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Conservation Awards and New Year Party

Around 150 people attended the Salisbury Civic Society Conservation Awards and New Year party at Salisbury Arts Centre on Thursday 17th January 2018. The conservation awards party is a highlight event in the Society’s calendar, promoting high standards of conservation in all aspects of the built environment within Salisbury and South Wiltshire, the geographical area covered by the Society. The judging panel, which was chaired by noted archaeologist Phil Harding, and also included Hayley Clark, David Gregory and Barrie Sinclair-Kemp, considered eleven nominations. Of these five were within Salisbury, and six were outside the city within South Wiltshire (Bishopstone, Wilton, West Grimstead, Netton in the Woodford Valley, and two at Downton,). After considerable discussion, and site visits to short-listed candidates, the judges decided that seven deserved recognition, giving five Awards, including the Lady Radnor Award for the most outstanding new project, and two Commendations.

Details as follows: (no particular order in awards or commendations categories):


 Lady Radnor Award

Extension to Cabbage Cottage, Netton

Cabbage Cottage is an attractive small listed thatched cottage in the Woodford Valley. A new extension which sought to match the original building would clearly not have worked, and the modern approach chosen, with timber cladding and a barrel roof in copper, was deemed to be just the right choice by the judges. High quality design and execution had seen the scheme through to an outstandingly successful conclusion, with the copper roof a particular feature, executed with great skill. The judges felt that the whole project was an object lesson in how to add successfully to a listed building. It was given the Lady Radnor Award, as the most outstanding of all this year’s award winners.

Conservation Award

Francis Church Extension, Salisbury

 St Francis is a church on Castle Road, notable for its non-Gothic appearance, and prominently located. A need for additional space had led to an extension on the very visible south side of the building, designed not to jar in any way. Bricks extremely similar to the original ones had been found, and laid with great care, to create a seamless effect. The extension makes the church much more welcoming, with windows where previously there had been none, and the new interior had been well fitted-out. Overall the church had been greatly enhanced by the work.

 St John’s Place, Lower Bemerton

 St John’s church in Lower Bemerton was clearly a building of architectural merit, which deserved to be retained once it was deemed to be redundant. Conversion of the nave to a community venue, with associated use by the school just over the road, had clearly been the sort of solution the church needed, and it had been carried out with commitment and due attention to detail. The chancel remains available for services, and the contrast between its decoration, and the simple uncluttered feel of the nave is very effective. The fact that the whole project had only been achieved with a great deal of community involvement further added to its merits.

The Sawmill Bridge, Wilton House

The early C19th stone Sawmill Bridge had been sorely treated at some point, with a 6′ high wall built along the carriage way over it. This left a pedestrian way on the east side, where the parapet had been replaced by a metal fence. Recent work has reversed this process, with the bridge reinstated to its original form, and various later changes and additions put right. New stonework, and repairs to the existing, had been carried out with great skill. The opportunity had been taken to look at and improve all aspects of the structure and its surroundings, and the bridge is now a worthy adjunct to the splendid architecture of Wilton House.

The King’s Arms, Downton

Downton still has three other pubs surviving, and conversion of the former King’s Arms to two houses seemed reasonable in itself. Its historic fabric needed to be well treated in the process, and this had certainly been achieved. All signs of pub use had been carefully removed, and surviving features treated with great respect, to create domestic interiors which would clearly be a pleasure to live in. The outcome was a pair of houses which made excellent use of the historic building, and represented another interesting phase in its story.


New Classrooms and Hall Extension at Downton CE Primary School

 Responding to ever-increasing pressures on space, this further extension to a late Victorian core was seen as a sensible continuation of the now-established approach, which uses mainly low-key vernacular materials, in keeping with the overall feel of the village. The judges’ main focus was on the interiors, where new facilities had been designed with a keen eye for the needs of young children. The general impression was that a calming and supporting environment had been created, which would be beneficial to all. The overall impression was of a very worthwhile project, designed and carried out with great care.


The Marsh Chequer Community Art Project, Salisbury

 A former antique shop, on the corner of Brown Street and Trinity Street, had closed and been converted to a house, leaving the former shop fascias in place. The owners had decided to take these now unused boards as an opportunity to mark and celebrate the Marsh chequer, on which the building is located, and which is the only example of a city chequer which survives intact. A competition was held, and the winning artist came up with a splendid mix of features representing aspects of the chequer’s long history, assembled and painted with great skill. Making everyone aware of the city chequers is something the Civic Society feels is very important, and this project had achieved this very well.