Petition to The Revd Prebendary Edward Mason
Save Bath Abbey's exceptional Victorian interior!
Please join The Victorian Society’s campaign to urge Bath Abbey to reconsider permanently removing the beautiful Victorian pews from the Abbey nave. Bath Abbey, one of the wealthiest parish churches in the country, has secured Heritage Lottery Funding of £12.1 million to fund refurbishments that involve the removal of Victorian pews designed by famous architect Sir George Gilbert Scott. Meanwhile, hundreds of other historic churches are on Historic England’s ‘At Risk’ register with their futures in jeopardy due to lack of funds for essential repairs. The Victorian Society believes removing these historic pews is unnecessary and would have an extremely detrimental effect on the architectural and historical significance of this important religious building. The Church of England is exempt from the requirement to obtain listed building consent and its parallel consent system is difficult to understand and largely unknown to the public. Therefore, we ask you to sign our petition to urge Bath Abbey to halt their destructive scheme. Scott’s restoration scheme was a major phase of the Abbey's development and has great historical and aesthetic importance; there is no doubt breaking it up would harm the Abbey's significance. Bath Abbey justifies its plans with its desire for a more flexible style of worship, but we believe the negligible benefits of removing these historic pews in no way justifies the substantial harm it would cause to one of Britain’s most important historical building. Daily Mail columnist, author and local Bath resident Bel Mooney agrees: “I believe that people in the future will look back and decry the early 21st century fad for ripping out church pews and replacing them with expensive modern chairs which do nothing to enhance the building, and (when not needed for some reason) have to be stacked in ugly towers. What is this for? The Abbey has worked beautifully (for concerts as well as worship) since the Scott pews were installed and will continue to do so when common sense, aesthetics and economics prevail to retain them.”