Eureka! Finally our hard work has been rewarded.
The good news from the Heritage Lottery Fund is that our Beau Street Hoard Project has been successful in attracting £372,500 of lottery funding.
After cracking open the ginger beer (should have been ‘mulsum’, an alcoholic Roman tipple, but we were officially at work!), we had to get down to the serious business of buying the hoard. Stephen Clews, Manager of The Roman Baths and the project mastermind, quickly got on the phone to The Treasure Valuation Committee to get a receipt for the purchase of the coins to present to our grant giving bodies – The Heritage Lottery Fund, The Victoria and Albert Museum’s Purchase Fund and The Headley Trust. This enabled us to draw down our grants to buy the hoard.
After the coins had been purchased, we publicised the good news, far and wide. Our Communications and Media Officer issued a press release and the phone went red hot with requests for interviews, sound-bites and photo shoots. As the coins were discovered in central Bath, the story has elicited a lot of interest locally, but the story also captured the imagination of national and international press and media. Luckily, Stephen is a very eloquent and enthusiastic speaker, also not at all fazed by the paparazzi’s flashing bulbs and requests to ‘look this way please, Mr Clews’!
This application is the culmination of over a year’s worth of activity, with input from many people including colleagues, partners, consultees, volunteers and funders. Now we’ve been awarded the grant we will embark on our exciting community engagement activities, working with many local groups including The Girl Guide Association, the U3A (University of the Third Age), local school children, their parents and teachers, students and staff from Bath Spa University and Wiltshire College, Bath Festivals, The Genesis Trust, The Natural Theatre Company and others.
This month marks the official launch of the Beau Street Hoard community engagement programme which will run until July 2015, with many opportunities to get involved with exciting, coin-related events, including hands-on coin activities, designed to encourage people’s understanding and interest in archaeology and local heritage, drop-in workshops, mobile roadshows in locations across Bath and North East Somerset and beyond, new educational resources for young visitors, long-term projects with community partners and a range of public talks, presentations and symposia. There is something to interest everyone, from the casual visitor to the coin expert. One of the first events is ‘Curious Coins’, the first of many drop-in events at The Roman Baths, on 14 April (10am-1pm & 2pm-4pm) where visitors can investigate Roman coins and children can create a coin to take home.
For up to date details of all Beau Street Hoard events visit the Roman Baths website or follow us on Twitter flickr and Facebook
Saira – Beau Street Hoard Project Officer