Ralph Allen CornerStone

Discover the stories of Combe Down Stone, the material from which the Georgian City of Bath was built and Ralph Allen, the man behind the enterprise. Both are brought to life in the Ralph Allen CornerStone, a dedicated, vibrant community hub and information centre on the site where it all began.

Ralph Allen CornerStone has been designed to complete the legacy of the Combe Down Stone Mines Stabilisation Project and ensure that the history of the Combe Down stone is fully presented. Its functions fall into three main sections:


The stone quarrying heritage lives on through the village and is illustrated through lively digital presentations together with tools and other artefacts retrieved from the mines.


Inspirational interactive educational material continues to be developed and added to by teachers and students and other specialists in fields such as transport, engineering and conservation.


The CornerStone offers a beautiful space well equipped for individual and group study as well as being suited to exhibitions, meetings, classes and film shows.

Opening times

The CornerStone will be closed to visitors until April 2nd. This will be for necessary reorganisation and enrichment of the displays to improve the visitor experience. However, it will still be available for pre-booked group visits and for hire using the contact details below.

The CornerStone is accessible by wheelchair users and has a disabled toilet.

Entrance is free

A small number of books and pamphlets is available for sale. Refreshments are available at local pubs and a quality tea room.


Volunteers always welcome to help our visitors get the most out of the centre.

Can you spare three hours morning or afternoon on Saturday or Sunday? It can be weekly, fortnightly or monthly.

You will always be with at least one other volunteer and be given all necessary training and support. Pop in one weekend for more details or email Jen Morgan for any further information.

Private hire

With seating for 40 people the venue is available for community and corporate hire.

Prices around £10 per hour depending on length of hire.

Please email info@ralphallencornerstone.org.uk for details.

Please help

We are a registered charity and appreciate the generous giving that enables us to continue our work. You can make a donation - however small, all are welcome - via CharityCheckout.  

about Charity Checkout

New Opening Hours

Sunday and Monday 10.00 - 16.00
Also available for visits by appointment.
E: info@ralphallencornerstone.org.uk
T: 01225 837439 and leave a message

Tonight: 'Before the Flood'
Climate change film

June 22 18.30

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio meets with scientists, activists and world leaders to discuss the dangers of climate change and possible solutions.

Eastern Voices in the West Country

June 11 - July 14

This fascinating exhibition looks into the previously unexplored history of immigrants of Chinese origin in Bath including; why they chose Bath, the things they brought with them and what they thought of the food!

A 25-minute video of the personal reflections of the participants accompanies the display.
The exhibition is based on an oral history project completed by the Museum of East Asian Art, supported by Bath & North East Somerset’s Performance Reward Grant.

Eastern Voices in the West Country

July 11 15.30 – 16.30
FREE Children’s workshop (5-10yrs) exploring what special items they would take with them when moving to another country.
4 stories and activities accompany an unopened suitcase!

Booking advised. Contact details as above.

Made in Combe Down

Saturday July 1 10.00 - 16.00
1st Saturday every month

Local artists and artisans work for sale including:

Cards, bangles
Picture frames
Paper engineering
Jams & chutneys
Felt animals in kit form, sock cats and small lollipop cakes for kids
Dog blankets, coats & jumpers
and more

For more details contact Rosemary
T: 01225 833301
E: rosyprint12@gmail.com

Combe Down Exploring Art Group

Meets 1st Tuesday in the month

Next meeting on
Tuesday July 4 from 14.00 - 16.00
Run by Rosemary Simmons
All levels welcome whether you are just starting to draw and paint or have a bit more experience
No fees just a small donation towards hire of the room

For more details contact Rosemary
T: 01225 833301
E: rosyprint12@gmail.com

Kathy Pearce Sewing Classes

Thursdays. New course June 8 - June 22 and July 13 - July 27
NB June 22 morning only - evening session moved to June 21

Mornings 10.00 - 12.00 or
Evenings 19.00 - 21.00
Cost £55 for 6 weeks

Courses cover:
- basic machine and hand stitching.
- using a commercial pattern.
- cutting out, tacking and tting
- how to create darts, insert zips and make waistbands.
-finishing seams and hems.

You can bring along your own projects
and sewing machines.
There will be some machines for you to use.
You could also make soft furnishings or
other textile products using a range of
creative techniques.

For more details contact Kathy Pearce:
T: 01225 833317
M: 0750 555 8318
E: cornerstonecraft@gmail.com

Catherine Beale Watercolour Workshops

Wednesday Watercolour Workshop,
October 13
10.30 - 15.00
£80 per day includes refreshments and lunch

Gift vouchers available

Contact Catherine for workshop plan and booking form
M: 07891 409490
E: catherine@catherinebeale.com

Combe Down Heritage Society Guided Walks

Wednesday June 21 10.30

Meet outside No 1, Royal Crescent

Chronicles of the  Royal Crescent  : If Walls Could Talk

Students at  Bath   Spa   University  have investigated the lives of various residents of the  Royal Crescent  over the years. Hear stories of the rich, beautiful and famous who have lived in these elegant Georgian town houses, including some who were decidedly eccentric. And before them it was the Romans …

Tuesday June 27 14.00 - 16.00 approx.

Meet at the entrance to the sewage farm!   
Satnav : BS39 6JU

The  Somerset Coal Canal at Paulton

Opened in 1805 to access the  North Somerset  coalfield, this 10 mile long canal became one of the most profitable in the country over its 100 year life. We will be visiting the end of the canal to see Paulton Basin, where restoration of the largest canal dry dock in the country and the Paulton Brass and Iron Foundry (opened 1807) are underway, and walking along a recently excavated length of the canal passing various colliery wharves towards Radford.

Walking is relatively flat and easy, max distance 3 miles; stout footwear required together with suitable weatherproofing. Lifts from Combe Down on request

Leaving  Bath  on the A367 at Odd Down P&R, then B3115, and follow signs to Paulton. Entering Paulton down a hill amongst trees, take the first right after the houses on to Bristol Rd. Sewage farm is a turning on the right just before a bridge after half a mile. Park by gates as shown on map or in layby over the bridge. 
Come along, cost £5, pay on the day

Remainder of Stone Mines Commemorative Plates now for sale!

A commemorative plates installation was commissioned to mark the completion of the stabilisation of Combe Down Stone Mines.  Each household living over the mines was offered a ceramic plate representing the mined underworld beneath their house. Each patterned plate can be linked to an address.

Surrounding the patterned mine plates are simple lined plates which complete the display wall. Some groups of lined plates depict an animal for a wall display or just to wow your guests!
See Facebook for photos

Of the single print run there are a number of duplicates remaining and these are available for sale.

Patterned Plates - £10 ea
Lined plates - £5 ea, £21 for 6 or £24 for 7

Contact Jen Morgan
E: info@ralphallencornerstone.org.uk
T: 01225 837439 & leave a message and phone number


The Combe Down stone quarries have all but vanished following the stabilisation project. All there is now, just visible in the grass of Firs Field, is a stone circle marking the site of a protective light shaft wall that was removed sometime around 1950.

A project to excavate and restore this stone circle has been initiated.

If you would like to be part of the excavation team, the very first stage in this project scheduled for this summer, please sign up to our Newsletter by sending us your name, contact phone number and email address to


Experience is not necessary; there will be experts on hand to advise and collate whatever we uncover.

Do come and join in, or come and watch the excavation progress.

For more background on the heritage of Combe Down contact:
Combe Down Heritage Society       


For more details on the Film Club contact:

Val Lyon
E: val@vallyon.com
M: 07774 113778



The Ralph Allen Stone Quarries Trail

The Ralph Allen Stone Quarries Trail on Combe Down takes you on a tour round all the sites in the village that were important in Ralph Allen’s day. It starts at the Ralph Allen CornerStone, which sits at the top of the face of the original Jones' Quarry at the point where a crane was used to haul stone up and onto a carriage prior to being transported down into the city on the famous railway. From here the trail takes you on the route of the railway, past other key quarry sites and also the workers’ houses and the building that was the Carriage Inn.

Leaflets describing the new trail have been published by the Combe Down Heritage Society and can be purchased at The Darling Deli, Aquarius Estate Agents and Combe Down News - all at the south end of The Avenue.

In the Footsteps of Ralph Allen - is a cross-Bath trail that brings the story of Bath’s Georgian hero alive by joining up the five museums that each have a part of his history to tell.



View Ralph Allen CornerStone in a larger map


How to find us

Combe Down is about a mile south of Bath along Ralph Allen Drive passing the National Trust Prior Park Landscape Garden. Street parking is available throughout Combe Down. The no 2 First Group bus from Bath bus station stops about 20m from the centre.


Ralph Allen CornerStone
54a Combe Rd
Bath BA2 5HZ

01225 837439


CornerStone logo

Our logo represents a lewis - a tool used by stonemasons since Roman times. It was inserted into blocks of stone, so that the stone could then be lifted by means of a crane.

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