Corsham High Street project – an update

In the last issue it was reported that the Wiltshire Building Record [WBR] were intending to embark on an in depth survey of some of the houses in Corsham High Street, with a view to identifying their origins and usage throughout the ages.

Representatives of Corsham Civic Society [the society] met with WBR in September and their chair, Gerald Steer, proposed that the society lead the project and that WBR would provide as much help and guidance as possible, to bring the project to a satisfactory conclusion. On behalf of the society, I said that I thought the society would accept the challenge but the proposal would first need to be discussed by its executive committee. I also stated that any such involvement would need to be on the basis of no financial risk to the society. Given that the above points were formally agreed, it was proposed that one of the first steps would be to advertise for volunteers on the society website, in the Spotlight magazine and through other media.  WBR will also put forward some suggestions of likely candidates who may be interested eg those who took part in the recent Lacock Archive project, including a number of society members [Pat Whalley has agreed to co-ordinate volunteers].

I am pleased to be able to report that the society’s Chairman has confirmed the key points are agreed and so a start can now make be made on the project. Also, I’m pleased to report that Julian Orbach [editor, for the revised The Buildings of England, Wiltshire volume] has kindly agreed to be Hon. Chair saying, “Thank you for the offer and it would be an honour to accept ….” Concerning making a start, many thanks to Peter Tapscott for arranging the passing of £2500 from the former Corsham Area Heritage to the society for the CHSP.  Amongst the first steps envisaged are ~

  • as well as appearing in Spotlight, reports about the project will be placed in other local media asking for more volunteers to contact us, including any who would like to be members of the CHSP project committee: we already have some but we will need more [in the first instance please contact johnmaloney2003@aol.com]
  • an ad hoc society project committee exists composed of those society members who attended the meeting with WBR. Once we have had responses from volunteers and those who are interested being on the committee, all the above to meet to discuss the project and matters such as the scope, governance, insurance, Health & Safety etc.
  • following that, research to commence at WBR regarding the information available there about the buildings in the High Street which have been considered for potential inclusion.[Society members such as  Pat Whalley and Negley Harte will take a lead].
  • a meeting to be organised – perhaps at the Town Hall – to inform owners/occupiers about the project and sound them out about involvement, permissions etc. Also, to inquire whether any private house histories have been undertaken which could be made available
  • I have begun to scope out an outline of the project and will get back in contact with the HLF and inform them of recent developments and note that we intend a follow up application for a grant.

John Maloney

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