Voices from the Assize Court

Recording memories of Devizes Assize Court.

An imposing stone building on the road into Devizes from Bath housed one of Wiltshire’s courts of justice until 1971. The building – the Devizes Assize Court – has been empty since the 1980s, but we are working to bring the building back to life as a new home for Wiltshire Museum. The Voices from the Assize Court project records and shares memories of the former Assize Court, the part it plays in the town’s history and in people’s lives.

Our friendly team of interviewers recorded memories which were written up into a booklet and created a small special exhibition. Most importantly, these crucial memories have been recorded for future generations and will help tell the story of the building, when it can be restored. We are grateful to all those who give us their stories.

Do you have a story that you would like to tell us? Email hello@wiltshiremuseum.org.uk to let us know! We'd love to hear from you.

The Exhibition

Panels from the exhibition, full of quotes from the interviews.

Available in the Museum and our online shop

20th February, 7.30pm

Highlights from the interviews

Acknowledgements and Thanks

This exciting oral history project to record memories of Devizes Assize Court was supported by the Arts Council England National Lottery Projects Fund.

The Team:-

  • Linda Redden and Helen Meikle - students from the Bath Spa University Heritage Management Postgraduate course
  • Volunteers who trained in oral history recording and helped with the project
  • Padmini Broomfield - Oral History and Heritage Consultant
  • Jane Schon - Wiltshire Museum Collections Officer
  • Rachael Holtom - Wiltshire Museum Development Officer

Project Updates

What happens in an oral history interview ...

Read more

Exciting future for the Assize Court

Restoring the Assize Court is a long-term project. Good progress has been made, with imaginative plans developed by our Architects - Purcell. We have carried out a wide-ranging community consultation and developed our ideas for how the building can be used.

The next step is to raise funding to develop the project. The Devizes Assize Court Trust and Wiltshire Museum are talking to potential funders and a major fund-raising campaign will be launched when these initial stages take place. Fundraising is likely to take 4 years to raise the £12.7m needed and it will take a similar amount of time to restore the building. Find out more about the plans from this video.

View of the front of the Grecian columns of the Devizes Assize Court

We are working with the Devizes Assize Court Trust, which now owns the building. They are working to safeguard the building and to secure its future as a community hub and the new home of the Wiltshire Museum.

Copyright: Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society