Yesterday Beckford’s Tower welcomed a small group of guests, including Bath Preservation Trust staff and trustees, for an exclusive first look at the newly restored Lantern. Guests were given the opportunity to climb the scaffold and see repair and conservation works to the iconic Lantern up close.
After a tour, there was an opportunity for guests to ask questions and take a closer look at the extensive refurbishments before the scaffolding is dismantled from the Tower and the team prepares to reopen to the public in 2024.
Patrizia Ribul, Director of Museums at Bath Preservation Trust and the lead for the “Our Tower” project says: “It was a priority for us to give staff and supporters the unique opportunity to see the lantern restoration up close while the scaffolding is still in place. Bath Preservation Trust is now very much looking forward to the Tower reopening in spring 2024. We would like to thank the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England and all the other generous individual and group funders who have helped us in supporting this momentous project. We would also like to thank our wonderful members for their constant and vital support of the Bath Preservation Trust”.
The “Our Tower: Reconnecting Beckford’s Tower and Landscape for all” project has transformed the museum and opened up the landscape with the provision of new footpaths and a sensitive conservation of the grounds. It has also provided accessible experiences and digital resources alongside a new school learning programme with fresh opportunities available for volunteering and community engagement.
From the outset, in addition to the physical restoration of the tower and its environs, it has been a key objective to bring the story of William Beckford’s complex and controversial life to a wider, contemporary audience. Beckford’s wealth was secured from his ownership of plantations and enslaved people, a crucial theme which the Tower will be addressing in its new exhibition spaces and interpretation.