Jacobs Wells Baths

Project Title

Jacobs Wells Baths

Project Dates

2016 - Ongoing

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In September 2016, Bristol City Council Property team approached our organisation Artspace Lifespace (Registered Charity Number 1168150) and offered us a temporary lease for the recently vacated Jacobs Wells Baths while exploring options for the buildings future.

Jacobs Wells Baths building provides a unique opportunity for Artspace Lifespace to develop the work we do as an organisation in providing Access, Space, Logistics and Support for a vibrant creative community in Bristol and beyond.

Thousands of commercial and industrial buildings are vacant and decaying in towns and cities all over the country. Many long-term empty properties stay that way for years, some even decades. We support place-based, creative problem solving that encourages the emergence of new spaces for participation, diversity, and experimentation in the community.

Artspace Lifespace is working to transform neighbourhoods. We make space accessible to a wide variety of creative influences serves to enrich and develop the multi cultural identity of any community.

Current projects include The Island, SPACE and  The Vestibules.

Our longest run and most successful project is The Island, Nelson street. The Island is based at the old Bridewell police station and operates artists studios, dance and circus space, a gallery and a theatre rehearsal space together with a small venue space.

Artspace Lifespace’s main vision is to create a welcoming and open space for the local community and to support creativity in Bristol with a new hub at Jacobs Wells Baths. The organisation is working closely with the local community and all interested groups and arts organisations in the City to curate a very exciting programme of events, ranging from exhibitions, dance workshops and performances, art workshops, small to medium scale theatre shows and community events.

Councillor Estella Tincknell, Deputy Mayor with responsibility for Culture, said: “This agreement with Artspace Lifespace will secure the building in the short term and breathe new life into this important community space. I am pleased that the focus for the future will be on creating an open space for the community to engage with local creatives and support a diverse programme of events and exhibitions.”

The main space has been used for dance and theatre rehearsals and performances as well as community events. The former Café area is the ‘Hub’ where artists and the local community can showcase work and share ideas.

Jacobs Wells Community Hub has been heavily involved in securing the future of the building and have organised various community activities in the old Baths. We want to see the building flourish as a multi-use building that encompasses a wide variety of arts, culture and leisure activities; ideally with community and dance at it’s core.’’  Heather Watts, Jacobs Wells Community Hub.

Artspace LIfespace encourage all dance and performance groups as well as local creative and community groups to get in touch and share their ideas and proposals for the best use of the space.

  • Artspace Lifespace (Reg Charity No: 1168150) have signed a licence to occupy the building and have taken over responsibility for the security of the property until September 2018, which can be terminated with one month’s notice from December 2017.
  • Artspace Lifespace (Reg Charity No: 1168150) are permitted to use the building for its dance, music, fitness, arts and community activities similar to those currently carried out at The Island (former Bridewell Police Station).
  • BCC is aware that the local community have expressed serious concerns over the future of the property and also about its current, dilapidated condition. By letting ArtspaceLifespace take control of the building, the council have secured the property from vandalism and unlawful occupation.
  • The council’s Arts Team and Property Team are jointly exploring options for future use of the building. Vivid Regeneration was commissioned by the Neighbourhood Partnership to help develop a long-term vision and forward plan for the building.

“I am looking forward to working with the local community and the vibrant and diverse dance and arts communities in Bristol to develop a robust and deliverable long term vision for the building.  It is a building with huge potential and presents an exciting challenge for the city and its many interested stakeholders”. Helen Bone, Vivid Regeneration. 

In partnership with Jacobs Wells Community Hub and Vivid Regeneration Artspace ran a number of community consultation days with the following themes: Community, Dance & Arts, History & Heritage, Family Fun. The deadline for all expressions of interest in the Community Asset Transfer process was 5pm on Monday 3 July 2017 and BCC hope to appoint a new tenant by January 2018.

If you would like further information regarding Jacobs Wells Baths, dance space, rehearsals, exhibition/space avails or if you would like to volunteer and be part of this very exciting project please contact:

Bookings/viewings: jacobswellsbaths@artspacelifespace.com

Kathryn Chiswell Jones, Company Manager:   kathryn@artspacelifespace.com

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