According to new research by Civic Voice, over 30 civic societies currently own or manage property

From managing historic buildings to protecting open spaces, new research shows that civic societies are helping to ensure that local communities retain their unique character and identity.

One of the ways in which civic societies have achieved this is by taking on the responsibility of managing land and properties in their local areas. According to new research by Civic Voice, over 30 civic societies across the England are currently involved in owning or managing land and properties.  

These properties range from historic buildings, such as museums, to open spaces, such as woodlands and nature reserves. Many of these properties were at risk of being lost due to neglect or redevelopment, and civic societies have stepped in to ensure their protection and continued use for the benefit of local communities.

In addition to managing properties, civic societies also play an important role in raising funds for their upkeep. Many societies rely on a combination of grants, donations and fundraising activities to maintain and improve their heritage assets.

Furthermore, civic societies often involve local residents in the management of these properties, through volunteer programmes and community events. This not only helps to ensure that the properties are well-maintained, but also fosters a sense of ownership and pride among local residents.

Overall, the fact that over 30 civic societies across England own or manage land and properties is a testament to the important role that societies play in protecting and promoting local heritage. By working together with local communities and other stakeholders, civic societies are helping to ensure that the unique character and identity of UK towns and cities is protected for future generations.

The list includes:

  • Bath Preservation Trust owns and operate four museums
  • Bedworth Society owns and operates Bedworth Heritage Centre
  • Buxton Civic Association - Poole’s Cavern is the most spectacular natural cavern in the Peak District and is just part of the land owned and managed by Buxton Civic Association.
  • Cambridge, Past Present and Future - Bourne Windmill and Wandlebury Country Park are just some of the sites across Cambridge cared for by the Socety
  • Cheltenham Civic Society recently completed the the purchase of a new HQ building – 26 Cambray Place.
  • Chester Civic Trust - owns and manages Bishop Lloyds Palace
  • Desborough Civic Society owns and operates Desborough Heritage Centre
  • Friends of Abingdon Civic Society
  • Gloucester Civic Trust - 'The Folk' Gloucester Civic Trust have taken over this amazing and unique row of three Tudor houses from the City Council and want to bring life back into the buildings and keep them safe for future generations.
  • Hunstanton Civic Society owns and operates Hunsanton Heritage Centre
  • Isle of Wight Society owns and operates East Cowes Heritage Centre
  • Leeds Civic Trust:  Based at 17–19 Wharf Street, a mid-Victorian shop premises in The Calls area of the city centre, now serving as its office and bookshop.
  • Lytham St Annes Civic Society - Witch Wood was donated by the local council to Lytham St Anne Civic Society and is one of the most popular walks in Lytham
  • Market Drayton Civic Society - Market Drayton Museum is run by Drayton Civic Society and is open to the general public on Wednesday from 10.30 am until 3pm and Saturday
  • Mossley Civic Society and volunteers run the Mossley Heritage Centre -
  • Rossendale Civic Trust - The Weavers’ Cottage is a 18th century loom shop and one of the oldest surviving buildings in Rossendale. 
  • Sandgate Society - In December 2022 the Sandgate Society successfully amalgamated with the Sandgate Heritage Trust Ltd to take over ownership of the Old Fire Station (the society had previously been a tenant paying rent)
  • Sid Vale Association - Own and run the nationally accredited Sidmouth Museum, visited by over 13,000 annually and own and manage around 50 acres of Land in the Sid Valley for the benefit of the public
  • Spen Valley Civic Society - the Jo Cox Community Wood was started 2019, in recognition of the work of Jo Cox, MP for Batley and Spen, who was murdered in 2016.
  • Shrewsbury Civic Society operated The Bear Steps Gallery in a 14th century restored building at the centre of medieval Shrewsbury.
  • St Albans Civic Society - Volunteers from the Civic Society open the Clock Tower for visitors during alternate weekends 
  • The Kingston Society - Manage Coombe Conduit in collaboration with English Heritage
  • The Enfield Society - Jubilee Hall is the headquarters of The Enfield Society and the Hall is available for hire.
  • The Faversham Society - own and operate the Fleur de lis Museum
  • Wavertree Society - Wavertree Lock-up is an 18th-century grade II listed village lock-up located in Wavertree, Liverpool.
  • West Derby Society - Grade II*- listed Tudor manor courthouse
  • Weymouth Civic Society - Owned by Weymouth Civic Society The Tudor House is one of the nation's best preserved Tudor buildings.
  • Wimbledon Society - The Museum of Wimbledon is a local history museum. The museum was established in 1916. Run by The Wimbledon Society and staffed by volunteers.
  • Wisbech Society and Preservation Trust - Wisbech General Cemetery is nationally significant as one of very few non-denominational burial places established in English towns and cities during Victorian times.
  • Worcester Civic Society - Along with Worcester City Council the Society now operate a space currently known as The POD! in Friary Walk Shopping Centre
  • York Civic Trust - York Civic Trust's museum, Fairfax House, is one of England’s finest Georgian townhouses.