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Bath Abbey, UK

Bath Abbey Footprint project is a historic £19.3 million transformation programme of restoration work that will provide contemporary and sustainable solutions to meet the needs of the Abbey. 

Phase One: The Abbey (Completed Spring 2021)

The new lighting system plays a major role in revealing and celebrating the Abbey’s unique architectural features, whilst providing flexible scenes for various services and events. The choice of warm, white light evokes an inviting and intimate ambience that acknowledges the Abbey’s status as a place of worship.  Simultaneously, the lighting has the capability to create impact via a variety of impressive, dramatically lit scenes for events that the Abbey will be able to utilise for many years to come.

High level lighting located below the clerestory windows pick out the crowns and delicate profiles of the of the fan vaulting, which the Abbey is famous for. Mid level lights reveal the fine Bath Stone forms of the perpendicular gothic window tracery and vaults of the side aisles. The numerous Georgian wall memorials are illuminated by further luminaires located in the side aisles and transepts, which also highlight the fine tombs of Lady Jane Waller and the Bishop James Montague. The cast iron Victorian chandeliers have also been adapted to incorporate new low energy LED luminaires.

The entire lighting system has been upgraded and operates via a new DMX lighting control system, which allows each LED lamp to be individually controlled. This delivers an infinite amount of flexibility and the opportunity to animate lighting during services or for special events.

FCBStudios have led work 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. 

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, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios 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 project enhances the significance of the Abbey, whilst also 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.”

Phase two works are onsite and include spaces within the Vaults and adjoining Kingston Buildings, which include a new interpretation centre, song school and learning spaces for events and community use. 

The introduction of the Vaults will provide a cohesive and unified infrastructure. This will transform the way Bath Abbey is able to operate. It will enable over 400,000 visitors each year to experience and learn more about the Abbey’s rich history and its people. Phase 2 works will be completed late 2021. 

Photos: James Newton

Client

Bath Abbey

Location

Bath, UK

Sector

Heritage Lighting

Scope of Works

Heritage Lighting

Programme

2013-2021

Project Budget

£19.3 Million

Photographer

James Newton

Design Team

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Buro Happold, Mann Williams, Synergy, SSHC, Wessex Archaeology & Michael Grubb Studio