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Heritage Open Days

The 2019 Heritage Open Days in Salisbury this year take place from 13th to 22nd September.  There are a number of events, a visit the Harnham Water Meadows, a tour of the famous Haunch of Venison pub, a tour of the Odeon Cinema and access to the historic Wilton Council Chambers.  All events have been joint with other organisations: CAMRA, the Harnham Water Meadows Trust, the Odeon, and Wilton Town  Council respectively, all HODS events are for the general public and SCS members alike. For details of all events see below:

1.  Tours of the Haunch of Venison Pub, Salisbury

Haunch of Venison, 1 Minster Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP1 1TB,

Tours of the Haunch of Venison are now fully booked.  We hope to offer tours again in 2020

Organised by: Salisbury Civic Society and the Salisbury & S Wilts branch Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA)

2.  Harnham Water Meadows

Rose Cottage, Town Path, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP2 8EU

Friday 13 September: 10.30am – 12 Noon

Join Dr Hadrian Cook for a guided visit to the 17th century Harnham Water Meadows to learn about the historic operation, and economic and conservation interests of the Water Meadows.

This is an opportunity to walk on the meadows, learn about their operation and gain great views of Salisbury Cathedral.  Followed by a drink in the Old Mill Hotel for those who would like to do so.

The Harnham Water Meadows Trust who manage the meadows would appreciate a voluntary donation.

No booking required

Access: Ground is uneven and there may be water in the channels. It is advisable to wear suitable/sensible shoes. Unfortunately, there is no disabled access.

Additional Information: Max 100 people per tour/session. Contact for the day: Hadrian- 07947 037358

Directions: Meet at The Old Mill Hotel, Harnham (http://www.oldmillhotelsalisbury.co.uk/). The postcode is SP2 8EU with on-street parking possible in Lower Street and Middle Street, West Harnham.

Organised by Salisbury Civic Society and the Harnham Water Meadows Trust

3.  Tour of the Odeon Cinema

This event is now fully booked, we hope to to offer a tour of the Odeon Cinema again in 2020

Organised by Salisbury Civic Society and The Odeon, Salisbury

4. Wilton Town Council Chambers

10am-4pm Friday 20th September
Council Office, Kingsbury Square, Wilton, Wiltshire SP2 0BA

Wilton Town Council is delighted to provide access to its Council Chambers for National Heritage Open Days 2019 in collaboration with Salisbury Civic Society.
A portrait by Rex Whistler of Wilton’s first female Mayor, Edith Olivier MBE; medieval town charters; royal portraits, and a fifteenth-century chest are just some of the treasures housed in this beautiful building. The history of the Chambers themselves are just as rich, and include use as: a Wesleyan Methodist chapel; the home of the Wilton Total Abstinence Society; a canteen for troops during World War I, and a Masonic temple. Come along and see this fascinating part of Wiltshire’s history for yourself! Information will be provided on site, and volunteers will be available to provide assistance.

The Chambers will be open to the public – this is a free event and there is no need to pre-book – just turn up anytime between 10.00am – 2.00pm on the day.
Accessibility: The Chambers are up some stairs (first floor), but are wheelchair accessible (via a wheelchair stair lift).
There is free parking locally – all day at South Street Car Park (next to Michael Herbert Hall), and for 2 hours in the Market Square and opposite the health centre (both located next to the Greyhound Inn). The Chambers are located on the east side of Kingsbury Square, Wilton.

Organised by Salisbury Civic Society in conjunction with Wilton Town Council.


Please note:  We’ve just heard that there’s been a change of plan with this event, which we publicised at the end of last month. Rather than being open from 10am to 4pm, the chambers will in fact be open from 10am to 2pm. At 2pm there will be a lecture there, organised by the Wilton U3A. The speaker will be Andy Rhind-Tutt, and his talk will be on ‘Blick Mead: The Discovery of the cradle of Stonehenge.’ This will be open to all, and free of charge. Rebecca Lyons of the Wilton History Festival apologises for any inconvenience caused.





Salisbury Civic Society and the Salisbury and South Wilts branch of the Campaign for Real Ale
(CAMRA) collaborated on a very successful “Salisbury’s Historic Pubs and Inns” themed programme
for the Heritage Open Days during September 2017.

Starting the programme of public events was local archaeologist, Time Team member, and beer
lover Phil Harding. He unveiled a Salisbury Civic Society Blue Plaque dedicated to Agnes Bottenham
outside the Rai D’Or pub and restaurant on Brown Street. The plaque reads “Here dwelt Agnes
Bottenham Landlady of the Rydedorre who founded Trinity Hospital for the poor c 1370”.

Other co-organised free events in the programme included:
 tours of the Haunch of Venison in Salisbury, the only Salisbury pub on the CAMRA list of
historic pub interiors, and its “Churchill Bar” normally closed to the public;
 tours of the former Three Crowns Inn at Harnham, which has Civic Society award winning
restorations of its stunning C18th plasterwork;
 a Salisbury historic pubs walk led by Ed Garman, author of the recent book on “The Public
Houses and Inns of Salisbury: a History”. The Ox Row Inn and Boston Tea Party (formerly
the George Inn) kindly permitted photography for the tours and the Cloisters and Queens
Arms access for the tour groups;
 an exhibition of Salisbury pubs and inns in Salisbury Public Library displaying drawings by
local artist Fred Fieber and photographs by Mike Woolf;
 displays for the 30 th anniversary of Hop Back brewery at the Wyndham Arms, where its
beers were first brewed and the brewery founded; and
 a lecture on Romano-British Beer at Salisbury Rugby Club by Alison Freezer (company
secretary at Hop Back Brewery).

The pre-booked tours filled up quickly and there has been very good coverage of the events in
local press and social media. Hopefully all the events and publicity has helped raise the profile of
Salisbury’s many atmospheric pubs and inns and their contribution to the history and
architecture of the city.



The Civic Society Historic Open days took place over three days 10,11,12 September 2015. The focus was to the west of the city centre, the theme being ‘Go West- Award Winners and Hospitals’.

Around 200 people in total enjoyed the visits and the weather was kind to us. Working outward from the city centre; Pembroke House, part of the former Salisbury Infirmary. was open on Friday and Saturday and proved very popular. The residents had put together a display of the site through the years – not just in its days as an infirmary but also before the infirmary itself was built. Delicious home made cakes were available to purchase.

At St. Paul’s roundabout, both the church extension and the SP2 community building were open in the afternoons. Moving westwards to Wilton Road, a number of buildings which were either part of, or on the site of, the Old Manor Hospital were open. The Quaker Meeting House was open in the afternoons and the Quakers arranged a very interesting talk by Roger Harrison about the building in its hospital days but also about how attitudes and ideas about mental health had changed over the years.

The Salisbury Medical Practice incorporates the former ballroom of the Old Manor and a blue badge guide and a member of staff led groups on Thursday and Friday around a modern purpose built medical facility but giving a flavour of its rather different medical past.

Opposite, No. 4 The Paragon, a private house, was open to the public each day, which for many was the highlight of the event in seeing how an early Victorian house could be rescued from dilapidation and institutional use and restored to residential use once again. Many thanks to Nick Ludlow for generously opening his house to the public. Blue badge guides led this tour following on from a visit to Salisbury Manor Care Home. This also incorporated the shell of a building from the Old Manor days, but having been rebuilt and considerably extended to form a bright modern care home.

Finally, The Foyer, a modern building providing supported living accommodation for young people on the site of the former Orchard House of the Old Manor was open on Thursday and Friday where staff were on hand to explain about the purpose of the building and it’s energy saving features.

Feedback from participants in the event has been very positive. Many thanks to the blue badge guides: Margaret, Shirley and Kathy, and also to the owners, residents and staff of the ‘open’ buildings.