The Salisbury Civic Society works to celebrate our city; promote high standards of contemporary design and conservation in all aspects of the built environment within Salisbury and South Wiltshire; and safeguard the historic buildings and landscape setting.
During recent years the Society’s achievements have included:
CELEBRATING OUR CITY
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.
Historic Open Days. Our annual Historic Open Days provide the public with a unique opportunity to explore and enjoy sometimes hidden and always interesting places in Salisbury. In 2015, over 200 visitors joined in the free tours and provided very positive feedback.
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).
Other Communications. In 2015 the Society has launched a new website, Twitter and Facebook pages, new displays and an information leaflet, with the aim of reaching an even wider public locally and continuing to expand its membership.
PROMOTING HIGH STANDARDS OF DESIGN and CONSERVATION
A Conservation Award winner
Building and Conservation Awards. We instituted a prestigious Annual Awards Scheme, promoting conservation of historic buildings and good modern design within the City and surrounding district. In 2014 there were 5 awards and 3 commendations made (the 2015 awards are pending).
Annual Open Meeting. Our annual Open Meeting is open to all and free of charge. Last year’s event “Making the most of our City: Public Art and Forgotten Corners” included presentations from the designers of the Granary Square fountains in London King’s Cross redevelopment, architectural student projects re-imagining use of the Salisbury Gasometer, and public art projects.
SAFEGUARDING THE HISTORIC BUILDINGS AND LANDSCAPE SETTING
Strategic and local planning for Salisbury. Members scrutinise planning applications in the city and district, and write to the planners with constructive feedback where appropriate. In recent years around 350 applications a year have been selected for closer examination, and around 40 letters a year have been submitted. The Society can also be consulted by developers on major proposals during the planning process.
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, the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge. 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.