street Hoard is a wonderful discovery. It has the potential to develop our understanding of one of the most fascinating periods in the history of Bath. We at the Heritage Lottery Fund are delighted to be giving our initial support for these plans to save the collection and ensure that the coins will be held locally so that they can be enjoyed by people from across the community, as well as visitors from further afield.”
News of the discovery attracted media coverage from around the world, with the Roman Baths website - www.romanbaths.co.uk - recording its greatest ever number of hits.
The council’s plans have been backed by city MP Don Foster, who has held some of the coins at the British Museum.
He said: “Earlier this year I was lucky enough to see the amazing Bath hoard while conservation work was taking place at the British Museum. It was simply staggering to hold a handful of these coins and know that they were nearly 2,000 years old.
“It would be absolutely fantastic to have the hoard come home to Bath and I fully support Bath and North East Somerset Council’s application to display these magnificent coins on a permanent basis.”
The funding application has also been backed by the Abbey Residents’ Association, Bath Spa University, the British Museum and the Roman Society. There will be a temporary display of some coins from the hoard in the Pump Room later this month.