What is the Community Advisory Panel?

Beckford’s Tower Community Advisory Panel was set up in November 2021. It consists of a group of staff and members from Bath’s heritage organisations, voluntary organisations, community groups and local residents.

Amy talking to our advisory groupp

What is the purpose of the Community Advisory Panel?

The Community Advisory Panel provides  an important opportunity for a range of community groups to represent their members in the development of Beckford’s Museum and Tower. The focus of this group is to be a critical friend to the Tower and to input into the development of new narratives about William Beckford and the Tower.

The new interpretation for Beckford’s Tower  will invite visitors to take in the view from all perspectives. Sensitive themes and issues will be openly discussed in the interpretation and these are being shared in the group meetings.  These include the Tower’s connections with colonialism, and the wealth that the transatlantic slave trade brought to the Beckford family, plus William Beckford’s sexuality and isolation.

Our hope is that the community groups who are part of the Community Advisory Panel feel their views are properly represented in the interpretation and that Beckford’s Tower is a  place their members would like to visit.

Jacqueline Braithwaithe

Jacqueline Braithwaite (FRSA, MCSD, MA, Cert Ed.)

My name is Jacqueline Braithwaite I am the former Head of Design in FE & HE at Berkshire College of Art and Design. I’m a highly-skilled professional in the fields of Design Education, The Arts & Disability Accessible Design Research, in addition to which, I’m a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts-FRSA, a body for interdisciplinary social change, and a member of The Chartered Society of Designers, with whom I enjoy Chartered Status. I’m also a practising sustainability mixed-media artist, a fashion and textile designer, and a disability and design advocate, with a strong presence in the Bristol Arts community. As well as exhibiting at The Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, the Arnolfini, and the Designers Guild and the Walcot Chapel Arts Space in Bath, I am a trustee of numerous arts organisations in the West Country.


I’m passionate about complex issues of sustainability, diversity & social inclusion, through the exploration of creativity. As a proud woman of colour I can connect both with William Beckford’s past and the diverse local community of today. I wanted to be an active member of the Community Advisory Panel (CAP) as I have experience of working with a wide range of young people and local communities, through education and design, exploring and expressing lived life experience and reaction to local environments creatively. Being part of the CAP is an honour and has brought Beckford’s Tower to life, actively connecting today’s communities and the city of Bath to its complex historical past. I’m very excited to see where this amazing collaboration leads and I’m invested in the long term with this ongoing and evolving living history project!

Holly Dabbs

Holly Dabbs

My name is Holly Dabbs and I’m on the Community Advisory Panel as a local resident, parent and museum educator.  I wanted to join the CAP as I wanted to be a part of the redevelopment of whose historical stories are being told in Bath. I grew up in the city and Beckford’s Tower was a building I drove past as a child, never knowing its significance in both local and global histories. Having the community be part of the redevelopment of the Tower helps to ensure that all members of the community can be heard, it also allows the team at BTP to have their ideas unpicked and questioned so that they can meet the requirements of the wider community surrounding the Tower, both physically and metaphorically. I would like see younger residents in Bath and North East Somerset having the chance to know more about the Tower, have a voice, enquire and understand the legacy and impact of the transatlantic slave trade and how it relates to our everyday modern life, building equality and diversity into our future.

Helen Daniels with Beau Nash

Helen Daniels

I’m Helen Daniels, and I joined the Community Advisory Panel to represent the City of Bath World Heritage Site.  I have been working in the heritage sector in Bath for 22 years.  My various roles have included responsibility for events, outreach programmes, communications, exhibitions, museum collections, working with young people, and building community partnerships. I am delighted that Beckford’s Tower has secured funding to protect the Tower, and to re-interpret the story of William Beckford and his life. The Tower is such an important architectural feature in the World Heritage Site, and in the landscape setting of the city. I firmly believe that the most successful heritage projects are those that involve, and listen to, multiple voices and wide communities. I am enjoying being part of this team, and am grateful to be able to contribute to the exciting ‘Our Tower’ project.

Nicole Daw

Nicole Daw

My name is Nicole, I work as Trails and Access Officer for the Cotswolds National Landscape. I started in this post in June 2021. My role is all about encouraging and enabling more people to enjoy and engage with the countryside of the Cotswolds (and its immediate surroundings). I wanted to join the CAP because I was very interested to see how the footpaths around Beckford’s Tower would be incorporated into the work at the site. I also thought it would be a great way to meet new people and organisations who the CNL do not already work with. I really enjoy being able to have a personal influence on this Beckford’s Tower project as well as looking at opportunities for the outdoor spaces to be part of the offer.

Dan Merrett

Dan Merrett

I’m Dan and I’m the manager of a National Lottery funded landscape partnership project called Bathscape. With Beckford’s Tower being such an iconic feature in the landscape, and Beckford’s influence extending to the land around the tower, there is a significant landscape element to the Our Tower project and that is why I was keen to be on the Community Advisory Panel. As well as the setting of the Tower and its place in the wider setting of the City of Bath World Heritage Site, the social history aspect of Beckford and his time in Bath forms one of the many stories of the Bathscape area, and getting to know that better and consider how that can be shared has been fascinating, particularly with other panel members bringing their insights. It been hugely rewarding to see the project move forward and I can’t wait to visit with my family when the works are complete.

Alana Wright

Alana Wright

My name is Alana and I work for the National Trust, which is Europe’s largest conservation charity looking after nature, beauty and history for everyone to enjoy. I am specifically based at Bath Assembly Rooms which is part of a portfolio of five National Trust sites in and around Bath. Before I started working for the National Trust, I worked at Beckford’s Tower and it still holds a special place in my heart to this day. I joined the Community Advisory Panel because I want to be involved in any way I can with the development of the new museum, and the way that the stories connected with the Tower are told. Being involved with the panel so far has been fascinating and I have found that my perceptions of the Tower and its history have already changed through the rich and interesting discussions we always have as a group. It’s so important for these discussions to influence the Tower project to ensure that all of those different voices are reflected in the Tower’s storytelling going forward. History is shared by everyone, so everyone should have the chance to share it, and I’d love to see a community-led approach to sharing our history replicated more widely across Bath and museums in general.

Liz Spurr

My name is Liz Spurr, I’m a Registered Nurse working part-time.  I have been nursing for over 30 years and have diverse experience of working in secure services, mental health, clinical and community areas. I’m currently Chair of the PTA at my son’s school and I am involved with a number of charity engagements through my work with the school Outreach team, which I’m extremely passionate about.   I’m also Secretary of Ensleigh Residents Association, I enjoy being an active member of the local community and am especially keen on event planning and encouraging community engagement on Ensleigh. I wanted to be involved on Beckford’s Tower Community Advisory Panel (CAP) as the Tower is such a prominent landmark which I see from my window every day. The rich history and tapestry of the Tower has been brought to life with this remarkable redevelopment plan, being part of connecting this to the local community is a privilege. I applaud the Beckford’s Tower team on their approach to community engagement. I hope to inspire Ensleigh residents to be curious, ask questions, raise awareness and to get involved in Beckford’s Tower with potential volunteer roles, events and help connect the landscape with the community. I’m especially enjoying my son and his friends taking an interest in the Tower and raising questions on the transatlantic slave trade, the architecture, the redevelopment and even the ghost stories!!

Ruth Battrick

My name is Ruth Battrick, I joined the Beckford’s Tower Community Advisory Panel (CAP) as a representative for local residents and as social secretary of the Ensleigh Residents Association. I’m a keen volunteer in my local community, organising events for residents and helping to grow Ensleigh as a friendly and happy place to live. I have been involved in collaborating with other local communities such as our primary school, the church, the retirement village and Beckford’s Tower. Having an interest in local history and living so close to Beckford’s Tower I have had an increasing interest in learning more about its history and seeing its recent development. I was therefore very pleased to be invited to join the CAP and to learn about the Our Tower project and the important work being done by the historians. I am really enjoying being one of the outside voices that are called upon to express their thoughts and opinions during the development of the project. Being a link between Beckford’s Tower and the local community is a great opportunity to be able to represent the interest of the local residents and I hope to inspire them to discover more and become involved. I am finding it fascinating and eye opening to witness some of the detail the team go into in order to present the most honest and clear interpretation of history to a present day audience. Particularly when some of the material is very sensitive. I have worked in different fields in the past including psychotherapy and life coaching. As a registered childminder I ran my own after school club prior to my retirement. Currently alongside volunteering in the local community, I love spending time with my family and grandchildren. I also enjoy days out with my husband which are often history related and in nature.

Stephen Huard

My Name is Stephen. Since 2013 I have been a volunteer at Beckford’s Tower. Although not as experienced as some, I have fulfilled all the various tasks involved and constantly learnt more about William Beckford’s extraordinary and controversial life through reading, discussions, listening to lectures, two visits to the site of Fonthill Abbey and even Goodridge designed buildings in the local area. I have also been fortunate enough to visit Jamaica three times recently. Something William Beckford never did!

When we moved to the centre of Bath in preparation for our retirement, I decided to follow my wife’s lead into some of the many volunteer guiding roles that existed. My own interest in Georgian Bath starts with Lord Nelson (I was involved in producing the self-guided Nelson Walks in Bath). Consequently, the connections between Beckford and Nelson are particularly fascinating to me.

My previous career as a Personnel Manager and HR Director in both the Private and Public sectors means that some of the issues associated with the updated interpretation of Beckford’s life and circumstances are familiar to me. So, I hope to contribute, via the CAP, to the expanded museum experience and re-interpretation of his life with all the different views represented. I plan to continue as a volunteer upon re-opening.

Other key partners, who are kept up to date, include: Creativity Works, St Swithin’s Church, St John’s Foundation, Anchor Hanover, BEMSCA and Black Families Support Education Group.

The Tower Project

Our Tower: Reconnecting Beckford’s Tower and Landscape for all” aims to connect people with the buildings and landscape created by the bisexual writer, slave owner and collector William Beckford (1760-1840).

Read more about the Tower project or Sign up to the “Our Tower” newsletter for regular project updates.

If you would be interested in becoming involved in the Tower project please email Michelle Williams on mwilliams@bptrust.org.uk.