Trust Annual Report 1978

 

Twenty-one Years

 

The first meeting of the Winchester Preservation Trust took place on the 30th April, 1957, under the chairmanship of the late Dr Sybil Tremellen. It consisted of a small band of prominent Winchester citizens, alarmed at the direction at which the redevelopment of the city was heading. At that time over 500 houses were on the city's slum clearance programme, including listed buildings. The Trust's first major effort was an attempt to halt the demolition of three important buildings in Upper Brook Street, now the site of the central car park. These consisted of the Old Queens Head, and Nos 4 and 6a dating from the late 17th century, formerly known as Waldron House, once the home of mayors of Winchester. This attempt unfortunately failed, in spite of the fact that all the money was raised for their repair, including grants from the Historic Buildings Council and the Pilgrim Trust. This was not, however, a negative effort, because as a result of the wide publicity, a close and harmonious relationship was eventually established between the Trust and the city authorities. This, no doubt, followed a national pattern, as it is now recognised that the wholesale clearance of town centres is no solution to the housing problem. It is indeed harmful to historic cities such as Winchester, and against the principles of conservation.

 

In 1959 the Trust was again prominent in opposing the demolition of houses in Canon Street, and as a result, No 24 was purchased and restored, and eventually given to the Trust, by our first chairman, Dr Tremellen. This house is still owned by the Trust, and provides a valuable source of income.

 

Mention should also be made of our then president, the late Admiral Sir William Andrewes, who gave unfailing support and encouragement to our early endeavours.

 

The saving of St Peters Church, Chesil, and the handing over to the Winchester Amateur Dramatic Society, was perhaps the greatest achievement of the Trust in preservation. In 1965 a successful appeal was launched, and due to the great efforts of David Pare, our previous chairman and others, a large sum of money was raised. It is appropriate that the Trust's emblem incorporates the church as its dominant motif.

 

Starting as necessity as a preservation society, the Trust has over the years become truly a civic society, and was one of the first such societies to become affiliated to the Civic Trust which came into existence at much the same time. The Trust is now very much concerned with new development, and has four planning sub-committees, which meet regularly and examine all important planning applications. It is consulted by the City on all matters concerning conservation areas and listed buildings.

 

The Trust has, since 1971, taken an active interest in the proposed M3 motorway which, if constructed, will come very close to the city, and has taken part in both the main Inquiry and the side roads Inquiry. The Trust is also con¬cerned about the proposals to move the Itchen Navigation Canal.

 

Many and varied have been the activities of the Trust during its twenty one years of existence. There is space in this report to list only a few, but such matters as the Gas Council's proposals for underground gas storage at Chilcomb, Scheduling of buildings in the city, publication of the High Street booklet, and comments on the Town Centre Plan, should certainly be mentioned.

 

As for the future, the Trust has an ever increasing role to play particularly in conservation, and the protection of the environment. It is essential that young people should join the Trust and take part in its activities so that there can be a sense of continuity. Very much in the minds of the Com¬mittee is the need for a permanent Headquarters for the Trust. Also to maintain our high standard of lectures and educational facilities, and to increase our social activities so that there can be more opportunities for members of the Trust to participate.

 

Finally, an account of the first twenty one years of the existence of the Winchester Preservation Trust must include a mention of local government re-organisation of 1974. The Trust is very fortunate in having as President the then Mayor, Mrs Carpenter-Turner, who not only steered the city through this difficult period, but also increased the standing of the Trust with the new City Council.

 

1978 is the 21st Anniversary of the Winchester Preservation Trust. To mark the occasion, the Committee has arranged an Exhibition at the Public Library during the month of December, to publicise the work of the Trust over the last twenty one years.

 

During the year under review, we regretfully paid farewell to our Secretary, Mrs Barbara Utting, but have been very fortunate to secure the services of Mrs Gillian Graham, who has had so much to do with the M3 Inquiry.

The Trust also welcomes two new vice-presidents, Lady Enfield, who has already served on the Committee, and Sir Hugh Cason, who is well known to us all.

 

The Trust continues to take a keen interest in the work of the City and County Councils and has donated a tree which was planted with due ceremony by our President Mrs Barbara Carpenter-Turner JP at the new Sussex Street Subway. This co-incided with National Tree Week.

 

To further mark the 21st Anniversary year the Trust has adopted an emblem, which is the design of one of our Committee Members, Michael Morris ARIBA. This appears for the first time on the cover of the Annual Report. The central motif is a silhouette of St Peter Church Chesil, which the Trust was instrumental in restoring, and in the background is a tree indicating the Trust's interest in conservation, and the protection of the environment.

 

During the early part of the year, the Trust together with the Hampshire Field Club, and the Council for the Protection of Rural England participated in the Hampshire Treasure Survey, and undertook the recording of items of interest in the Winchester wards of Hyde and St John. We look forward to its publication in due course by the County Council.

 

On June 29th the Trust paid a visit to Merdon Castle, by kind permission of Mr Wilkie Cooper. It is hoped that more such visits to places of local interest can be arranged in the coming year.

 

The guided tours of the city by our President Mrs Barbara Carpenter-Turner continued to be very popular and well attended. These tours are invaluable to the Trust, as they are also a means of increasing our membership, and we are indeed grateful.

 

The Trust also paid two visits to 36 Middle Brook Street during the course of restoration, and is indebted to the architect Mr Charles Burford. A contributed article is printed in this report.