Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings
The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) is a British monument preservation organization . It was founded in 1877 by William Morris and is the oldest and largest British private monument protection organization. The company's founding manifesto under the motto “Conservation instead of restoration” is still influential for the preservation of monuments to this day.
The organization turned against the then customary monument protection and demanded a departure from the practice of restoring buildings as "true to the original" as possible. She criticized the previous fifty years of Victorian heritage preservation. The attention that the monuments would have received during this period would have contributed more to their destruction than the centuries before. The work of the restorers is destroying historical building material, putting history to a standstill and imposing the interpretation of a modern architect on a monument for all times. The entire surface of a building is being manipulated, the appearance of age disappears. The debate about restoration or protection, in which the SPAB played a prominent role, raged in England for several decades. The basic idea of the founding manifesto “Protect instead of restoration” has shaped the work of the SPAB to this day. The basic beliefs of the SPAB were also adopted in Germany towards the end of the 19th century, where attitudes and texts from the English were received.
The society still exists today and in 2007 had a total of 8,700 members. She publishes books, gives seminars and advises owners of protected buildings. According to UK heritage law, the Society must be notified if a protected building is to be demolished in whole or in part.
The organization awards the " Philip Webb Award" in an annual competition in which all students from the UK Schools of Architecture take part . Furthermore, the nine-month "Lethaby Scholarship" for early career architects, building surveyors and structural engineers. and the 6-month "Craft Fellowship" for qualified builders, reminiscent of William Morris .
- Andrea Donovan: William Morris and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings , Routledge, 2007 ISBN 9780415955959
- SPAB website
- Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) Timeline
- The manifesto of the SPAB was written by William Morris and other founder members and issued in 1877