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Saltford Environment Group
  towards a sustainable future for our village


SEG Home > History of Saltford > A - Z > Heritage Centre

Showcasing Saltford's history

COVID-19: PLEASE NOTE During restrictions concerning the pandemic Saltford Heritage Centre will not be open to members of the public.

The Heritage Centre is open to the public several times during the year (in the warmer months) usually in conjunction with other special community, educational and/or heritage events; we announce opening dates and times on SEG's home page.

Subject to the availability of staff and agreeing a mutually convenient time, we can also open the Heritage Centre for 1-hour private viewings for small groups of people (4+) on request. If you can muster a small group and would like to be considered for a private viewing contact Phil Harding or Andrew Stainer.

With many information display panels describing and depicting Saltford's past and access to ancient artefacts since Roman times Salford Heritage Centre reveals much about Saltford's fascinating history. It is based at

St Mary's Church Hall
Queen Square
High Street
Bristol BS31 3EL

The curators of the Heritage Centre are Phil Harding (SEG Chairman) and Andrew Stainer (SEG Treasurer). They can be contacted via SEG's home page.

Andrew Stainer (left) & Phil Harding (right).

Our information display panels describe and depict much about Saltford's fascinating past from the Stone and Iron Ages to more recent times. We can also display ancient artefacts since Roman times. Located on the 1st floor in what was once Saltford School and is now the Church Hall, the Heritage Centre is right by Saltford's oldest built structure, the Anglo Saxon tower of the village church of St Mary's that was built by the Normans.

This project is a partnership between St Mary's Parochial Church Council and Saltford Environment Group (history project) and it supports special events, illustrated talks and heritage learning sessions (e.g. for our local school). It provides a base from which to launch new discoveries about our past and for topic-based feature displays. The centre has a mobile and flexible display that can also visit other venues.


Roman gilded brooch (c.200-350AD) complete with black glass gemstone found in Saltford in 2016 by Bob Mordle.

St Mary's Church Hall (2016)


Here are the early news stories from when the Heritage Centre was first opened in 2017 to residents and other visitors. We announce opening dates and times on SEG's home page.

360 local school children visit the Heritage Centre


On 5th to 7th February 2018 360 children from years 1 to 6 in 12 classes at Saltford School walked down to visit Saltford Heritage Centre accompanied by 60 teachers, teacher assistants, parents and student teachers. The children learned about life in Saltford going back to the Stone Age and Iron Age. As well as the numerous information display panels, the children saw Saltford artefacts from the Iron Age, Roman and Tudor periods.


The children completed work sheets prepared by their teachers and sketched some of the artefacts. This first school outing to the heritage Centre also included a visit to St Mary's Church, Saltford's oldest building with its Anglo Saxon tower. The enthusiasm and positive response from the children and their teachers proved the visits to be very popular and a great success.

Saltford Environment Group and Saltford School are working closely together on local heritage and environmental issues. SEG's Chairman, Phil Harding, said "We want to inspire the next generation to value their heritage and to love and care for their environment. SEG was delighted by the way the children enjoyed their first school visit to the Heritage Centre, we hope many will return to show their parents and grandparents the displays when we are open to the public."



Headteacher Dawn Sage said "The children have thoroughly enjoyed the experience, they have been very interested in the artefacts and everything that the centre had to offer. This interest will continue in the work they will complete in the classroom."

The first public opening of the Heritage Centre in 2018 will be Saturday 31st March from 10am to 12 noon. Admission will be free and there will be an Easter Market where refreshments will also be available in the main hall.

February 2018

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Saltford Heritage Centre opens for Saltford Festival

St Mary's Church Hall, home to the Heritage Centre,
during Saltford Festival's "Old Village Day" 11.6.2017.

Saltford's new Heritage Centre was open on the first floor (upstairs) of the Church Hall for the Saltford Festival 2017 on the afternoon of Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th June. The Bath Record Office roadshow was also in attendance for the 10th June showing old OS maps of Saltford, seal presses, and informative displays on the BRO's Saltford records whilst also giving an opportunity for residents to discuss historical research with a BRO archivist.

Visitors including the historic dance group The Farandole Dancers
studying the displays etc. at the Heritage Centre, 11.6.2017.

History was a key theme for the festival. The first opening of the Heritage Centre was preceded by a joint presentation by local resident and SEG's history team member Dick Bateman and Saltford Drama Club in St Mary's Church on "Life in 19th Century Saltford". On Monday 12th June SEG's Saltford Station campaign Chris Warren gave an interesting and well-received talk on "The History of Railways at Saltford" in the main hall at St Mary's Church Hall.

"Admiral Kelly" outside Saltford House, 11.6.2017.

2017 is notable as being the 150th anniversary of the death of Admiral Benedictus Marwood Kelly, Saltford's famous resident. For the "Old Village Day" on Sunday June 11th, Saltford Drama Club member Kelvin Buck dressed up as Admiral Kelly and stood by the Admiral's Blue Plaque in front of Saltford House answering questions about the Admiral's life and directing festival goers to the Heritage Centre and other festival activities.

Some 250+ people visited the Heritage Centre over the two days and the overwhelming reaction to the information displays and Saltford artefacts from the Roman, Medieval, Tudor and later periods was very positive. Old Church and School records were also made available for visitors to see for the launch.

The Heritage Centre is a joint project from SEG and the Parochial Church Council. It will be opened during the warmer months and for special community events whilst elements of its mobile and flexible display can support relevant events at other venues in Saltford.

June 2017 (updated January 2018)

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Thank you for your views

SEG should like to thank everyone who took the time to answer our short online survey from 14 September to the end of December 2016. Although the response rate was fairly low, and thus typical for surveys of this nature, the enthusiasm for the idea of establishing a Heritage Centre at the Church Hall in Saltford, for SEG's history project and the range of supportive ideas and comments were encouraging to read.

All respondents were in favour and 98% would visit the centre at least once or twice a year with 38% interested in visiting the centre more than twice a year. Whilst SEG's Online Museum had the highest single preference (35%) for finding out about Saltford's history, those preferring the Heritage Centre or having no preference was 57%. Most respondents (36%) were in the 35-44 age range.

These comments from the online survey are typical of the responses we have received:

"Ideal venue for the local and wider community"

"It's a great idea, for local people and for visitors"

"It's important that the Heritage Centre doesn't become just a collection of artefacts... Outreach to our local schools and other cultural centres, e.g. the Brass Mill, would help keep it fresh"

"SEG's history project is great; the heritage centre would complement the online material"

December 2016/January 2017

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Background and purpose

The creation and development of Saltford Heritage Centre is a continuous and evolving process that began in 2016/17.

The vision and purpose for this project is:

  • a community enhancing heritage centre that, through the preservation and promotion of history, cherishes the importance of leaving legacies towards a shared future.
  • The Heritage Centre shall hold a collection of objects, photographs, printed and audio-visual material pertaining to the history of the North Somerset parish of Saltford and the surrounding area.

The high level of interest gained by Saltford Environment Group's History of Saltford project and in particular our Online Museum and discussions with residents, community organisations and others, has shown that there is strong desire for people to know about their local history and have access to see and learn more about Saltford's fascinating past and its ancient artefacts.

Likewise SEG has been keen to make sure that the findings of its unique history project is accessible to everyone and this includes putting some interesting artefacts on display in a Saltford Heritage Centre that will be in a public location. It will also be mobile so that the artefacts and display boards can be temporarily moved to other venues (e.g. Saltford school) for special events, illustrated talks and learning sessions. It would also provide a base from which to launch into the public domain interesting new finds or create topic-based feature displays such as "Roman Saltford".

On 22nd September 2016 after several meetings with SEG the Parochial Church Council agreed in principle for the Heritage Centre to be located within St. Mary's Church Hall on the first floor with use of the other larger rooms on the ground and first floors for presentation talks etc.

The church hall in Queen Square just off the High Street is in the centre of Saltford's Conservation Area and makes an excellent start and/or finishing point for guided history walks of the village.

Our collection of interpretation panels and artefacts continues to grow as the project gradually expands as an evolving local resource that seeks to engage with the whole local community.

St Mary's Church Hall, 2016.

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Supporters & Donors

During the planning stage, Saltford Church of England Primary School informed SEG that it fully endorsed the proposed Heritage Centre. It saw the centre as a valuable asset to the teaching of history at the school and would be used regularly by all staff and children. The school uses SEG's History of Saltford project, which contains a wealth of information about the history of Saltford and thus enables "staff to have access to a huge range of quality resources including documents and photographs to allow the children's study of local history to come alive."

We have received endorsements for the centre from The Keynsham and Saltford Local History Society and the Friends of Saltford Library.

The Heritage Centre project is generously supported by:-

Councillor Emma Dixon (Ward Councillors Initiative Fund)

Saltford Parish Council (grant to St Mary's PCC)

Davies & Way (grant to SEG)

Artefact Donors

Saltford Heritage Centre is grateful for artefact donations/loans from:-

Bob Mordle
Dave Curnock
David Cox
John & Bunty Dunford
Adrian Betts


If you want to know more about the centre or your organisation would like to give financial sponsorship support for this community project, do contact SEG's Chairman, Phil Harding.

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Collections Development Policy


Saltford Heritage Centre has been created as a community facility to display and provide information on Saltford's social, cultural, archaeological, and natural history.

It shall hold a chosen collection of objects, photographs, postcards, maps, printed material etc. pertaining to the history of Saltford with the objective of making these available for members of the public to see at specially organised events and visits.

With limited space, the selection and choice of display items whether loaned or owned by Saltford Environment Group/the Heritage Centre will be subject to prior selection by SEG's History Project under the terms of the Heritage Centre's collections development policy. The Heritage Centre is not an accredited museum but aims to follow the Museum Association code of ethics and associated guidance (such as SPECTRUM).

You can download our collections development policy here (pdf opens in new window):-

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List of Display Panels

Our stock of display panels includes the following topics:-

18th Century Saltford (2)
Admiral Kelly (2)
Aerial photos of Saltford, 19C (4)
Anglo Saxons (1)
Artefacts, Saltford's Oldest Human Artefacts - Stone and Bronze Axes (1)
Carthaginian Coin, Saltford (1)
Normans, at Saltford (incl. Domesday Book) (1)
Railways, Saltford's (2)
River Avon, Saltford (2)
Road Transport, Saltford (3)
Romans, Saltford (2)
Saint Mary's Church, Saltford's oldest built structure (2)
Saltford School, the old school (1)
Timeline, Saltford 2500 BC - 2000 AD (2)
WW1, Saltford(4)
WW2, Burnett Anti-Aircraft Ammunition Depot (1)
WW2, Saltford (2)

We also have smaller display panels/sheets showing historic maps of Saltford and on special topics or individual artefacts such as the Saltford Viking Buckle (11th C).

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The Church Hall, then Queen's School, in the early 1900s.


Saltford Environment Group
W3C compliant website. Web page designed and produced by Phil Harding.

Queen Square, High St. Saltford BS31 3EL

This Page:-


Background and purpose

Supporters, Donors & Enquiries

Collections Development Policy

List of Display Panels

Also see:-


MAPS: Online Map Room

TIMELINE (300 BC to the modern age)

(Back to A - Z)

The Heritage Centre project is generously supported by:

Councillor Emma Dixon
(Ward Councillors Initiative Fund)

Saltford Parish Council
(grant to St Mary's PCC)

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Guiding Our Future