Ralph Allen Yard, Combe Down, Bath

Conceptual design for the Bath Stone Mines Heritage Centre

The village of Combe Down, on Bath’s southern outskirts, goes around the city’s first major 18th century stone mines. City entrepreneur Ralph Allen used the newly constructed Avon Navigation to carry this stone to new markets far beyond the city. The necessary infilling of these mines in the early 21st century was a massive task, costing some £55m. It raised challenges of altering one of the best bat habitats in the region – and the loss of much historical evidence of the city’s stoneworking history. Nash Partnership was approached to work with the then English Partnerships to explore how this history could be suitably recorded and evidenced as a necessary legacy and an obligation of the mines’ stabilisation process planning permission.

The carrying out of these works proved a significant event in the life of the community over several years – one the centre also commemorates.