The ‘message’ this month is a little different from normal. The Museum of Bath Stone, the Combe Down Heritage Society and The Friends of Firs Field charities are running an appeal for funds called “Help Save Our Stone Heritage”.
They want to restore the remains of a shaft wall where Combe Down freestone was hauled out and create a curved seat for all to enjoy as a memorial to Ralph Allen’s role in the building of Georgian Bath with Combe Down stone. It will also commemorate the stabilisation project that, by 2009, restored the village to safety.
With the approval and support of B&NES, local councillors Bob Goodman and Cherry Beath, the UNESCO World Heritage Enhancement Fund, conservation professionals and local community groups, they now have seed money pledged. However, they need to raise a further £6,000 to get this project underway. If you would like to donate just text DONATE STONED to 88802 to give £5.00.
It all started last year. A group of Duke of Edinburgh’s Award students helped with an archeology project to detail and record the conservation of the last surviving mine shaft on public land in Combe Down.
The students feel it is important “to have a site visitors and locals can visit to see how mining for stone shaped our village and also shaped the world famous architecture in Bath and the surrounding area”. They detailed their work in a great blog ‘Firs Field Mine Shaft‘ where there’s information about how they surveyed the site, made a map and planned and executed their dig. The students had help from The Museum of Bath Stone, the Combe Down Heritage Society and experts from Cliveden Conservation and Odgers Conservation. The blog has many images of them hard at work and is well worth a visit.
The project got some great publicity from Bath Newseum who also created a video with Val Lyon who directed the Firs Field Project telling the story in more detail.