City of Winchester Trust
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New Wine in old Bottles - TrustNews Dec 04

The trust was privileged to have George Ferguson, President of the RIBA, as guest speaker for the AGM in September. He gave a wide-ranging and engaging talk to demonstrate his theme, beginning by saying how pleased he was to be back in Winchester. He had been born in the City and had a great affection for it as a special, precious but lively place. He did not, however, talk about Winchester but about a variety of examples and possibilities illustrating what makes a place special, beautiful and atmospheric. He felt that since the 1947 Planning Act this country had been making buildings but failing to make places - partly tied in with too great a segregation of usage. He wanted to show the audience some examples of new buildings put into old places, and some of old buildings transformed into new buildings. A variety of styles could and should be used provided that they were well executed.

Mr Ferguson used a an extensive collection of slides to illustrate the talk and the examples he used ranged from Venice - Arsenale and the Roman Temple at Nimes to Brindley Place and Selfridges in Birmingham. He had been personally involved in redevelopment in his home city - Bristol and described how over the period of redevelopment of the docks much of the character had been lost. He and some friends had rescued some dockside cranes from being scrapped; eventually embarrassing the City Council into buying them back and using the proceeds to purchase an old ferry, which had become a flourishing leisure business. Bristol was a place of old and new where regeneration had succeeded in providing popular public space incorporating exciting features around redeveloped listed goods sheds.

(A full length report of the talk can be seen on the website or obtained by email from the Heritage Centre).