The Society

Overall Aim:

To stimulate public interest in and appreciation and care of, the history, appearance and character of Chelmsford.

What We Do


There have been many since the foundation of the Society over 50 years ago. These have included the saving of Hylands House and the preservation of Bell Meadow as a public amenity. We have sought to influence the restoration of the Heritage Triangle: The Anne Knight Building, Marconi offices in New Street and Shire Hall.

Our Current Priorities Are:

  • With Marconi Heritage groups on an exhibition and programme of talk. Working towards a permanent home for the Marconi collection.
  • Chelmsford Remembers Heritage Lottery Fund project on the First World War.
  • Heritage Open Days: commissioned by the City Council.
  • Working with Essex County Council, the City Council and Aquila on the restoration and future use of Shire Hall.
  • Collaborating with Abellio on representations of Chelmsford’s history and communities in the new station concourse.
  • Promoting use of Chelmsford’s waterways.
  • Collaborating with the Ideas Hub.



We have promoted the ‘Marconi Brand’ as the right image for a successful city, with a history of innovation like Chelmsford. We were at the forefront of the campaign to keep the ‘Chelmsford Birthplace of Radio’ on the city signs.

We are pleased to announce Essex 2020 - A Year of Creativity in partnership with CCC and ECC when we will celebrate Marconi's Centenary of Dame Nellie Melba's historic broadcast from Marconi's Works at New Street (a pre-cursor to the formation of the BBC 1922).Our Civic Society members -Ros Webb, Friends of Chelmsford Museum, Chris Neale, Chelmsford Science and Engineering Society and our Membership Secretary Pam Swaby are part of Essex 2020 event. Tim Wander is writing a play to be held at the Civic Theatre, 15th - 20th June in commemoration. Box Office open mid-November.

Pam Swaby, Chris Neale and Ros Webb organised our flagship events in 2016 and 2017. These were the Marconi Building the Wireless Age exhibition and talks programme, held in the original Marconi Factory In Hall Street; and the Titanic Honour and Glory Exhibition in Bond Street. In both cases it was good to have so many volunteers to help out: including John Lewis staff in Bond Street.

The City Council commissions the Society to organise and run Chelmsford’s Heritage Open Days Event and it is growing fast. This year, 2,219 people visited 30 sites.

A central concern has been securing the restoration of the Heritage Triangle: the Anne Knight Building opposite the station, the Marconi 1912 offices in New Street and Shire Hall.

Chelmsford Remembers

We were awarded £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for our Chelmsford Remembers project on the First World War. This was supported by the High Chelmer Shopping Centre and also involved a collaboration with the Essex Record Office. We are planning now for the Armistice Centenary in 2018.

Our Somme 100 event in2016 involved a showing of the 1916 film, while listening to original music played by the Cambridge Concert Orchestra. Laura Rossi, the composer was present and addressed the audience in the cathedral.

Ideas Festival

Ideas Festival 2019 (www.ideasfestivalchelmsford.org). The Ideas Hub now set up in Chelmsford Library for teas, coffees and newspapers.

Heritage Open Days

This year's event runs from 13th - 22nd of September and we are busy booking the events and venues. More information will appear here in July.

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee is elected each year at the AGM.

The current members are:

  • Malcolm Noble (Chairman)
  • Eddie Cassels (Treasurer)
  • Pamela Swaby (Membership Officer)
  • Paul Mclean (Communications and Social Media)
  • John Hammond (Planning Officer)
  • Jennifer Webb (Committee Member)
  • Trevor Nunn (Committee Member)
  • Doug Zeeman (Committee Member)


  • Alan Pamphilon (Heritage Open Days)
  • Councillor Roy Whitehead (Auditor)