Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Dale H. Porter

Second Advisor

Dr. John Norman

Third Advisor

Dr. Peter Schmitt

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This research examines the philosophy of William Morris, how this influenced his founding of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (S.P.A.B.) in 1877, and how this Society functioned in Victorian Great Britain. Two case studies, specifying the S.P.A.B.'s involvement with Westminster Abbey and Edinburgh Castle, are highlighted to detail how the Society operated in secular and ecclesiastical situations. The research concludes with an appraisal of the S.P.A.B. in the twentieth century.

This research emphasizes primary source materials, such as letters and annual reports, from the S.P.A.B archive in London. These materials demonstrate how the S.P.A.B. met their goals of historic preservation in specific cases. Finally, they reflect how Morris and the Society gradually impressed upon the public and architects the ideological problems with the Gothic revival popular in Victorian restoration.