Tai Chi on the Terrace.

Tai Chi on the Terrace.

Come and clear your minds at some early morning T’ai Chi sessions that once again this year,  are being organised at the Roman Baths from April – offering the opportunity to start the day with some gentle exercise.

Tai Chi on the Terrace at the Roman Baths. Picture taken during last year's sessions. Click on image to enlarge.

Tai Chi on the Terrace at the Roman Baths. Picture taken during last year’s sessions. Click on image to enlarge.

Led by a qualified and supportive T’ai Chi instructor, the sessions are open to anyone interested in improving their balance and aid relaxation.

They will take place for half an hour, starting at 8am, on the following Tuesdays: April14, 21 and 28; May 5, 12, 19 and 26, and June 2, 9 and 16.

“This is a great way to learn a new way of relaxing both mind and body in the elegant environment of the terrace – weather permitting,” said Stephen Clews, who works for B&NES as Manager of the Roman Baths. “But if the weather is less than friendly, practise your moves in the equally calm and beautiful surroundings of the inner terrace.

“Practising T’ai Chi in the refined surroundings of the terrace is an experience unique to the city of Bath and offers a very special experience for local people.” He added: “In ancient times the Roman Baths were a venue for relaxation and meeting with friends; it is wonderful that the Baths can still be used for the benefit of the community in this way today.

The early morning T’ai Chi sessions are planned to fit easily into a working day, or a trip to the shops or other sites of cultural and historical interest nearby.”

Baths soak up increased numbers – despite ratings slip.

Baths soak up increased numbers – despite ratings slip.

The Great Bath - part of the  Roman bathing complex built around the thermal waters.

The Great Bath – part of the Roman bathing complex built around the thermal waters.

Bath’s Roman Baths and Pump Room have slipped from 19th to 23rd place in the list of most visited UK attractions for 2013 – according to the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions.

However it’s only because other sites in London showed even  bigger increases in visitor numbers. The Baths actually showed a 7 per cent increase in numbers from 1,064,177 in 2012 to 1,135,007 in 2013.

It’s nearest rival was Stonehenge which managed 21st place with 1,241,296 – an increase of 18.9 per cent over the previous year.

The British Museum retained its place at number one with 6,695,213 – a 20 per cent increase over the previous year!

Roman treasures roadshow

Roman treasures roadshow

Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Beau Street Hoard Roadshow team is showing off its Roman treasures in Midsomer Norton as the roadshow continues its travels around the region.

Some of the cleaned coins.

Some of the cleaned coins.

On Saturday 7th March, from 11am to 3pm, visitors can discover the mysteries and majesties behind the Beau Street Hoard at the Midsomer Norton Town Hall. Illustrated talks will take place at 11.30am and 2pm. Entry is free.

Visitors will be able to see some of the fabulous Roman coins found during an archaeological excavation in 2007, strike their own Roman coin to take home, learn all about the find and the mystery that shrouds it, take part in all- ages activities, and watch illustrated talks.

The Roadshow project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, is one way the Council-run Roman Baths is working to bring these marvellous coins out to communities in Bath, North East Somerset and beyond.

The hoard lifted by crane ©Cotswold Archaeology

The hoard lifted by crane ©Cotswold Archaeology

Councillor Ben Stevens (Lib-Dem, Widcombe), the Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “With some coins still in amazing condition, the hoard has given us a better understanding of the lives and politics of Britain 2,000 years ago. The images on the coins are fascinating; they were the easiest way the Roman Emperor had of communicating with his citizens, and therefore represent thousands of mini state broadcasts.”

The Beau Street Hoard was excavated by archaeologists on the site of the Gainsborough Hotel development in Beau Street, Bath, in 2007. The 17,577 Roman coins span the period from 32BC – 275AD and were found in eight separate money bags, which were fused together. No one knows how they got there, why they were put there, or why no-one ever returned for them; the mystery behind them has led to many interesting theories, but no actual fact.

In March 2014, Bath & North East Somerset Council was awarded a grant of £372,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to purchase the hoard, and, from February 2015, it will be on permanent public display in a new interactive exhibit within the Aquae Sulis Gallery at The Roman Baths.

Like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/BeauStHoard or give us a Follow @BeauStHoard. Alternatively, take a look at the http://www.romanbaths.co.uk events section.

Free lunchtime talks at Bath Guildhall.

Free lunchtime talks at Bath Guildhall.

The Mappa Mundi, Magna Carta and Bath’s Roman Curse Tablets will be the subjects of talks presented by Bath & North East Somerset Council highlighting remarkable documents inscribed on The UNESCO Memory of the World International and UK Registers. The Registers recognise the world’s outstanding documentary heritage.

Examining real lead curses from the Roman Baths collection.

Examining real lead curses from the Roman Baths collection.

The free lunchtime talks – staged by the Council’s Heritage Services in the Bath Guildhall on 14, 21 and 28 January – present the perfect opportunity to learn more about some of the most significant written documents in the history of the world, which are held right here in the UK.

Cllr Ben Stevens (Lib-Dem, Widcombe), Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “These documents were of great importance in the past and are also of great importance to us today – helping us to better understand the world in which we live.”

The first talk about the Mappa Mundi is on Wednesday 14 January. It will be delivered by Sarah Arrowsmith, the Education Officer at Hereford Cathedral where it is displayed. This is the only complete example of a large mediaeval world map intended for public display. It gives us a window onto the world as it was known in the middle ages. It is drawn on vellum (calf skin) and holds historical, anthropological, ethnographical, theological, biblical and classical images and information. It presents a view of a world very different from ours.

On Wednesday 21 January, the Magna Carta will be the subject for Seif El Rashidi, the Magna Carta 800 Manager at Salisbury Cathedral. 2015 will be the 800th anniversary of its signing. Only four copies of the original Magna Carta exist, and one is held by Salisbury Cathedral. Considered by some to be the most significant document in our history, it set out for the first time the English principles of liberty, law and democracy and had a worldwide influence which endures to this day. The charter imposed constraints on royal authority in the areas of taxation, feudal rights and justice, thereby limiting unfair and arbitrary behaviour by the king towards his subjects. It is regarded by UNESCO as “an icon for freedom and democracy throughout the world”.

The final talk – given by Roman Baths Manager Stephen Clews about the Roman Curse Tablets from Bath – will be on Wednesday 28 January. They were included on the UK Register earlier this year. The Tablets are prayers requesting the assistance of the goddess Sulis Minerva in righting wrongs and ask for sometimes blood curdling punishment for the perpetrators of crimes. Some were written backwards to increase their potency. They provide a very different insight into the Roman world from that which comes down to us from other surviving documents. Who would want their name written upon a tablet thrown into the sacred spring seeking restitution and revenge?

The free talks will be held at the Guildhall, High Street, Bath from 1.10pm – 1.45pm on 14, 21 and 28 January. They are open to everyone and no ticket or advance booking is required.

Coin it in!

Coin it in!

The Beau Street Hoard will be back on display at the Bath & North East Somerset Council-run Roman Baths just after Christmas – and there’s a chance for a lucky visitor to win a top secret prize.

Some of the cleaned coins.

Some of the cleaned coins.

The Beau Street Hoard roadshow has been touring the Bath and North East Somerset area and beyond for several months but every so often the team like to show off some of the 17,577 Roman coins on their own turf.

On Saturday 27 December, the Council’s Beau Street Hoard team presents ‘Silver Silhouettes’ at the Roman Baths. From 11am to 3pm, you can make your own Roman coin to take home and there will be displays, hands-on activities for the kids, and the chance to win prizes.

People paying a post-Christmas visit will be in with a chance of winning a top secret prize – simply by striking a pose next to a giant Roman coin and posting a photograph on social media. All you have to do to enter the competition is to send the Beau Street
Hoard team your photo through Facebook or Twitter – the most creative coin wins!

Councillor Ben Stevens (Lib-Dem, Widcombe), the Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “The Beau Street Hoard Roadshow has been an enormous success so far. Hundreds of people have already had the opportunity to enjoy looking at these fantastic Roman coins during the roadshow visits.

“Now, we’d encourage anyone who has not yet been to a roadshow to seize this opportunity to come and see and experience this fabulous display – coupled with some post-Christmas activities for both children and adults and a fun competition that everyone can enter.”

Like the coins on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/BeauStHoard or follow the coins on Twitter @BeauStHoard. Alternatively, take a look at the http://www.romanbaths.co.uk events section for more information.

The hoard lifted by crane ©Cotswold Archaeology

The hoard lifted by crane ©Cotswold Archaeology

FOR YOUR INFORMATION: The Beau Street Hoard was excavated by archaeologists on the site of the new Gainsborough Hotel in Beau Street, Bath, in 2007. The 17,577 Roman coins span the period from 32BC – 275AD and were found in eight separate money bags, which were fused together.

In March 2014, Bath & North East Somerset Council was awarded a grant of £372,500 from The Heritage Lottery Fund to purchase the hoard, and, from February 2015, it will be on permanent public display in a new interactive exhibit within the Aquae Sulis Gallery at The Roman Baths.

What future for Bath museums?

What future for Bath museums?

Bath & North East Somerset Council is developing Forward Plans for two of Bath’s most important museums – the Victoria Art Gallery and the Roman Baths.

The Roman Baths.

The Roman Baths.

Bath's Victoria Art Gallery.

Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery.

The Forward Plans are required to enable both museums to re-apply for Arts Council England accreditation.

This is the Government’s scheme which shows that museums meet acceptable standards of governance, collections care, financial sustainability and public services.

Members of the public are invited to attend a consultation event about the plans at which they can hear about proposals and contribute their thoughts and ideas.

The event will take place at the Victoria Art Gallery on Wednesday 26 November from 6pm – 7.30pm.

When completed, the forward plans will provide a blueprint for work and development over the next three years.

Councillor Ben Stevens (Lib-Dem, Widcombe), the Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “I hope local people will take this opportunity to hear about and contribute to thinking and ideas for the future of the Victoria Art Gallery and the Roman Baths. It promises to be a good evening.”

Lottery award for Roman Baths expansion

Lottery award for Roman Baths expansion

The internationally important Roman Baths could benefit from further development thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarding initial support – including £168,000 development funding – to Bath & North East Somerset Council.

The archway linking Roman Baths with proposed Education Centre.

The archway linking Roman Baths with proposed Education Centre.

The green light from HLF 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.

If successful at the second round, 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.

The project currently called ‘The Archway Centre’ gets its name from the stone bridge that spans York Street.

Artist’s impression attached showing how the Archway Centre might connect beneath York Street to the Roman Baths.

Artist’s impression attached showing how the Archway Centre might connect beneath York Street to the Roman Baths.

Councillor Ben Stevens (Lib-Dem, Widcombe), Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund trustees have recognised the potential of this project. The Council takes seriously its responsibility to realise the educational potential of the Roman Baths for groups of all ages, as well as to interpret the City of Bath World Heritage Site. This initial support takes us a step closer to achieving both.”

Nerys Watts, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South West, said: “The Roman Baths are synonymous with the UK’s Roman heritage, but Bath is also home to fascinating Georgian and Victorian history which is sometimes overlooked. This project will significantly enhance this world renowned site’s offer to visitors – both from home and further afield and open up the long and intricate history of Bath. Our initial support means that detailed plans can be worked up over the coming months that will include providing first-class learning and educational provisions, regenerate currently empty and dilapidated historic buildings and create far better access for everyone to enjoy.”

You can find out more about the proposed Archway Centre at http://www.romanbaths.co.uk.