Saltford Environment Group
Showcasing Saltford's history
The Heritage Centre (2017-2023) aspect of the History of Saltford project was reviewed in 2023 with the objective of using other more accessible means of showcasing Saltford's history.
The Heritage Centre had been open to the public on special occasions since 2017, usually in conjunction with other special community, educational, small group, and/or heritage events.
SEG announced in September 2023 that SEG and Saltford Community Association had agreed to work together in partnership to secure for the community the long term future of SEG's History of Saltford project that was first launched in 2015.
As well as a significant amount of online published digital information and images including our Online Museum, the project includes approximately 3,000 items comprising digital images, digital documents, printed documents/papers and historical artefacts from Saltford's past.
SEG had reviewed how Saltford's artefacts and some of the many images could be made more accessible at special village events and at a more central and visited location than the Heritage Centre room that has hitherto been located on the 1st floor of St Mary's Church hall. SEG is deeply appreciative of the generous provision by St Mary's of a dedicated room in the church hall but the location and lack of disabled access has always been a concern.
In future, a selection of artefacts and printed or digital panels may be displayed at Saltford Hall - either at special heritage/village events and/or in a display cabinet or via AV equipment.
The curators of the History of Saltford project are Phil Harding (SEG Chairman) and Andrew Stainer (SEG Treasurer). They can be contacted via SEG's home page.
This aspect of the History of Saltford community project has been a partnership between St Mary's Parochial Church Council and Saltford Environment Group (history project). It supported special events, illustrated talks and heritage learning sessions (e.g. for our local school).
Roman gilded brooch (c.200-350AD) complete with black glass gemstone found in Saltford in 2016 by Bob Mordle.
Here are the early news stories from when the Heritage Centre was first opened in 2017 to residents and other visitors.
360 local school children visit the Heritage Centre
On 5th to 7th February 2018 360 children from years 1 to 6 in 12 classes at Saltford School walked down to visit Saltford Heritage Centre accompanied by 60 teachers, teacher assistants, parents and student teachers. The children learned about life in Saltford going back to the Stone Age and Iron Age. As well as the numerous information display panels, the children saw Saltford artefacts from the Iron Age, Roman and Tudor periods.
The children completed work sheets prepared by their teachers and sketched some of the artefacts. This first school outing to the heritage Centre also included a visit to St Mary's Church, Saltford's oldest building with its Anglo Saxon tower. The enthusiasm and positive response from the children and their teachers proved the visits to be very popular and a great success.
Saltford Environment Group and Saltford School are working closely together on local heritage and environmental issues. SEG's Chairman, Phil Harding, said "We want to inspire the next generation to value their heritage and to love and care for their environment. SEG was delighted by the way the children enjoyed their first school visit to the Heritage Centre, we hope many will return to show their parents and grandparents the displays when we are open to the public."
Headteacher Dawn Sage said "The children have thoroughly enjoyed the experience, they have been very interested in the artefacts and everything that the centre had to offer. This interest will continue in the work they will complete in the classroom."
The first public opening of the Heritage Centre in 2018 will be Saturday 31st March from 10am to 12 noon. Admission will be free and there will be an Easter Market where refreshments will also be available in the main hall.
Saltford Heritage Centre opens for Saltford Festival
Saltford's new Heritage Centre was open on the first floor (upstairs) of the Church Hall for the Saltford Festival 2017 on the afternoon of Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th June. The Bath Record Office roadshow was also in attendance for the 10th June showing old OS maps of Saltford, seal presses, and informative displays on the BRO's Saltford records whilst also giving an opportunity for residents to discuss historical research with a BRO archivist.
History was a key theme for the festival. The first opening of the Heritage Centre was preceded by a joint presentation by local resident and SEG's history team member Dick Bateman and Saltford Drama Club in St Mary's Church on "Life in 19th Century Saltford". On Monday 12th June SEG's Saltford Station campaign Chris Warren gave an interesting and well-received talk on "The History of Railways at Saltford" in the main hall at St Mary's Church Hall.
2017 is notable as being the 150th anniversary of the death of Admiral Benedictus Marwood Kelly, Saltford's famous resident. For the "Old Village Day" on Sunday June 11th, Saltford Drama Club member Kelvin Buck dressed up as Admiral Kelly and stood by the Admiral's Blue Plaque in front of Saltford House answering questions about the Admiral's life and directing festival goers to the Heritage Centre and other festival activities.
Some 250+ people visited the Heritage Centre over the two days and the overwhelming reaction to the information displays and Saltford artefacts from the Roman, Medieval, Tudor and later periods was very positive. Old Church and School records were also made available for visitors to see for the launch.
The Heritage Centre is a joint project from SEG and the Parochial Church Council. It will be opened during the warmer months and for special community events whilst elements of its mobile and flexible display can support relevant events at other venues in Saltford.
Background and purpose to the Heritage Centre (2017-2023)
The creation and development of Saltford Heritage Centre is a continuous and evolving process that began in 2016/17.
The vision and purpose for this project is:
The high level of interest gained by Saltford Environment Group's History of Saltford project and in particular our Online Museum and discussions with residents, community organisations and others, has shown that there is strong desire for people to know about their local history and have access to see and learn more about Saltford's fascinating past and its ancient artefacts.
Likewise SEG has been keen to make sure that the findings of its unique history project is accessible to everyone and this includes putting some interesting artefacts on display in a Saltford Heritage Centre that will be in a public location. It will also be mobile so that the artefacts and display boards can be temporarily moved to other venues (e.g. Saltford school) for special events, illustrated talks and learning sessions. It would also provide a base from which to launch into the public domain interesting new finds or create topic-based feature displays such as "Roman Saltford".
On 22nd September 2016 after several meetings with SEG the Parochial Church Council agreed in principle for the Heritage Centre to be located within St. Mary's Church Hall on the first floor with use of the other larger rooms on the ground and first floors for presentation talks etc.
The church hall in Queen Square just off the High Street is in the centre of Saltford's Conservation Area and makes an excellent start and/or finishing point for guided history walks of the village.
The Heritage Centre and History of Saltford project was generously supported by:-
Councillor Emma Dixon (Ward Councillors Initiative Fund)
Saltford Parish Council (grant to St Mary's PCC)
St Mary's PCC
Davies & Way (grant to SEG)
Saltford Community Association
A full list of contributors to the project can be found from this link >>
SEG is grateful for artefact donations/loans from:-
If you want to know more about the History of Saltford project contact Saltford Environment Group.
Collections Development Policy
Saltford Heritage Centre was created as a community facility to display and provide information on Saltford's social, cultural, archaeological, and natural history.
It held a chosen collection of objects, photographs, postcards, maps, printed material etc. pertaining to the history of Saltford with the objective of making these available for members of the public to see at specially organised events and visits.
With limited space, the selection and choice of display items whether loaned or owned by Saltford Environment Group/the Heritage Centre has been subject to prior selection by SEG's History Project under the terms of the Heritage Centre's collections development policy. The Heritage Centre was not an accredited museum but sought to follow the Museum Association code of ethics and associated guidance (such as SPECTRUM).
You can download our collections development policy here (pdf opens in new window):-
List of Display Panels
Our stock of display panels includes the following topics:-
18th Century Saltford (2)
We also have smaller display panels/sheets showing historic maps of Saltford and on special topics or individual artefacts such as the Saltford Viking Buckle (11th C).
© Saltford Environment Group
The Heritage Centre project was generously supported by:
Councillor Emma Dixon
Saltford Parish Council
Safeguarding Our Past,