Salisbury is a vibrant cathedral city, surrounded by the beautiful countryside and villages of South Wiltshire. In 2019 Salisbury was chosen by the Sunday Times Best Places To Live guide because it “remains a divinely attractive and welcoming place”. The challenges today are to maintain those attractive qualities whilst recovering from the Novichok incidents in 2018 and adapting to the current challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic whilst accommodating ongoing changes in population, lifestyle, and the economy.
Celebrating our Heritage, Enhancing our Environment, Shaping our Future
The Salisbury Civic Society, founded in 1960, works to promote high standards of contemporary design in all aspects of the built environment within Salisbury and South Wiltshire, whilst safeguarding the historic buildings and landscape setting underpinning the area’s special character.
We contribute actively in many areas and are represented on several groups including the Salisbury Conservation Advisory Panel. We maintain a good working relationship with Wiltshire Council, Salisbury City Council and Campaign to Protect Rural England. As a non-political organisation, the Society tries to maintain an independent stance on all matters.
To celebrate and commemorate the area’s rich heritage and cultural life
To enhance and protect the built environment and landscape setting of the area
To encourage and promote high standards of design, management and maintenance
To provide a stimulating programme of activities for our members
Through a series of awards, talks, forums, open meetings, visits and social media we promote and provide information on the architecture, history and geography of the area. Amongst the many activities of the Society we:
Monitor and constructively comment on planning applications and development proposals
Run an active and stimulating programme of events for members and the public
Maintain an online presence through our website, actively participate in social media and publish a quarterly magazine for members
Protect and celebrate the traditional chequer names
Run a prestigious Building Awards Scheme
Promote the economic vitality of the region
Organise the annual Salisbury Heritage Open Days and the Salisbury Blue Plaques programme
During recent years the Society’s achievements have included:
Blue Plaques – Since 1989, the Society has commissioned and erected Blue Plaques around the city, serving as historical markers commemorating a link between that location and a famous person or event. In September 2015 a Society blue plaque was unveiled to celebrate Salisbury’s role in the manufacture of Spitfire fighter planes during WWII. There was extensive local press coverage and filming for a forthcoming documentary of the event. The most recent plaque installed was to Dorothy Brooke, founder of the Brooke charity.
Heritage Open Days – Our annual Heritage Open Days provide the public with a unique opportunity to explore interesting (and often hidden!) places in Salisbury.
Salisbury in Detail – We researched and published the book Salisbury in Detail, celebrating the richness and variety of the individual bits that go to make up Salisbury’s buildings. Over 2,500 copies have been sold and it has been described as ‘A superbly illustrated study of the city’s architectural gems’ (Book review – The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings).
Annual Open Meeting – Our annual Open Meeting covers current issues, is open to all and free of charge. This year, in conjunction with the Salisbury Neighbourhood team and Wiltshire Creative, we hosted a webinar discussion. These extraordinary times have presented the Civic Society with surprising opportunities. Covid-19 is challenging the norms of how we live, work and plan for the future but has also provided opportunities to trial a different format for the annual autumn Open Meeting, to forge new partnerships, to potentially widen the audience, and to ‘virtually’ engage with experienced planning, design & developer practitioners which would not have been possible in the past.
Members of the panel included Andrea Pellegram, planning consultant to the City Council’s Neighbourhood Plan, designer Freidrich Ludewig of ACME international architects; developers David Dolman and Carwyn Davies Hacer Developments and their design team Andrew Nixon and Marta Lopez of Powell Dobson architects from south Wales, and Councillor Jeremy Nettle with his extensive knowledge and experience of Salisbury. We are also very grateful to Fiona Curtis and the Wiltshire Creative team for getting us all online. It was quite a steep learning curve and whilst it was not perfect, hopefully we will do better next time! Our particular thanks to Wiltshire Creative’s executive director, Sebastian Warrack who chaired the event and facilitated a lively discussion with the panel.
A New Sheep – For many years No 51 Salisbury High Street, just outside the High Street Gate into the Cathedral Close, housed the religious bookshop of the SPCK. Above the door into the shop stood a wooden sheep, though this had no religious connection. It dated from the shop’s former function, as an outlet for a firm called Stonehenge Woollen Industries. This had been founded in the early C20th as a semi-charitable organisation, aimed at regenerating the rural economy. Its woollen goods, many knitted at home by women working on a piecework basis, were successful enough for the company to have four other shops, all in London. Click on the following link to read more about the story of the sheep.