The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB)
“What the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings has accomplished in its 135 years of existence is a major guiding example of how to protect heritage for future generations. The wide range of activities, ranging from training young people to acting as respected champions of heritage in danger, has made a strong impression on the Jury, which feels honoured to be able to grant due recognition to this highly respected Society. Not to have given recognition to its long term supreme achievement would have represented a major miss.”
Ever since the SPAB was founded by William Morris in 1877, its gift to the world of old buildings has been its ready willingness to help their owners with positive and hands-on practical advice and encouragement on heritage management and care.
For 50 years the SPAB was the sole national voluntary body campaigning for the built heritage. From 1895 onwards, it worked closely with the National Trust, shaping its policy on the repair of its historic buildings. The Society promoted the first heritage laws through Parliament, and its philosophy still underlies official heritage policies.
The SPAB’s activities have ranged from the training of young architects and craftsmen, and their continuing guidance through mid-career courses and lectures, to the fearless championing of buildings in danger of mistreatment or loss. Detailed technical guidance is published, and the Society’s excellent journal has become a public leader in its field.
Its influence on heritage policy and practice has been profound. Thousands of historic buildings have escaped demolition or damage as a result.