Appeals: Victorian Society

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The Independent Online
An illustration of late Victorian bell-pulls, from Young & Marten's The Victorian House Catalogue (published by Sidgwick & Jackson), endorsed by the Victorian Society, which has reproduced such pictures in its educational pamphlet series aimed specifically at owners of Victorian houses. The society's educational department has published five pamphlets so far - on doors, decorative tiles, fireplaces, interior mouldings and wall coverings - and now needs to raise some pounds 10,000 to continue the series. Pointing, windows, paint colour and railings are the next topics to be covered.

Created in 1958, the Victorian Society exists to prevent the destruction of architecturally interesting Victorian and Edwardian buildings and to promote public appreciation of the architecture and decorative arts of the same period. It has battled for many years to turn the tide of the public's dislike of 19th-century architecture and it now advises statutory bodies when significant 19th- and early 20th-century buildings, both public and private, are affected by planning and conservation laws.

More recently the society has found itself protecting millions of smaller Victorian houses from serious damage inflicted by their owners. These houses are not listed and therefore not statutorily protected. The society says that home improvements often ruin the integrity of domestic buildings and of whole neighbourhoods. It cites replacement roofs, doors and plastic windows, and stone cladding as the worst offenders and argues that sympathetic, less radical maintenance is often much cheaper. However, since it began its information campaign about less radical house maintenance, the society has been almost overwhelmed by the demand for advice and information. The planned booklets are urgently needed.

For further information, contact: The Victorian Society, 1 Priory Gardens, Bedford Park, London W4 1TT, telephone 081-994 1019.