The Wick Society was founded in 1971, initially by three people concerned about the redevelopment of Wick and the way that the demolition of old buildings was affecting the character of the town. They identified a clear need to preserve, document and make available the history of the town. As a result, many other local people sought to contribute and membership and the influence of The Wick Society grew.
In 1979 Caithness District Council offered The Wick Society access to a number of empty buildings in Bank Row for the creation of a Heritage Centre. These buildings are in themselves an integral part of Wick’s heritage as they date back to the original Thomas Telford designs.
Bank Row had been the site of destructive World War Two bombs.
Today the Wick Heritage Museum’s Gallery houses a commemorative plaque in memory of the ten children who were killed in two bombing raids on Wick on 1 July 1940 and 26 October 1940. A memorial garden has been laid out on the original bomb site adjacent to our museum
The Museum’s first displays opened to the public in 1981 and they have continued to expand in terms of subject and content as items were either loaned or gifted. Significant work is being done to negotiate the status of many exhibits from ‘ on loan’ into ‘ownership of the Society’. This is one of the key requirements of the accreditation application process of the Scottish Museums Council, a body that The Wick Society continues to work closely with to ensure it meets the necessary criteria.
In the early days most items were accepted ‘on loan’. However, as items with strong local connections were identified the option to purchase was initiated. On the 4 February 2002 the Wick Society bought the land and buildings to the East of the Heritage Centre to enable continuing development. On the 7 January 2004 the Wick Society became a Company Limited by Guarantee and the Wick Heritage Centre became The Wick Heritage Museum.
Wick Society is committed to ‘preserving and promoting Wick’s proud heritage’ for the inspiration of future generations. In this respect Wick Heritage Museum has developed positive links with schools and other youth groups throughout Caithness. Wick Society acknowledges the financial and practical support received, and continues to receive, from local agencies and businesses.
You too can support and play a part as we face a challenging yet exciting future. Together, we can make a difference!