Synergy News & Blog: Bath Office
Bath Abbey Footprint Project Well Underway
Five months on site and alongside some fascinating archaeological discoveries, the Footprint Project is well underway. The Abbey’s historic floor is made up of 891 ledgerstones, more than any other church in the country. Unfortunately, the Abbey’s floor is collapsing and is in urgent need of repair. This will require all 891 stones to be lifted from the floor, the surface beneath stabilised, and the stones repaired and re-layed. So far, hundreds of ledgerstones, which cover the east end area and part of the crossing, have been lifted and an assessment of each ledger undertaken to define the nature and scope of the required repairs. All stones lifted so far are now safely stored on site. Repairs to the effected stones are being carried out by conservation specialists. The new floor layout will consist of both repaired stones and new natural stone paving, using Welsh Blue Pennant or Somerset Blue Lias.
Archaeologists from Wessex Archaeology have been working alongside the building contractors to document and interpret any objects that may be uncovered as a result of the repairs. Undoubtedly, the most exciting ‘once in a lifetime’ find to date is a stunning medieval floor, seen for the first time in centuries! This 13th century tiled floor was uncovered around 2m below the current Abbey floor level and after a detailed specialist recording, preserved in-situ.
Inside the Abbey, all archaeological works and recording of Phase 1 is complete enabling the construction works to progress. Stainless steel reinforcement of the service trenches is installed with the first concrete pour carried out last week.
As well as the works inside the Abbey, the Footprint Project also includes the adjacent buildings and vaults. The floors in the vaulted spaces beneath the Abbey Churchyard have now been lowered to formation levels. Major structural alterations, which include enlarging the existing openings in the 900mm thick masonry walls with the insertion of reinforced concrete frames, is due to commence soon. Above ground, extensive temporary works are being undertaken in the two middle cottages in Kingston Buildings in which the party wall and ceiling between the basement and ground floor will be removed to form a generous open space for the future Song School.
If you would like to find out more about the Footprint project, Bath Abbey is running Behind-the-Scenes tours that give visitors a sneak peek at the incredible work that is taking place for the Footprint project. Tours will run on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 11am and last an hour and 15 minutes. Tickets are available from the Abbey Shop.
Synergy are providing Project Management and Quantity Surveying services for the Footprint Project and we look forward to updating you on further progress in our next blog instalment.