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Poster advertising a lecture by Asa Briggs for The Victorian Society South Wales Group on Thursday 8 November 1979 at Cardiff Castle. As well as the talk, there was an exhibition of Archives of Victorian Cardiff arranged by the Glamorgan Archive Service, followed by a civic reception.

Asa Briggs was the Chancellor of the Open University and Provost of Worcester College, Oxford, and was made a Life Peer in 1976. Previously, for 10 years he was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex. He was also Chairman of the Council of the European Institute of Education in Paris and of the European Educational Research Trust in London. He is a former member of the British Universities Grants Committee and a member of the Hong Kong University and Polytechnics Grants Committee. He is also a member of the Council of the United Nations University. He was Chairman of the Governing Body of the Institute of Development Studies from 1967-76 at Sussex. By profession he is a historian and has written widely on the 19th and the 20th century social and cultural history and was President of the British Social History Society.

The foundation of The Victorian Society began when Anne, Lady Rosse, inherited a well preserved family house at 18 Stafford Terrace, Kensington, after the death of her brother in 1946.

In 1957, she invited a group of 32 friends (who included John Betjeman and Nikolaus Pevsner), to consider creating a society for the preservation and appreciation of Victorian arts and architecture. The Victorian Society was founded in the same house, a year later.

From the beginning it was agreed that despite being called ‘The Victorian Society’, they would also include arts and architecture from the Edwardian period up to the outbreak of the First World War.

However, the founding of the Society took place against the backdrop of an almost universal dislike of the Victorian arts and all things Victorian, with a widespread destruction of Victorian buildings being common place in the post war reconstruction. The Society strove to avoid an over emphasis on London and began forming groups across the UK.

As the Society’s influence grew, so did its membership. By 1970, it had reached 1824 members, which grew to 3200 in 1980. The Society also began to be taken seriously by the Government, as demonstrated in 1969 following the passing of the Town and Country Planning Act. The Society was given a legal role in the consent of listed buildings system, as the Secretary of State decided that all applications involving demolition should be referred to the Society for comment. The Society has become a national society responsible for the study and protection of Victorian and Edwardian architecture, as well as other arts.

Glamorgan Archives, DVS/3

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