The Victorian Society was founded over 50 years ago, in 1958. It was a response to a growing threat to fine examples of Victorian and Edwardian architecture. At first the new Society met with defeats -- the most notorious being the demolition of the Euston Arch in 1962. But gradually, through its publications and educational events as well as through campaigning, it slowly began to change public attitudes.
St Pancras Station could not have been spectacularly revived as the international Eurostar terminal today if the Victorian Society had not fought for it in 1966. Similarly, the Society long campaigned to save the Albert Dock in Liverpool -- today one of the glories of the European Capital of Culture for 2008. And it was the Victorian Society that campaigned for the restoration of the Albert Memorial when -- unbelievably -- the government vacillated over finding money for that purpose.
Today the Society is the national charity campaigning for the Victorian and Edwardian historic environment. The major monuments of Victorian and Edwardian architecture may now seem safe, but the Victorian Society's work is far from over as many fine and useful buildings remain in danger and are being wantonly destroyed. Municipal swimming pools are still being closed after years of neglect while the government's educational policies threaten many functional and handsome school buildings and thousands of terraced houses, solidly built and capable of refurbishment, are being squandered by the 'Pathfinder' programme. As the medal struck on the Victorian Society's 25th anniversary stated, 'The Battle is Not Yet Won'.
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