UWE film records restoration of Bath's Georgian townhouse museum at No. 1 Royal Crescent

Issue date: 19 June 2013


A 'unique' record of the building works necessary to transform No.1a Royal Crescent in Bath has been made by film-maker Steve Brown of UWE Bristol.

Steve recorded and edited footage of each stage of the two-year project to reunite No. 1a, the servant's wing, with the stunning Georgian house at No. 1.

His film will be on show in the Andrew Brownsword gallery created as part of the transformation.

The extended museum reopens on 21 June and will reveal what life was like for the residents of a grand Georgian household – both upstairs and downstairs.

Having previously worked together on a film at the Building of Bath Collection, the Bath Preservation Trust - which runs the museum - asked UWE's Educational Resources for the Built Environment (ERBE) department to record the traditional restoration techniques in action. Skilled craftsman are filmed lime-plastering, flagstone-laying and lead-roofing.

Steve said, “This was a fascinating project, a real one-off. It is rare to have the opportunity to see recent additions being removed from a Grade 1 listed building. It forms a record of a restoration project unlikely to happen again.

“I visited the site throughout the project to see it taking shape. As well as the finished film, there is an additional hour-and-a-half of edited footage in the archive to provide a permanent record of all the techniques needed to restore its period detail.”

During the initial investigations builders discovered an unexpected original staircase leading from the Gentleman's Retreat into a courtyard. Other rooms on show include the original kitchen, scullery, coalholes, corridors and stores, plus a house-keeper's room, servants' hall, grand dining room, withdrawing room, morning parlour and lady's and gentleman's bedchambers.

Tom Boden, Head of Museums at the Bath Preservation Trust, said,

“The project has been a great success and has transformed Nos.1 and 1a to the highest possible standard. The new atrium over the courtyard enables us to provide access without any detriment to the existing buildings. In being both modernising and enlightening, the project has come up with a 21st century solution that reflects the 18th century.”

To view the film click here. A gallery of photos from the restoration process is also available on flickr.

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