Salisbury Cathedral Close Preservation Society


Bulletin # 31, September 2008

Letter from the Chairman

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This late summer bulletin again consists of the draft minutes of the AGM 2007/08, held on Monday, 28 April 2008, together with this letter from me reporting briefly on developments since then. 

Conservation Plan for the Cathedral and Close

            In a succession of bulletins, I have explained that we have been awaiting publication of the Master Plan and the Strategic Plan, in order to find out what effect propositions in them may have on The Close.  Recently, we have been assured that the Plans are almost complete.  Some important information on them has been released in a report by the Chapter Clerk entitled ‘2007-08 Further Progress Towards Our Vision’.  This has confirmed that The Major Repair Programme remains the highest priority, but that strategic planning of the following projects is also being pursued: 

  • Improvement of the visitor welcome experience.
  • Improvement of the facilities available to the Education Department.
  • Improvement of the interpretation of the Cathedral and the presentation of Magna Carta.
  • Opening up access to the southern side of the Cathedral.
  • Continuation with the programme of reordering of the interior (started with the installation of the new font).
  • Improvement of facilities for the shop and refectory restaurant.

All these potentially have implications, to a greater or lesser extent, for The Close and we await, with great interest, the definition of specific projects.  In the report, the Chapter Clerk states, ‘The prerequisite for all of these projects is ample funding.  It is hoped that a full-time Development Director will be in place in the late summer to start work.’  We understand that a Business Plan should emerge to go alongside the Master Plan and the Strategic Plan, and so make possible a programme of projects with costs and priorities.  Although understandable, it is of course frustrating that only outline information is as yet available.  Even though the final shape of some of the individual projects may take some years to develop, it is clear that many could be of great significance to The Close.  The Preservation Society will need to watch the situation closely to ensure that the projects enhance and do not damage its unique quality and atmosphere.  That is our fundamental ongoing task. 

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Presentation to a Meeting of the Cathedral Council

            The minutes of the AGM record that I had been invited to attend the presentation to the members of the Cathedral Council in June.  I duly attended, and the occasion provided useful information on the Chapter’s thinking on a range of subjects, including the Master and Strategic Plans on which I have commented above.  The opportunity to attend this event is much appreciated.


Trial of One-Way Traffic in The Close

            For many years, the Society has been involved in studying problems relating to traffic in The Close.  It has carried out a number of surveys and made the results available to the Cathedral authorities.   

            The latter have recently introduced a scheme designed to improve the flow of traffic during the peak periods that occur when children are being brought to school by car in the morning and taken home in the afternoon.  The essence of the scheme is that, during these periods, all cars should leave The Close through the Harnham Gate.  Unfortunately, the scheme was announced only a few days before it started, so the Society had no opportunity to comment on it in advance.  

            Some years ago, we found it necessary to oppose a different scheme, which was based on controlling two-way traffic at the Harnham Gate by means of traffic lights.  I have written to the Chapter Clerk drawing attention to our findings then, some of which may be relevant, even thought the current scheme is different.


Co-option of a Member to the Society’s Committee

            At the most recent meeting of the Society’s Committee, it was agreed to invite Mrs Anne Moynihan, a resident in The Close, to join the Committee as a co-opted member;  she will be put forward for formal election at the next AGM.  I am pleased to report that Mrs Moynihan has accepted the invitation.

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The Annual Lecture

            As already stated in the draft minutes, I should like to remind you that the Society’s Annual Lecture will be held in the Lecture Theatre in the Salisbury & South Wilts. Museum, 65 The Close, at 6.30 pm on Monday, 10 November, at 6.30 pm.  The subject will be Opening the Doors of ‘Arundells’ – home of Sir Edward Heath.  The lecture will be given by Stuart Craven, who worked for Sir Edward for many years and has recently been in charge of the arrangements for successfully opening Arundells to the public.

Tickets cost £5 and an order form is attached.  There may be some tickets available at the door, but the lectures have proved popular and, to be certain of admission, it is advisable to book in advance as the capacity of the Lecture Theatre is limited.  I repeat that I hope many members will be there and bring their friends.

Request from the Treasurer and Membership Secretary

            Chris Dragonetti has asked for the help of members on the following points:

  • If we show an incorrect or incomplete address for you please advise him.

  • If you have not yet paid your subscription for 2008 please send him a cheque in favour of SCCPS for £3 (for an individual membership) or £5 (for a joint membership).

  • If you would like in future to pay by Standing Order, please contact him.

  • If you are a tax payer and have not completed a Gift Aid declaration, it will help the Society if you do – please contact him at:

Chris Dragonetti
9 De Vaux Place
Tel: 01722 337242

E mail: 

Yours sincerely, 

Sir Robin Ibbs
Chairman, SCCPS


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Ceiling detail of Salisbury Museum
Lecture Hall