|Headquarters||1 Priory Gardens, London, England|
|HRH The Duke of Gloucester KG, GCVO (Patron)
Lord Briggs of Lewes (President)
Sir David Cannadine FBA FRSL FRHistS, Harry Handelsman, Lord Howarth of Newport CBE PC, Sir Simon Jenkins FRSL, Griff Rhys Jones, Fiona MacCarthy OBE FRSL, (Vice-Presidents)
Christopher Costelloe (Director)
Professor Hilary Grainger (Chair of Trustees)
The Victorian Society is a UK charity, the national authority on Victorian and Edwardian architecture built between 1837 and 1914 in England and Wales. As one of the National Amenity Societies, the Victorian Society is a statutory consultee on alterations to listed buildings, and by law must be notified of any work to a listed building which involves any element of demolition.
The founding of the Society was proposed in November 1957 with the intention of countering the widely prevalent antipathy to 19th and early 20th century architecture. From the 1890s into the 20th century, Victorian art had been under attack, critics writing of "the nineteenth century architectural tragedy", ridiculing "the uncompromising ugliness" of the era's buildings and attacking the "sadistic hatred of beauty" of its architects. The commonly-held view had been expressed by P. G. Wodehouse in his 1933 novel, Summer Moonshine; "Whatever may be said in favour of the Victorians, it is pretty generally admitted that few of them were to be trusted within reach of a trowel and a pile of bricks."
The first meeting was held at Linley Sambourne House on 28 February 1958. Among its thirty founder members were John Betjeman, Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Nikolaus Pevsner, who became Chairman in 1964. Former Bletchley Park codebreaker, Jane Fawcett, managed the society's affairs as secretary from 1964 to 1976.
The Twentieth Century Society undertakes a similar protective role for post-1914 buildings and the Georgian Group for those built between 1700 and 1840. The Victorian Society has a sister organisation in the United States, the Victorian Society in America, founded in 1966.
The society has worked to save numerous landmark buildings such as St Pancras Station, Albert Dock in Liverpool, the Foreign Office and Oxford University Museum. Its campaigns have not always been successful, notably its failed attempts to save the Euston Arch from demolition in 1961.
As well as being a statutory consultee on works to listed buildings the Society also:
- Provides advice to churches and local planning authorities on how Victorian and Edwardian buildings and landscapes can be adapted to modern use, while keeping what is distinctive about them.
- Advises members of the public on how they can help shape the future of their local Victorian and Edwardian buildings and landscapes.
- Provides information to owners of Victorian and Edwardian houses about how they can better look after their buildings.
- Helps people understand, appreciate, and enjoy the architectural heritage of the Victorian and Edwardian period through its publications and events.
Examples of their work with churches include making complaints against proposals of church PCCs to use upholstered chairs during renovation, and appealing against proposals to raise money by selling original features.
A recent campaign of the Victorian Society has taken on the preservation of Victorian gasometers after utility companies announced plans to demolish nearly 200 of the now outdated structures. Christopher Costelloe, director of the Victorian Society, said in regards to the group's efforts, "Gasometers, by their very size and structure, cannot help but become landmarks. [They] are singularly dramatic structures for all their emptiness.”
- Department for Communities and Local Government (24 March 2015), Arrangements for handling heritage applications Direction 2015, Gov.uk, retrieved 5 August 2015
- "History of the Victorian Society". The Victorian Society. 1998. Retrieved 2016-07-25.
- Turnor 1950, p. 111.
- Turnor 1950, p. 91.
- Clark 1983, p. 191.
- Harries 2011, p. 569.
- Harries 2011, p. 573.
- Harries 2015, p. 33.
- "The deb who sank the Bismarck". The Economist. 2016-06-04. Retrieved 2016-06-03.
- "Simon Jenkins: Not just a building, but a joy to behold. Ken Livingstone must hate St Pancras | Comment is free". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-10-20.
- "History of". The Victorian Society. 1958-02-24. Retrieved 2015-10-20.
- Harries 2011, pp. 621-3.
- "Not the comfy chair! Parishioners given Spanish Inquisition by church court over cushions". The Telegraph. 2016-08-22. Retrieved 2016-10-27.
- "Re Holy Trinity Long Itchington ECC Cov 7". Ecclesiastical Law Association. Retrieved 2016-10-27.
- "Historic font saved after landmark ruling by church court". Victorian Society. 2009-03-19. Retrieved 2016-10-27.
- Sean O'Hagan, Gasworks wonders…, The Guardian, 14 June 2015.
- "2014 Top ten endangered buildings". The Victorian Society. 2014-10-08. Retrieved 2015-10-20.
- "The Victorian Society". Facebook.com. Retrieved 2015-10-20.
- "TheVictorianSociety (@thevicsoc)". Twitter. 2015-10-16. Retrieved 2015-10-20.
- Clark, Kenneth (1983). The Gothic Revival: An Essay in the History of Taste. John Murray. ISBN 978-0-7195-3102-6.
- Ferriday, Peter (1963). Victorian Architecture. London: Jonathan Cape. OCLC 270335.
- Harries, Susie (2011). Nikolaus Pevsner - The Life. London: Chatto & Windus. ISBN 9780701168391.
- Harries, Susie (2015). Susie Harries, ed. Pevsner and Victorian Architecture. London: The Victorian Society. ISBN 978-0-901657-54-1.
- Turnor, Reginald (1950). Nineteenth Century Architecture in Britain. Batsford. OCLC 520344.