12th April, 7.30pm, Corsham Town Hall
The Corsham High Street Project [CHSP] has the potential to be one of the most interesting and significant projects ever to be undertaken in Corsham and soundings from owners of buildings on the High Street have resulted in enthusiastic responses. In the famous Pevsner Architectural Guides to the Buildings of England there is a volume on Wiltshire but Corsham is summarised in just a few pages although Sir Nicolaus Pevsner asserted that “Corsham has no match in Wiltshire for wealth of good houses and there are a few of really high merit”.
Surprisingly, a Chippenham volume of the Victoria County History [which would include Corsham] has not been undertaken and Corsham has been omitted from other surveys. There is currently no detailed survey of the historic buildings of Corsham and a study of those in the High Street would be a start in correcting that lack.
The main aim of the project is to record as many buildings as possible in the High Street – their architecture, fabric and building techniques – through photography, documentary research, sketches and surveyed drawings and archaeological investigation eg dendrochronological [tree ring] dating. The objectives are to produce records of individual buildings, an archive which will be curated at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre and, eventually, a publication which will be of interest and use to local people, schools, historical groups, Corsham Town Council etc.
The project is being promoted by the Corsham Civic Society in collaboration with Wiltshire Buildings Record who will provide advice, training and some specialist services. The involvement of local volunteers and their training is an important element of the project and we have had encouragement from the Heritage Lottery Fund [HLF] regarding submitting a grant application. Meanwhile, start-up funding is available through Corsham Civic Society. The project committee comprises local people who have expertise that the HLF recognises. The Honorary Chairman, Julian Orbach, is the editor of the forthcoming updated edition of the Wiltshire volume of the Buildings of England and Thomas Brakspear an architect [living in Pickwick Manor and the grandson of the famous Sir Brakspear, architect and archaeologist] has kindly agreed to be a patron.
Internal recording of buildings will be undertaken strictly as agreed beforehand with owners, such work will be supervised at all times: copies of insurance and H&S documentation [including Risk Assessment forms] will be provided. The aim is to record only internal features of historic significance: modern alterations and additions are not of interest and will not be noted. In every sense it is intended that such work is non-intrusive.
The CHSP committee will ensure that every owner taking part will be provided with a free illustrated copy of their building’s report and acknowledgement in the WSHC archives and the publication. A launch of the project has been arranged at Corsham Town Hall on 12th April at 7.30pm ~ everyone is invited and refreshments will be provided
On behalf of the Corsham High Street project committee,
John Maloney [Facilitator and Corsham Civic Society representative