Bath Abbey is a place that has been attracting visitors for hundreds of years. There are many reasons to visit the abbey, but many people come to admire the architecture or to enjoy the church music, while others simply want to attend a service.
The abbey has undergone a great deal of restoration in recent years, and there are times when the abbey is not open to visitors while essential works are carried out. Some of the renovations have met with opposition though. Bath Abbey is a medieval building and features such as the Victorian choir stalls are being removed, along with the pews. This has come after a lengthy campaign and battle to save them. However, the removal of the pews creates a large open space and this will provide the facility to host a variety of different events.
The Bath Abbey restoration project is known as the Footprint project and is costing around £19.3 million. As part of this work, a learning centre will be created along with a song school. In addition, a kitchen and restrooms will be installed as well as underfloor heating that makes use of the natural hot springs in Bath. The replacement for the pews will be stackable chairs that can be moved easily and will allow for easier disabled access.
One of the main focuses of the restoration project will be repairs to the floor. The ledger stones will be restored and the floor will be evened out. The director of the abbey has said that the work will help to bring the abbey back to one of its original functions. It was traditional for events to be held in the abbey, and the removal of the pews will help to make that possible again, although this does not appease those who oppose the sale of the ornate benches designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott.