2009 - 21 years at Portway House

Bill Putnam (left), first Chairman of the Board of Directors and Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, Chairman of English Heritage.Bill Putnam (left), first Chairman of the Board of Directors and Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, Chairman of English Heritage.October 2009 marked the 21st anniversary of the official opening of Portway House as the Head Office of the Trust for Wessex Archaeology.
 
Invitation to the official opening of Portway HouseInvitation to the official opening of Portway HouseIn 1988, nine years after the establishment of the Wessex Archaeological Committee, the Trust was rapidly expanding, to the extent that the original offices in the heart of Salisbury - in the Cathedral Close and at Dunns House - were no longer adequate. A decision was therefore made to relocate, leading to the purchase and establishment of the current offices at the Old Sarum Airfield.
 
The Trust’s Chairman at the time, Bill Putnam, noted that ’it is a remarkable achievement that in only nine years the number of archaeologists employed by the Trust in the region has grown from one (March 1979 – Ann Ellison the Director) to nearly fifty.’ The Unit Director, Andrew Lawson, described the new offices as providing ‘ideal accommodation for a professional unit with offices, processing areas, drawing office and storage. Such a building provides the opportunity for efficient and economic management.’ Wessex Archaeology was the first archaeological practice in the UK to purchase its own premise
 
Lord Montagu opening Portway HouseLord Montagu opening Portway HouseThe official opening took place on Wednesday, 12th October, 1988. Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, then Chairman of English Heritage, unveiled three commemorative plaques in the entranceway to mark the occasion.
 
The plaques were made by Andy and Jo Young of Norfolk, and the first showed the logo of the Trust. The second read ‘Opened by Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, 12.10.88’, with the final plaque reading ‘Acquisition supported by MEPC’ who not only funded the plaques themselves and backed the mortgage, but were a valued supporter of the Trust’s work.
 
The opening took place in front of a large number of honoured guests including the Mayor of Salisbury, David Mitchell (MP for Hampshire North West) and MEP Dr Caroline Jackson. In addition prominent archaeologists, many clients and local business people, national and local journalists and staff attended the event.
 
The wall plaques commemorating the opening of Portway HouseThe wall plaques commemorating the opening of Portway House