Salisbury Plain Heritage Centre
Home of the Royal Artillery Collection
Newsletter No. 2
Welcome to the second edition of the SPHC Newsletter. It has been a busy few months and we are currently working on the website and other social media platforms, keeping our local communities informed and updated. We are also visiting local parishes and councils to continue to build on the great relationships we already have.
Therefore, may I encourage you to review all our various platforms and send me your comments and feedback. I am also looking for future articles or submissions from your own historic point of view, service or experience with the Gunners or on Salisbury Plain? In the meantime I hope you all enjoy the newsletter and all our social media updates.
Sarah Davies – Editor & Communications Mgr.
Our exciting plans for the new Heritage Centre continue to be developed at pace. At the same time our small workforce is fully committed to moving the RA Collection into its transitional sites away from Woolwich. The closure of Firepower was achieved on 8th July (following the marking of the first day of the battle of the Somme) and the staff are now very much focused on preparing the final tranche of exhibits for packing and the buildings for handover to the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
A detailed study is being conducted into how the Heritage Centre and the many equestrian organisations which use the racecourse could operate alongside each other in the future, and this will report in the early autumn. In the meantime work has commenced to agree the lease terms for the ground with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation.
The final major strand of work which is now pushing ahead is our fund-raising effort - this achieved a notable success recently with the confirmation of a major grant from the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership which underlines the tremendous support that the project is receiving from the county and for which we are extremely grateful.
I hope that you will enjoy reading more about all of these strands of activity in this newsletter, and if there are any areas about which you would like to hear more please do let our editor know.
Major General Nick Eeles – Chairman RAML
TRANSITION UPDATEFirepower staff have been busy preparing for the closure of the museum by conducting self-help packing of the reserve collection over the past weeks with the help of volunteers, including starting on non-display medals from the collection of almost 12,000. Catalogues containing some of the museum’s non-accessioned property, including several display cabinets that will not feature in the SPHC, are now with Gunner Regiments and Headquarters with the offer of gifting to enhance history rooms and other viable projects.Staff at Wroughton’s Science Museum, the main transitional storage site for the RA Collection, have been familiarising themselves with the artefacts that have relocated to Wiltshire and focussing on object cleaning and conservation of guns and equipment due to go out on loan over the transitional years. The first inload of more precious objects and those susceptible to environmental damage has recently been deposited in the National Conservation Service Centre (Restore) at Upper Heyford near Oxford. Collection management staff have also signed over a number of Woolwich specific museum objects that will be loaned to the Greenwich Heritage Centre for their Gunner exhibition, planned to open in November this year.The main focus at this moment is supporting Ammunition Technical Officers (ATO) conduct ‘Free from Explosives’ (FFE) inspections on the museum’s vast array of artillery ammunition. This task has taken two full weeks to complete on behalf of the Royal Artillery Historical Trust. Retired Gunner Major Jim Reid and Trevor Parker have volunteered to support ATO in identifying ammunition covering some 300 years.
Heritage Lottery Fund
As many of you will already know, our bid for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund was considered by the HLF’s Board of Trustees in April. We received very positive feedback about our application, but with the available funds more limited than in previous years the Board was unable to offer us a grant on this occasion. We are, of course, very disappointed, but we are determined that this is only a temporary setback and we remain committed to our goal of creating the Salisbury Plain Heritage Centre.
In the weeks since the HLF’s decision many of our partners and stakeholders have reaffirmed their enthusiasm for the project, and we are particularly grateful for the support of our local Town and Parish Councils. Boosted by this support and that of the Regiment, the Board of RAML have decided to return to the HLF Board with an updated application which we plan to submit in November.
Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership
We’ve received numerous messages of encouragement in recent weeks, but for the project to succeed we also need financial support, and that is exactly what the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership has offered us. The SWLEP’s Board recently voted to award £1.35million to the SPHC project, helping us to realise the full potential of the Centre to benefit local people of all ages and to secure substantial benefits for Wiltshire’s tourism and visitor economy. We are enormously grateful to the members of the SWLEP Board, and to the many people who have helped support our bid for this funding.
In the last issue of the newsletter we reported on the success of our public exhibition which visited four different venues in local villages, and was attended by over 300 people. Our team has been busy analysing the many comments we received, and we’re pleased to say that the overall message was one of strong support for bringing the Royal Artillery’s collection to Larkhill - there was a clear consensus that the new Salisbury Plain Heritage Centre will be a great asset to the local area.
There were a number of questions, too, many of them focused on two key issues: first, how the Heritage Centre would co-exist with the adjacent racecourse, and second, whether we would consider the effects of the development on local roads and traffic. On the latter point, we are undertaking a full Transport Assessment as part of our planning application. This is not yet complete, but initial studies indicate that the Heritage Centre’s busiest times will be outside local school and commuter traffic peak hours, meaning that there is unlikely to be a significant impact on local residents and road users.
As to the equestrian use of the site, this will not only continue but will become a cornerstone of the annual events programme at the new Heritage Centre. We have enlisted the help of Colonel Angus Cameron, who is both a Royal Artillery Officer and a keen horse-rider, to bring together the diverse equestrian communities and ensure their views are heard. He will be leading a series of stakeholder focus groups over the coming weeks and advising us on how we can best accommodate the wide range of equestrian groups already using the site. Colonel Cameron is enthusiastic about this challenging role, commenting, “This is a great opportunity not just to secure the future of equestrian events at Larkhill, but also to improve on the quality of facilities and the overall experience offered to those attending.”
NEW APPOINTMENTS TO RAML
RAML are pleased to announce the appointment of Peter Wragg to the board. Peter is Chairman of Visitwiltshire, a board member of the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and a Director of the Bath Rugby Foundation.
Peter first became involved in the SPHC project two and a half years ago when the initial discussions were had with Visitwiltshire about the possibility of bringing the project to Wiltshire. He has been closely involved ever since providing key links with both local and national tourism organisations, Wiltshire Council and the LEP. Peter has extensive fundraising experience through his work with Bath Rugby Foundation and he has taken on the responsibility for fundraising on the RAML board.
‘The proposed heritage centre and museum immediately captured my imagination. Not only because of the heritage benefits that will benefit Wiltshire but also for what it would do for its tourism industry and community in general.’
‘Heritage is part of the very fabric of Wiltshire’s tourism offer and the rich collection that is proposed for the museum will significantly add to that. The heritage centre will enhance the general tourism offer both in terms of volume and diversity and it will increase the numbers of visitors to the county thus creating significant direct and indirect employment.’
Peter highlighted that one of the biggest challenges Wiltshire faces is keeping tourist visitors in the county overnight. This is because of the lack of a second major attraction in the area; visitors tend to go to Stonehenge and then move on out of the county. He sees the proposed heritage centre and museum as that second major attraction as its existence will result in tour operators scheduling an overnight stop in the county creating a much increased spend in the economy.
Peter also sees the centre’s proposed location as a wonderful opportunity to open up public access to a unique experience whilst at the same time protecting the environment.
James Barnes was educated at Friends' School, Lisburn and Queen’s University Belfast. His employment has included Slaughter and May (Associate solicitor), Herbert Smith where he has been a partner since 1989. He has worked within commercial real estate, specialising in structured investment, development, infrastructure and property finance.
Some of the key highlights of his career have been Lead partner on Broadgate Development, the Partner responsible for all real estate aspects of Channel Tunnel Rail Link (now HS1). The Solicitor for the development of the Tate Modern. The lead partner on development of Stratford City (including Olympic the facilities). James is also the Governor of Greenwich University and a Member of City of London Law Society Land Law Committee
He is married to Sophie who he has two children with, Ailbhe and James. He lives in
Blackheath, London where his interests include being with his family, sailing,
cycling and skiing.
Tom is an architect qualified and registered in the United Kingdom, and an Accredited RIBA Client Adviser. He qualified as a corporate member of the RIBA in 1995 following degrees from the University of Nottingham in Architecture and Environmental Design. He has worked in professional offices in Bath, Bristol and Hong Kong on a wide range of projects from fast food restaurants to large infrastructure projects, including the stations for the Airport Railway in Hong Kong. He established the Jacques Partnership in 2000 with Robin Jacques. Tom has advised contractors and major local businesses on Health and Safety legislation introduced for the construction industry, including helping them to prepare Health and Safety Plans.
His projects have included public sports and leisure buildings, health buildings including nursing homes and doctors’ surgeries as well as buildings in historic town centers, and alteration, refurbishment and restoration of listed buildings, often alongside environmental improvements.
Tom has lived in converted barn in North Wiltshire for the last 20 years, where the office is also based. He has previously lived in Manchester, Bath, Nottingham and Hong Kong. He is married to Kaoru and has 2 boys, the oldest of whom is at university in Tokyo.
‘I enjoy visiting and exploring new places, towns and cities in particular, along with the cultural
Offer, and enjoy exploring the high quality built and rural environment.’
Brigadier Mark Milligan
Brigadier Milligan served as Director Change in Army HQ leading the Army Change Integration Programme for ACGS until completing his Service in June 2015.
He was commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1979. His time at Regimental Duty has been spent in field artillery regiments in Germany and the UK. This included service in Heavy Artillery in the British Army of the Rhine, mounted ceremonial with the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery in London, and in Field Regiments as a Forward Observation Officer, Adjutant and Battery Commander in armoured and mechanized brigades. He was a student at the Army Command and Staff Course (1990-92) and commanded 14th Regiment Royal Artillery. He served as Director Strategic Targeting, Influence and Outreach within HQ ISAF Operations Directorate (2012-13).
He is married with 3 sons who continue to challenge his understanding of leadership. He and his wife run an Event Horse Stud and he oversees the Royal Artillery’s Equestrian activity including the Saddle Clubs,
RA Hunt, Racecourse and Cross Country Course.
The Royal Artillery Museum’s fundraising campaign continues to gather momentum having secured just under £10 million to date, and with a very strong list of potential donors now being approached.
A solid foundation has been built for the campaign and with the support of the Museum, the Regiment's leadership and the Fundraising Committee we have successfully engaged numerous local stakeholders and ambassadors for the project to gain support and endorsement.
More recently, the poignant celebration of the 300th anniversary of the
Royal Artillery Regiments at Larkhill, alongside the Captain-General's Baton
journey to 30 allied countries, has helped introduce the plan for the
new state-of-the-art Heritage Centre to the wider international community,
which has shown much interest in supporting
We are now in a critical phase of the campaign, cultivating leading philanthropists to secure major support for the project. The opportunities to engage these individuals have been specifically tailored around key project themes including heritage, technology, archaeology, ecology, equestrian activities and education. In addition, philanthropists can take advantage of the naming opportunities in the building and its grounds such as the Victoria Cross Gallery, Garden of Reflection, Artillery Hall and the Panoramic Restaurant.
We are well positioned to gain major support during this intensive period of fundraising and look forward to further updating you in December 2016.
Anna May – Scott Prenn
One of the observations arising from the SPHC Public Meetings was the need to better engage and consult the local equestrian community. This is what we have done over the last 3 months. Angus Cameron, a local equestrian expert, has met with representatives from the Royal Artillery Pony Club, Larkhill racecourse, racecourse users, Larkhill cross-country course, cross-country course users, the Royal Artillery Hunt and medical professionals who support equestrian events in a professional capacity at Larkhill.
The intent now is to produce an overall report with supporting detailed annexes covering each discipline’s activity. The Annexes are nearing completion and are on circulation with those consulted for comment and observation. The report is also nearing completion and will be released to interested parties in the autumn.
Angus Cameron has a long association with the RA equestrian scene. Having ridden since his childhood, with a pause during schooling, he reaffirmed his seat whilst at Sandhurst and the RA YO’s Course when he first hunted with the RA. He subsequently went on to compete and qualify as a Saddle Club Instructor at Melton Mowbray before promoting equitation and running saddle clubs in Bramcote, Hohne, Bielefeld, Thorney Island and Kirton in Lindsey. He is currently closely involved in RA equitation at Larkhill.
Lt Col Angus Cameron – Assistant Commandant, RSA
‘Making Woolwich’ Project Exhibition Update:
‘Making Woolwich: The Royal Regiment of Artillery in Woolwich’ is a brand-new gallery dedicated to the legacy of the Gunners in the borough of Woolwich. It is being created by the Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust and will open at the Greenwich Heritage Centre on the Royal Arsenal Woolwich in late 2016.
This exciting new exhibition will be a memorial to the 300 years of continuous connection that the RA has had with Woolwich from its foundation in 1716 to today, and the continued presence of King’s Troop RHA. Not only will the exhibition tell the story of the Gunners, but it will also delve deeply into local stories of the connections between the Regiment and the people of Woolwich revealing what life has been like over three centuries in this garrison town, and how the Regiment and civilian population have grown up and changed together.
The exhibition itself is currently under development and will feature a range of objects, archival material and images which have come from the Royal Artillery Historical Trust and RGHT collections. These objects will be displayed in a specially designed gallery at the Greenwich Heritage Centre which is in one of the historic buildings on the Royal Arsenal site.
Together with the exhibition, my project encompasses a range of other features, all designed to increase the visibility of Gunner heritage in Woolwich and ensure that people continue to be enthused by the legacy of the Regiment. There will be a range of public engagement activities (Trust volunteers have met members of the public to gather their feedback and stories), an educational workshop using rocketry will be developed for school groups and a smartphone app which will show on a map the many RA-related sites in Woolwich. This map will give people the opportunity to find out more information about each site, as well as recording their memories about places at the RA Barracks, St George’s Garrison Church and the Royal Military Academy.
I am very proud to be the project officer responsible for delivering this exhibition. The history of the Gunners is a long and proud one, and the connections between the Regiment, Woolwich and the Royal Arsenal run deep. One of the most satisfying and enlightening parts of this project has been meeting with members of the public and, during consultations with them, discovering that they have family connections to the Regiment. A number of these stories have been included in the exhibition, bringing forward hitherto unknown Gunners, and showcasing their fascinating lives.
This project would not be possible without the support of our funding partners: The Heritage Lottery Fund, Royal Artillery Museums Ltd, Friends of the Royal Artillery Collections and the Royal Artillery Historical Trust. RGHT would like to extend its sincere thanks to them for their support.
I would also personally like to extend my sincere thanks to all of the team from RAML, the officers and men of the Royal Artillery Barracks and the many people, both volunteers and supporters, who have given up their time and expertise to make this project happen. In particular, I would like to thank Brigadier Ken Timbers whose deep knowledge of and passion for the Gunners in Woolwich has proven invaluable to me.
Exhibition Project Officer
Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust
In 2012 the Layers of Larkhill' community archaeology project built a replica Neolithic house, based on evidence from nearby Durrington Walls, in the grounds of Larkhill Primary School. Over the last few years the roof of the house has suffered and needs replacing and, at the same time, we are planning on raising the height of the walls to make the house more accessible. This will be carried out as part of the build up to the Salisbury Plain Heritage Centre project and will involve, as will the main project, the whole community. Shortly we will be asking for volunteers to help cut the wood we will need to rebuild the roof. This will be gathered from woods just south of Stonehenge as part of conservation work on a Bronze Age burial mound. Then, once the old roof has been removed, we will need help to raise the walls, a very chalky experience!
The thatching will be carried out by experts from the Ancient Technology Centre at Cranborne but there are other tasks to be done while this is happening: enlarging our prehistoric burial mound, weaving a new fence and making replica prehistoric pots to be used in the newly re-furbished house. Watch this space for details of how to get involved.
Julian Richards, archaeologist
"Bringing the Heritage Centre to Wiltshire will bring employment and a huge boost to our Local and County economy. I consider it a privilege that Larkhill has been chosen as the location for this project as this initiative is not just a local one but has regional and national importance which will bring significant benefits to the people of Wiltshire. I am fully behind this imaginative and socially important project which will in turn provide direct benefits to Larkhill and the surrounding villages. The SPHC team are dedicated and professional and I look forward to the building of the new Heritage Centre"
Graham Wright, Wiltshire Councilor serving Durrington and Larkhill