Salisbury is always symbolised by its cathedral spire and the physical dominance of that magnificent building over the surrounding city is as impressive today as it was in medieval times. The two elements of Salisbury - the cathedral and the city - owe their existence to each other and the relationship between the authorities on opposite sides of the Close wall dominated the early centuries when the new town was developing its independent identity. The shape of the city was laid down in the 13th century and the essence of the planned medieval town with its chequer system can still be easily traced. Growth since then has spread outwards from this original core but the importance of the Market Place still draws both residents and visitors back to the centre. 'Continuity and change' may be a familiar phrase but it summarises Salisbury both architecturally and as a community. A recurring theme is the continued use of old buildings for changed functions. By such gentle adaptations wholesale destruction and rebuilding have been avoided.
This important new book traces the development of Salisbury as a market, as an industrial town, as a transport hub, and as a social and service centre. Its authors have very successfully met the challenge of producing a comprehensive, concise and readable volume, generously and intelligently illustrated. It will provide a valuable source of reference and also excite the imagination through its fascinating insights into the lives of past citizens. A splendid synthesis of well-researched facts and entertaining anecdotes, this is local history writing at its best.