The Great Spa Towns of Europe: Bath’s Newest World Heritage Inscription


Few can be left in the dark by now about Bath’s receipt of UNESCO World Heritage Status for the second time. The restoration of Bath as a Spa City was the key ingredient in the receipt of the award, which could not come at a more welcome time, as Bath, like other cities across the globe, recovers from the economic devastation which is an inevitable consequence of the global pandemic.

But how did the UNESCO World Heritage group of Great Spa Towns of Europe come about? Which are the other ten towns and why are they included? Why is the new Inscription important to Bath and why is Bath seen as a leader in the Inscription? You can find out more by booking for our talk on Wednesday 13th October at 7.30pm.

The award recognizes the part the Thermae Bath Spa plays in Bath’s much needed economic recovery (bringing in £12 million a year and much fun besides) and Bath is only one among 11 towns in the Great Spa Towns of Europe Project to have World Heritage Status.  The Great Spa Towns of Europe Project gives recognition to the fact that historic spa towns have historically brought dividends both economically and socially.

Professor Barry Gilbertson, Tony Crouch and Paul Simons will be with you on the night to discuss the project; but who are this trinity of Bath bigwigs and what exactly has been their involvement in the project? Let’s find out!

Professor Barry Gilbertson is the pro bono Independent Chair (appointed 2017) of The City of Bath UNESCO World Heritage Site. Barry’s professional career as a Chartered Surveyor has included being the 123rd President of The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and being recently declared as ‘one of the 65 Greatest Chartered Surveyors of all time’; also a Partner at PriceWaterhouseCoopers; Adviser to the Bank of England; Non-Executive Independent Chair and/or Director at five publicly quoted companies in Austria, Canada, and UK. He is the author of two university texts on Valuation and on Design Economics. Barry is a Visiting Professor at two UK Universities and has spoken or lectured at 23 universities around the world and at 12 global events for the United Nations and others. A former Trustee (and volunteer guide) at Bath Preservation Trust, former Governor and member of the Council of the University of Bath, and current Chair of Bath’s Upper Town Residents Associations.

Tony Crouch is the City of Bath World Heritage Site Manager, employed by Bath & North East Somerset Council in this role since 2009. A chartered town planner and building conservator, he is responsible for providing an interface between Bath, UNESCO, and the UK Government, ensuring that we do all that is needed to maintain and benefit from World Heritage Status. Tony is also the Chair of World Heritage UK, the charitable organisation representing all 33 of the UK’s sites. Working alongside Paul Simons, Tony has been involved in the Great Spas project for over a decade.

Paul Simons has spent over four decades working in heritage management and tourism. He was Executive Director of Bath Tourism from 1994 and then seconded as Project Director of Thermae Bath Spa in 1998. Since 2003 he has been in consultancy and is currently the Chair of the Scientific Committee of the European Historic Thermal Towns Association, one of the Council of Europe’s Cultural Routes; since 2013 he has been the Secretary General of the Great Spa Towns of Europe, newly inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Paul is Chair of the Cleveland Pools Trust, serves on the Bath World Heritage Advisory Board, chaired by Barry, and was recently appointed as Vice-Chair of the Advisory Board.

Join us on the night and have your chance during our Q&A to put forward your views and perhaps thanks to three key players in the UNESCO World Heritage Award for Bath.



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