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Sharing Memories: weekend of nostalgia

Celebrations at Salisbury Cathedral by Ash Mills
Posted By : Marie Thomas Friday 16th June 2017

A fun-filled Sharing Memories weekend is taking place at the Cathedral from Thursday 3 to Sunday 6 August with an outdoor cinema, children’s activities, a picnic on the West lawn with Swing Unlimited Big Band entertainment and a special day of talks, displays and activities looking back at the last 70 years of the Cathedral’s most famous attribute, its Spire.  


The weekend, which is part of our year-long Memory and Identity themed events kicks off with the Lost Cinema’s showing of the 1986 classic Top Gun, the film that secured Tom Cruise’s place amongst the Hollywood aristocracy.


Top Gun will be shown on Thursday 3 August at 20.00 on the Chapter House lawn on the South East side of the Cathedral. The venue opens at 19.30 and tickets are £12, available on the Cathedral website. A chance to renew old memories whilst making new ones. A second Lost Cinema screening of the 1987 romantic hit, Dirty Dancing, on Friday 4 August has already sold out.


In the North Transept a new free-to-visit exhibition mounted by archivist Emily Naish and volunteers will also be taking a backwards glance, covering the last seven decades in our famous Spire’s history.


Salisbury Spire: The Last Seventy Years will include original photos, documents from the archive and footage of the Spire, recalling the restoration and maintenance of this Wiltshire landmark. The exhibition opens on Wednesday 2 August and runs until Sunday 3 September.


The Library and Archives volunteer team will also be running a series of talks and participation sessions on Saturday 5 August, as part of a special Archive Discovery Day.


The talks, given by individual researchers trace the C20 and C21 century history of the Spire. Topics include the 1950s restoration of the Spire, the huge concert put on to raise money for the Spire in 1986 with stars including Placido Domingo and Charlton Heston and the discovery of a relic in the Spire capstone.


The Archive Discovery Day opens with a Welcome at 10.00 from Emily in the North Transept in which she will outline the reasons for and the achievements of the Last Seventy Years research project. Individual Spire volunteer talks then follow at 10.30, 11.15, 13.30 and 14.15.

A special Share our Spire session in the afternoon provides further time and space for individuals to exchange Spire memories and general knowledge as part of a collective discussion. All those who wish to join in should gather in the North Transept at 15.00.


Visitors and locals are also invited to participate in the Last Seventy Years research project themselves, contributing their own stories and pictures via a manned Memories Booth set up in the North Transept. Volunteers will be recording memories and collecting pictures between 10.00 and 12.00 in the morning and 13.00 and 15.00 in the afternoon.


For families with young children there will be activities in the West Cloister on Saturday 5 August, with special Spire building and art-based workshops running from 10.00 to 12.00 and 13.00 to 15.00 in which youngsters can make their own Spire creation. Just turn up and take part.


Those wishing to experiment with a clinometer, or instrument used for measuring tall buildings, can collect their DIY folder at the Welcome desk and get experimenting. The Challenge will be available to enter between 10.00 and 12.00 and 13.00 and 15.00 and those who submit their results could win a trip to the Cathedral Library.


The weekend ends with a band – the Swing Unlimited Big Band. Bring your own picnic, blankets or chairs and settle down to listen to golden oldies, some old time jazz and some modern classics on the West lawn.


If you want to make the event really special, go VIP in the private, roped off area. Book in for a private BBQ lunch supplied by the Cathedral’s catering team, waitress served cream tea and Pimms, plus a private bar. Tickets £40 per person or £100 for a family ticket. Book your place online via the cathedral website.


For futher details and to sign up for any of events requiring book, go to the events page:

  • Thursday 3 August      
    Lost Cinema showing of the 1986 classic Top Gun
  • Wednesday 2 August - Sunday 3 September
    All day
    Salisbury Spire: The Last Seventy Years exhibition
  • Saturday 5 August
    09.00 – 16.00
    Archive Discovery Day
    including talks on C20 and C21 century history of the Spire at 10.30, 11.15, 13.30 and 14.15


10.00 and 12.00 and 13.00 and 15.00
Memories Booth with volunteers collecting visitors’ Spire memories

Share our Spire session, a collective discussion.

And for families
10.00 to12.00 and 13.00 to 15.00
Spire building Workshops for children
Clinometer Challenge

                Sunday 6 August
               Swing Unlimited Big Band on Cathedral lawns

For any other enquiries or further information contact Marie Thomas at Salisbury Cathedral 01722 555148