Howden Civic Society

Help protect and improve our town


Howden Civic Society makes awards in order to encourage achievement of its aims. The following awards are made:



Tom Asquith became a founder member of Howden Civic Society in 1979 after his retirement from a career in teaching. He became chairman of the Society, a post which he held until 1993. He was made Honorary President in 1994 but sadly died the following year.

In his will he left a large bequest to the Civic Society and expressed the wish that the children of the school, where he both studied and taught, should benefit. He also made the request that the Society should open a Heritage Centre, which it did in 2018. Thus the Tom Asquith Award, which is made annually for a piece of writing or artwork relating to the town, was born. This annual competition is supported by the staff of Howden Junior School and involves children in year 4, with different topics for the award being set by the Society each year. Awards are made at the Society’s Annual General Meeting each March.

image_19.jpgThe 2019 competition involved the creation of a guide to Howden for children. You can download the guide at the link below. This was distributed to the visitor information point in the Shire Hall and through Welcome to Yorkshire.



In 1985 Howden Civic Society implemented a Best Building Award Scheme in order to encourage the development or conservation of buildings within the area so that the Conservation Area is enhanced. The intention of the Conservation Area was not to prevent development but to ensure that any development enhanced the Area and maintained its character. By making awards the Society aimed to recognise those developments completed within a calendar year that fulfilled that intention.

For the first few years, awards were made but few records kept so the Society is currently reviewing its early records to establish which buildings were recognised and in which years. In 1996 a number of plaques were donated as a result of the generosity of Hygene Ltd, previous occupiers of the premises now owned by Howden Joinery. 

Since 2008 plaques have been produced which show the year of the award. Awards are not made each year, either because no significant development has taken place or the developments undertaken did not merit an award. Plaques are awarded at the Society’s Annual General Meetings.

It is hoped that a comprehensive record of the awards made and the reasons for those awards will be produced.


Highbridge whole.jpg

In 2002 the Society felt that it would be a good idea to attract attention to the heritage that is Howden and erect plaques on those buildings that were especially worthy of note, from historical, architectural or personality perspectives.

Roger Watkins, wearing yet another of his many hats, led a small group of members in bringing to life this idea. It was decided early in the existence of the group that they should draw on the expertise of Sue Butler and Ken Powles to ensure that the facts that were to be displayed were correct.

Funding was wrested from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the initiative went ahead.

Key buildings were identified and many discussions were held to decide exactly what should be said about each (subject to the approval of the knowledgeable consultants). Orders were placed with a firm called Leander Architecturals in Derbyshire and, eventually, the first plaques were delivered, erected and unveiled. Since then a steady flow of plaques has been put on public view.

Photographs of favoured buildings were taken by Arthur Henrickson and were displayed at one of the Society meetings. A video was created by Chris Goulden showing how Howden School became involved in using the first few plaques as subjects for study.

A free leaflet guiding visitors round the places of note and a more detailed booklet are available from the Shire Hall and Chapplelow's newsagents across the road. We can also post you a copy on application..