What we do

The Society’s main concern is with the public realm and particularly the built environment.

Our aims as a charity are:

(a) To encourage high standards of architecture and town planning in Wakefield and district.

(b) To stimulate public interest in and care for the beauty, history and character of the City and its surroundings.

(c) To encourage the preservation, development and improvement of features of general public amenity or historic interest.

(d) To pursue these ends by means of meetings, exhibitions, lectures, publications, other forms of instruction and publicity, and promotion of schemes of a charitable nature.

To deliver these aims, we regularly review planning applications made to the Council and make comments or raise objections to planned developments where we feel that the proposals do not represent the best interests of Wakefield.

We also run an annual design awards scheme to recognise the best in new build, refurbishment and environmental schemes. 

We want to celebrate the best of our architectural heritage and we are responsible for most of the commemorative blue plaques that you will see in and around the city. We regularly lead walks around the city centre for groups who wish to learn more about the city’s rich history and would be happy to discuss putting on additional walks with group leaders.

For our members and their guests, we offer a programme of summer excursions and social events (for which there is a charge), including our monthly dining club where our members get to nominate our annual Restaurant of the Year.

In addition, and usually open to members and non-members, we run a programme of autumn and winter talks (to which entrance is usually free).

From time to time, and working with other organisations where appropriate, we embark on projects to improve buildings or open spaces within the City.

The Society was also jointly responsible for setting up the Gissing Centre in Thompson’s Yard to commemorate the life and work of Wakefield novelist George Gissing and we are founder members of the Friends of Wakefield Chantry.

In 2008, concerned about proposals (now abandoned) to build a sports stadium in Thornes Park, we held a public meeting and called for volunteers to establish a new community group to work with the council and other stakeholders to improve and protect the three parks – Clarence Park, Holmfield Park and Thornes Park. This led to the creation of The Friends of CHaT Parks, an independent group run by volunteers who care about these parks.