The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) believes old buildings have a future. From cottages to castles and from churches to cathedrals SPAB exists to help buildings and the people who care for them. Through their unique training schemes, courses, advice and research they help people put our expertise into practice.

Founded by William Morris in 1877, the SPAB was established in response to the work of Victorian architects whose enthusiasm for harmful restoration caused irreparable damage. Today the SPAB encourages excellence in new design to enrich and complement the built historic environment. They train new generations of architectural professionals and building craftspeople to shape this landscape with sensitivity and skill, and play a statutory role as adviser to local planning authorities. In their casework they campaign actively to protect old buildings at risk.

The SPAB Manifesto of 1877 continues to guide the Society’s overall purpose and sets out a distinctive SPAB Approach to building conservation. The Vision, Mission and Values of current strategy indicate ways in which the Society should pursue its aims in the 21st century to maintain its relevance and authority.


  • That old buildings are understood, cared for and appreciated today, and protected for future generations.


  • Protecting old buildings for everyone.
  • Championing the SPAB Approach through all activities.
  • Promoting environmental sustainability and the positive contribution building conservation and maintenance make to it.
  • Encouraging building crafts and practical participation for the benefit of old buildings and for people’s wellbeing.


  • That buildings should be valued for their entire history, recognising understanding and respecting change.
  • That the authenticity of fabric, as a true record of the past, is best respected by regular maintenance and skilled conservative repair.
  • That changes and additions, where essential, should contribute positively to a building’s interest and story.
  • That people and the buildings they construct are a conduit for knowledge across generations.
  • That knowledge of the SPAB Approach and of the good conservation practice it encourages, should be available as widely as possible.
  • That decisions about old buildings should take a long-term view.

For us at AS Archaeology and Heritage Services the SPAB provides a valuable resource for our heritage work. Whether it is information, training courses, access to specialists to advise on those sometimes unusual aspects of heritage work or for those sometimes challenging moments the SPAB is there to assist. We are proud to be Corporate Partners.