SPAB Archive

Since its foundation in 1877 the SPAB has amassed a substantial archive of documents and images relating to the Society and its work.  The majority of material in this unique collection was generated through casework and campaigning, but the archive also includes records of awards, projects, legislation, research, grants, education, committees, publications and advice. These documents illustrate the evolution of conservation policy and practice in this country from the late nineteenth century – which was strongly influenced by the SPAB – and the role of key figures such as William Morris and others closely associated with the Society.  The collection is especially relevant to those with a local or professional interest in historic buildings or places and how these have changed during the Society’s lifetime.


Visit the archive

The SPAB archive currently contains over 20,000 descriptions of historic casework files and photographs along with details about the contents of William Weir’s notebooks. The catalogue is a work in progress and existing paper lists and new cataloguing will be added regularly.  If you do not find what you are searching for in the online catalogue please get in touch and we can check our paper indexes.


We have reopened for researchers to make an appointment to view archive material at the SPAB’s offices on Thursdays, 10.30am to 4.30pm.  The SPAB has a part-time archivist, assisted by volunteers.  Enquiries are dealt with as promptly as possible and in order of receipt.  We can carry out basic searches, identify relevant material and provide summaries, but cannot undertake research on an enquirer’s behalf.

Download our notes for researchers here.

If you would like more information about the SPAB archive or would like to make an enquiry or an appointment, please get in touch.


Online archive exhibition

We've put together an online exhibition on the Scottish architect William Weir (1865-1950), one of our most respected caseworkers, and who was part of a group of dedicated experts active in the first 50 years of the SPAB.


Support the archive

The SPAB archive is one of the oldest collections of material wholly dedicated to buildings conservation. Please help us to keep access to the archive free for everyone.

Get involved