Metro Mayor visits Jacobs Wells
Our plans to transform 19th-century public baths into a community arts venue are “incredibly exciting”, according to Metro Mayor Dan Norris, who commented during unique tour of the building, which has been closed to the public since 2018.
Jacob Wells in Hotwells was built in 1889 as a bathhouse for the poor until the 1970s, becoming a dance centre right up until 2016 - but has lain empty since then. With the backing of community stakeholders we have been on a mission to repair and restore the building.
Its restoration will "rebirth" an important part of the community's heritage, according to Mr Norris, who even heard how a natural spring runs in the building's grounds. During a behind the scenes tour of the building, that has been closed to the public for five years the mayor shared that "it’s really important locals have somewhere for things like doing art, making music and other activities so that we can really make a difference in the same way that this building has made a difference in the past. These plans are incredibly exciting.”
“I know how passionately local people feel about changing that, and saving the building for community use. Just as it was repurposed back in the 70s - from a bathhouse to a dance studio - with a bit of tender loving care, we can breathe life back into this historic space." - Dan Norris, Metro Mayor for the West of England
Bristol City’s Council's announced its decision to offer us a 35-year CAT lease earlier this year and are undertaking a detailed series of specialist surveys, funded by the Bristol-based Nisbet Trust and others, as well as undertaking emergency works to halt any further damage to the roof due to water ingress.
The momentum to restore Jacobs Wells saw a significant boost with the unveiling of a newly installed artwork on the front of the building as part of a Fundraiser to raise funds to repair and restore the Grade II listed former dance centre.
The artwork, a bespoke pen and ink drawing by Bristol-based artist Amy Hutchings, features words shared by members of the Hotwells community, gathered from a community consultation as part of our mission to restore and reopen the building.
The artwork features as a reward for the Jacobs Wells Fundraiser that the charity have launched on the Bristol based FundSurfer platform - click here to donate to the campaign.