April 2021

Once in a lifetime moment at Bath Abbey

New photography at Bath Abbey reveals the 891 memorial stones which pave the church and marks the completion of major works to the floor.

For a short time the restored floor is clear of furniture, giving a unique perspective on the World Heritage City church.

 The works are part of The Bath Abbey Footprint project, a £19.3 million programme of restoration, building works and interpretation that will secure the Abbey’s physical future and improve its hospitality, worship and service to the city.

FCBStudios have led the project to stabilise the subsiding floor, an extensive programme of archaeology, installation of a sustainable hot spa water powered underfloor heating system and the documentation, repair and relaying of the 2400 stones in total, which pave the floor, including nearly 900 ledger stones. In the coming weeks, the Victorian Corporation Stalls and new furniture will be moved into the Abbey, in readiness to welcome the community back to the church.

A new energy efficient lighting system has also been installed, designed by Michael Grubb Studio. The lighting scheme reveals the exquisite architectural detail of the Abbey whilst providing flexible scenes for various services and events. The entire lighting system has been upgraded, along with a new control system, that allows each lamp to be individually controlled. This delivers an infinite amount of flexibility and the opportunity to animate lighting within the various spaces during services or for special events.

Revd Canon Guy Bridgewater, Rector of Bath Abbey, said: “After so many years of work on the Abbey Footprint project, and so much being hidden behind the scenes, more and more is now coming to completion and being revealed at last. We’re hoping that local residents, visitors, and our regular congregation will share our delight in seeing Bath Abbey greatly enhanced. With the ancient floor now fully restored, and new lighting and eco heating system installed, the beauty of our renewed worship space is already over-whelming. We are beginning to see the fruits of all the amazing vision, prayer, planning, generosity and skilled hard work poured into resourcing the future of the Abbey and its ministry.

Alex Morris, Associate, FCBStudios said “The completion of this phase of work is a spectacular moment and a major step towards completion of the Footprint Project, which prepares Bath Abbey for the next 100 years. The memorial stones of the Abbey floor, which tell the stories of Bath’s Georgian society, are on show again after 150 years. They have been individually recorded, lifted, repaired and re-laid, to now be appreciated by everyone visiting the Abbey. The floor works re-present the building, in a way not seen since the 19th century. The project enhances the significance of the Abbey, whilst creating a more flexible building with better facilities. This allows the Abbey to better serve the congregation, the city of Bath and the many visitors to the UNESCO World Heritage site.”

As work on this major project continues, more exciting spaces will soon be uncovered including the new Song School for use by Abbey and local choirs, a Schools Learning Centre, and a Visitor Discovery Centre - together with important new office spaces, loos and volunteer facilities.

Read more in our Explore blog