Last edited 12 May 2024

Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) was formed in 1877 by William Morris, to help ensure that the restoration of buildings was undertaken sympathetically and appropriately, in particular to discourage the destructive restoration of medieval buildings that was being carried out by Victorian architects.

Currently, it is the largest and oldest pressure group fighting to save old buildings from decay, demolition and damage. It is a charity and has a small staff, but most of its work is undertaken by volunteers. It has 9,000 members, who support its work to help conserve the historic environment.

The Society is still run according to its 1877 manifesto. Its main purpose is to protect buildings that are old and interesting, ensuring that the nature of building restoration and repair is appropriate. It also undertakes research to help improve methods for implementing this policy and it provides education and advice services.

A series of courses and lectures are run by the Society for individual homeowners and professionals, and any member of the public can call the technical advice line to discuss queries with a member of the technical staff. It also campaigns on matters related to the protection of ancient buildings and publishes books, technical pamphlets and information sheets.

The society has a statutory role as advisor to local planning authorities. If any applications is made in Wales or England to demolish any part of a listed building the society must be notified. They are also informed by religious bodies with an ecclesiastical exemption, of certain proposals for listed places of worship.

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