Homes & Gardens

Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings

Friendly, practical, and thoughtful, this site is filled with useful information.

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) was founded by William Morris in 1877 to combat the destructive 'restoration' of mediaeval buildings by over-enthusiastic Victorian architects. It is now an influential pressure group which saves important buildings from demolition, decay, and damage. Although many of their members are conservation practitioners, lots of their work is also carried out by sympathetic volunteers. SPAB offers advice on every aspect of repairing old buildings, promoting traditional materials and skills, modern technical issues, regulations, and materials.


Click on Events to find out about courses and lectures. Many of them are aimed at professionals, but there is a good selection of more general classes and talks. Of particular note is the Homeowners' Course, a two-day seminar held several times a year and in different parts of the country, which encourages sympathetic renovation and allows similarly-minded people to swap experiences and advice.

Publications & Advice gives details of their selection of Technical Pamphlets and Information Sheets, as well as other recommended reading. There is no facility to order online or by credit card over the phone – the cheque has to be in the post. The Society also runs an over-the-phone advisory service on weekday mornings. Look Before You Leap is a must-read feature, particularly if you are the kind of person who gets misty eyed at the sight of peeling plaster and rustic paintwork.

Membership costs from £10, and forms can be downloaded and opened using Adobe Acrobat. Members receive a quarterly newsletter, and have exclusive access to the Properties List of dilapidated buildings in need of a saviour. Their 13 Regional Groups meet regularly; find one near you.