Wargrave Local History Society

Archive of Talks

1998
April 14 Laureen Williamson

Bodging and Other Woodland Crafts
Laureen  gave a fascinating look at lost local crafts.

May 12 Judith Hunter

The Making of Slough
From a hamlet to a modern town.

June 9 Tim Allen

The Eton Rowing Lake Excavation
Tim, from the Oxford Archaeological Unit, told  us of the current archaeological work.

July 14 Armine Edmonds

Historic Walk of Sonning

September 8 Peter Delaney

Wargrave from the 11th to the 20th Century
A look at the history of our village.

October 13 Sue Read Touring the Victorian Thames
November 10 Doug Noyes

How Reading has Changed
An audio-visual presentation  covering the Friar Street, Market Place, and Broad Street part of Reading.

1999
January 12 Joanna Power

Warren Row
A history of the Church and the village.

February 9 Luke Over

The Province of Wealdham
Another in our series about the surrounding communities, covering Shottesbrooke and White Waltham.

April 13 Steve Capel-Davis

Locks and Weirs
Tracing the history of locks and weirs on the River Thames

May 11  

Visit to the River and Rowing Museum, Henley on Thames
Talk by the Curator, Jane Bowen.

June 8  

Historical Walk - The Loddon
A guided walk as part of the 1999 Wargrave Village Festival.

September 14  

Down Memory Lane
Wargrave residents reminisce; an event of the Wargrave Millennium Village Festival.

October 12 Brian Boulter Town Museum to Heritage Centre.
The Maidenhead Heritage Centre
2000
January 11 Peter Halman

At the heart of an Empire
The changing scene in the Thames Valley during Victoria's reign..

February 8 Peter Delaney Madam Tussaud is buried in Wargrave, Question Mark
Some pitfalls that beset the unwary researcher.
April 11 Ben Ford

The Oracle Excavations
Ben was part of the archaeological team on the site in Reading, so was in a unique position to tell us of the rich history of this area

May 9 Sue Branfoot

The Nineteenth Century Church
Sue - distantly related to George Gilbert Scott - has made a special study of nineteenth century churches

June 13 Selina Avent Living History
Some houses at Crazies Hill and their owners.
July 9   A Visit to Dorney Court
A private conducted tour of this famous Tudor house.
September 12 Dr Jill Eyres Local geology
The basis for all our local history, affecting the development of settlements, agriculture, industry etc, is the ground on which we live
October 10 Brian Eighteen Water Mills on the River Loddon
Brian returns with a slide presentation, from the source of the Loddon to the Thames at Wargrave
November 14 Professor E Collins Historical Issues Local Historians Might Address
Professor Collins, President of the Berkshire Local History Association, will explore how our local history relates to the wider community
2001
January 9 Geoff Brooks The Berkshire Fire Brigade
With special emphasis on the Wargrave Fire Station
February 13 David Burfitt Hurley
Another in our series about nearby villages. David is one of the authors of the recent book on Hurley
April 11 Trevor Ottlewski Berkshire Beyond The Obvious
A presentation in which Trevor spoke about a variety of lesser known sites in Berkshire, including some very local examples.
May 8 Dennis Johnson Brickworks in Berkshire
A history of the brick and tile industry that operated from the brickworks of Berkshire
June 12 Village Festival Walks / Exhibition / Fete / Parade
July 8 Society Visit Police Museum Visit This year we were able to visit the fascinating Police Museum, set in delightful grounds at Sulhamstead.
September 11 Luke Over The Railway Comes to Maidenhead
We welcomed back Luke to tell us about the early history of the Great Western Railway in our area.
October 9 Down Memory Lane Crazies Hill Memories
This year our Down Memory Lane looked specifically at the Crazies Hill, Cockpole Green and Upper Culham part of the parish.
November 13 Tina Marinos Wokingham
Tina spoke of the history of this old and interesting local town .
December 11 Alan Copeland Christmas Party
Alan  entertained us with a presentation of "Curiosities on your Doorstep"
2002
January 8 Angela Spencer-Harper Dipping into the Wells
Angela spoke about the history of the Chiltern villages of Stoke Row and Highmoor
February 12 Sheila and Patrick Rooney Fires of Windsor Castle
The 1992 fire was the latest of several that Sheila and Patrick told us about, as well as the restoration work that was then needed.
April 9 Ted Wallington The Air Transport Auxiliary
Ted talked about this important war-time group, which had its base at nearby White Waltham.
May 14 Jane Bowen

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Henley from the Wargrave Road
Jane (curator of the River and Rowing Museum) talked about the museum, its history and development, and plans for the future.

The A'Bear family gathering
Around 80 members of the family held a reunion.

June 18 Society Visit Whitchurch Silk Mill
An afternoon visit to this working survival of the industrial revolution
July 23 Peter Symons Wargrave and Shiplake Regatta
A talk about the history and running of this important village event.
September 10 Matthew Williams Huntley and Palmers
A talk about this important and famous local business.
October 8 Prof. Michael Fulford Silchester
Professor Fulford talked about this Roman town (the nearest to Wargrave) in the light of the current excavations.
November 12 Ken Goatley Wokingham Past and Present
Ken showed us part one of this history of this local market town, with present day views as well as old ones
December 10 Christmas Party
2003
January 14 Ken Goatley Wokingham Past and Present
Ken showed us part two of this history of this local market town, with present day views as well as old ones
February 11 Angela Spencer-Harper Dipping into the Wells - (Pt 2)
Angela returned to tell us more about the history of the Chiltern villages of Stoke Row and Highmoor
March 11 Annual General Meeting
The President, Lord Remnant,  led a discussion on changes in Wargrave over the last 50 years.
April 8 Trevor Ottlewski Timber Framed Buildings
Trevor talked about the design of these buildings, and the tools and methods used in their construction
May 13 Rosalind Adams Walton Adams
This local family of photographers - Walton, Marcus and Gilbert Adams - were noted Royal photographers, as well as recording local subjects - and for a while lived in Wargrave.
June Historic Walks Historic Village Walk
As part of the Village Festival, the Society organised two walks, one of them followed by supper and a quiz in The White Hart.
July 8 Outing Taplow Court
A private afternoon visit.
September 9 Brian Eighteen Rural Life
Brian returned to talk to us this time about rural lives, illutrated  by views from old postcards.
October 14 Theo Ziffo The Motor Industry in the Thames Valley
Theo spoke about the history of some of the motor manufacturing companies that have existed in this area from Dagenham to Oxford.
November 11 Bruce Maidment
Tom Berman
Hennerton and the Backwater
Bruce and Tom told us about this peaceful area of the village.
December 9 Christmas Party Christmas Party
Members met over a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie to view some interesting slides of previous Society visits from Geoff Brigg's collection.
2004
January 13 Margaret Houlbrooke The History of the Suffragettes
Margaret has made a special study of the Suffragettes (who - reputedly - caused the fire at St Mary's Wargrave in 1914)
February 10 Bob Whiteley The Woodclyffe Almshouses
Bob has researched the Almshouses, and shared with us their history and what previously occupied the site
March 9 AGM The Annual General Meeting
Followed by a chance to look at a number of objects and photographs relevant to our village history, brought by our members.
April 13 Geoff Briggs and David Bounds Henley Ancient and Modern
Geoff & David showed us one of their special audio-visual presentaions, this one concentrating on the local market town of Henley
May 11 Colin Henwood Traditional Boatbulding on the Thames
Colin is a boatbuilder specialising in traditional Thames boats, and told us about some of the historically interesting boats of the River Thames.
June 8 David Nash Ford The A’Bear Family
David talked to us about his research into the history of the A’Bear family, who lived in Wargrave for over 600 years.
July 7 Outing An outing
to the Pendon Museum followed by tea at Dorchester Abbey and a chance to hear about the recent archaeological and restoration work.
September 14 Ann Bushnell The Piggott Infant School The School moved about 40 years ago from Victoria Road to Beverley Gardens. Ann (Headmistress for much of that period)  shared with us her memories of the school, at both sites.
October 12 Patrick Fennessey The Skiff Rowing Association Patrick told us about skiff and punting activities on the River Thames.
November 9 Sandra Swan The Wargrave Surgery Sandra told us about the changes that occurred in her time as one of our village doctors
December 14 Christmas Party Christmas Party
2005
January 11 Margaret Railton Waltham St. Lawrence
Margaret told us this time about the neighbouring village of Waltham St Lawrence
February 8 Ron Smith Edwin Lutyens and his Two Ladies
The famous architect, Edwin Lutyens had several Wargrave connections - both of his work and people he knew.
March 8 AGM The Annual General Meeting 
Followed by another of Geoff Briggs' excellent tape/slide presentations on the village.
April 12 Jean Debney What's In a Name?
Jean, a well known family historian and broadcaster, spoke to us about the meanings of members' surnames
May 10 Michael Bayley The Survival of Lowland British Words and Phrases
Michael told us about the spoken language, as used by local farm workers, 100 years or so ago.
June Wargrave Village Festival Historic Village Walks on June 7th and 12th
Festival Fete and Parade on June 18th 
July 12 Local History Visit An Outing to Milestones Museum at Basingstoke
September 13 John Dearing Hymn Writers Connected with Berkshire
John told us about several of the local hymn writers - with a chance to sing some of their work!
October 11 Margaret Houlbrooke Decades of Discipline
Margaret told us about life in the workhouses and the punishments therein, with examples from local institutions.
November 8 Alan Copeland Curiosities in the Chilterns
Alan returned to show us more of the "unusual" - this time in the area from Reading, Windsor, Amersham and Beaconsfield.
December 13 Christmas Party Christmas Party
2006
January 10 John Gimblett
Ian Small
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission
John and Ian told us about their records of those who "died in the service of their country".
February 14 Maurice Owen Wargrave's Gardens and Gardeners
Maurice recounted his memories of the grand gardens of Wargrave and some of the characters who lived and worked there.
March 14 A G M The Annual General Meeting
Followed by a chance to look at a number of objects and photographs relevant to our village history, brought by our members.
2006
April 11 John Chapman Postal History of Reading
John spoke about the development of the postal services with examples from the Reading area
May 9 Paul Lacey Thames Valley Traction
Paul told us more about the ‘local’ bus company, in the 1920s and 30s this time.
June 13 Edward Fox Wheelwrights as a Rural Craft
Edward is a skilled wheelwright, and told us about this now rare rural craft
July 11 Local History Visit A special conducted tour of Eton College , including the College Chapel, College Hall Upper School and Lower School and the Museum of  Eton Life
September 12 Colin Hennell Metal Detectors - History beneath our feet.
Colin explained the ways in which a metal detector can help us discover some of our history, the legal position, and showed examples of what can be found.
October 10 Andrew Hutt Dovecotes and Pigeon Lofts of Old Berkshire
Andrew explained the history of pigeon keeping, dovecotes and pigeon lofts in Berkshire, based on evidence from the surviving buildings and historical records.
November 14 Brian Boulter The Stagecoach Era
Stage coaches used to carry people on longer journeys along the Bath Road, and Brian returns to tell us about this way of travelling.
Unfortunately Brian had to cancel this visit to speak to us. Instead, the meeting was a slide programme consisting of a brand new set of "Images of Wargrave Then and Now".
December 12 Christmas Party Christmas Party
2007
January 9 Tony Weston Secrets of the Box
Tony inherited a family writing desk - and within a secret compartment were documents dating from the 1820s.
February 13 The WLHS Team "Researching Your Ancestree"
Maybe you have been watching "Who Do You Think You Are?" on television, or have been wanting to find out who your ancestors are, or build your family tree. But how do you get started? What are the 'practical problems'? What are the 'traps for the unwary'? The Wargrave Local History Society presented an introduction to the process of tracing your family history, with practical advice and illustrated by examples of interest. There were ideas on how to get started, what kind of records are useful, where to look, etc given by members who are actively involved in this kind of research.
March 13 A G M The Annual General Meeting 
Followed by a slide programme consisting of the second part of the new set of "Images of Wargrave Then and Now".
April 10 Tony King Victorian Shopping
Tony took us on a shopping trip as it would have been in Victorian times.
May 8 Laureen Williamson The History of Housework
Laureen came back to talk to us about the way domestic tasks have changed over the years
June   Village Festival
The Society conducted a Local History walk on 13th June, and participated in the Festival Parade and Fete on 23rd June.
July 10 Local History Visit Visit to Highclere Castle, near Newbury. The home of the Earl of Carnarvon with grand rooms, pleasant gardens and a museum relating to Howard Carter's Tutankhamun discoveries.
September 11 Cameron Floate Policing the Village
Cameron was our village policeman in the 1950s  and 60s, and shared his memories which are an interesting comparison with the present day.
October 9 Pam Cardy Sheeplands Farm and Farm Shop
Pam told us about the development of the farm and the farm shop, which have been part of the village for 44 and 26 years respectively.
November 13 Trevor Ottlewski Wokingham's Town Halls
The present town hall in Wokingham is not the first, and Trevor told us about the history of the earlier building as well as the present one.
December 11 Christmas Party Christmas Party
2008
January 8 David Embling History of English Furniture
David is an experienced cabinet maker, who specialises in restoring English furniture, and he told us about this, illustrated by examples he has worked on.
February 12 Joan Dils Victorian Earley
In another of our series about the communities around Wargrave, Joan talked about the area that is now modern housing, as it was in the 19th Century.
March 11 A G M The Annual General Meeting
A small amount of business followed by "an item of special local interest" - a first view of some of the Postcards from The Bird Collection 
April 8 Dr Jill Greenaway Secrets from the Depths
Jill Greenaway, from the Museum of Reading, told us about items from the Thames water collection.
May 13 Jill Wallace
Gabi Bolton
Caversham Park
Two representatives from BBC Monitoring told us about the history of this large imposing house overlooking the Thames and the work of their unit there.
June 10 Tony Barker The Wargrave News
Will be 30 years old this year, and Tony, who has been involved in its editing and managament, told us of the history and development of our "village newspaper"
July 8 Local History Visit Visit to The Vyne  Sherborne St. John - the National Trust 16th century house and grounds with its Tudor Chapel.
September 9 Brian Boulter The Stage Coach Era
Stage coaches used to carry people on longer journeys along the Bath Road, and Brian returned to tell us about this way of travelling 
October 14 Michael Pooley Shiplake Lock Island
"Comments on an unusual way of life" - Michael spoke about the unique way the Islanders enjoy the open air, river and locality of Wargrave and Shiplake.
November 11 David Lee Wessex Film and Sound Archive
David brought films from the Wessex Film and Sound Archive, including some local items, to show us.
December 9 Christmas Party Christmas Party
2009
January 13 Peter Johnson Hare Hatch
Peter was for many years the Farm Manager for Bear Place Farm, and spok about aspects of the history of Hare Hartch, and the possible lines of local rivers in thr area
February 10 John Ratings Memories of a Vicar
One year on from his retirement, John recalled some of the events and activities in the village with which he has been associated.
March 10 A G M The Annual General Meeting
A small amount of business followed by "an item of special local interest" - a trip "Down Memory Lane" with some long term residents of the Village.   
April 14 Angela Spencer-Harper The Old Place
Angela returned to tell us this time about historical artefacts found in south-east Oxfordshire, as recorded in her latest book.
May 12 Stephen Loyd Ruscombe Wood
Stephen told us about the natural history and conservation work being done in Ruscombe Wood.
June 14/27 Village Festival The Wargrave Village Festival
The Society again providied an Historic Walk of Wargrave , on June 14th, and took part in the Village Festival fete day.
July 14 Local History Visit Milton Manor House This year we have an exclusive visit to an elegant 18th century house built by Inigo Jones for Bryant Barrett, lacemaker to King George III. The house is set in a splendid garden location with two lakes and enjoyable woodland walks, and we have arranged for a special guided tour and tea for Wargrave Local History Society.
September 8 Martin Bishop Bats, Balls and Biscuits
The Huntley and Palmer's biscuit factory cricket team is the focus of this look at the social and economic history of the company workers, and the development of cricket locally.
October 13 Sarah Charlton Berkshire Manorial Records
Berkshire had over 350 manors, and records survive for over 250 of them - a useful source for family and local history of the communities over which their landowners had legal control. Sarah is the project officer indexing the Berkshire and Buckinghamshire manorial documents and told us about them and how to locate them.
November 10 Bill Bookless Wargrave Scouts
The Wargrave Scout Troop was formed in 1909 (one of the earliest in the country), and so is celebrating its centenary this year. Bill nad Nigel Board spoke on some aspects of its history and current activities.
December 8 Christmas Party Christmas Party
2010
January 12 Ted Fox My Life as a Countryman
Ted has worked in the countryside all his life and shared some more of his memories with us.
February 9 Dick Bush A stroll through my life as a farmer, and the work of a Parish Council
Dick (and his family) has farmed in Wargrave; he is also chairman of the Wargrave Parish Council and will give an insight into its work.
March 9 A G M The Annual General Meeting    After normal business, a presentation was made of some of the contents of three Victorian Photo Albums of Harriette Cooke Smith. 
April 13 Maureen Fennemore and Judi Rowlands

How to source and prepare costumes for Wargrave Theatre Workshop productions.
Maureen and Judi gave us an insight into how they research and produce the costumes for the Wargrave Theatre Workshop’s productions in the village.

April 27 Stephen Loyd

Walk of Ruscombe Woods 
Stephen will take us on a walk to discover many of the flora that grow in this protected woodland.

May 11 Geoff Horsnell

Shiplake Lock
Geoff gave us an insight into his role as a lock-keeper on the Thames.

June 8 Michael Parsons

Brakspear Brewery 
Michael - who was Managing Director at the brewery - told us of the history of this famous local firm.

July 7 Local History Visit

Science Museum at Wroughton
This year we arranged for a visit to the rarely open Science Museum site at Wroughton, including the large object store and archives there.

September 14 Marshall Barr

The Royal Berkshire  and Battle Hospitals
Marshall Barr - chairman of the Berkshire Medical Heritage Centre - told us about the history of the principal hospital for our area.

October 12 David Poynter and Chris Wood

The Robert Piggott Junior School 
David is a former Headmaster of our village junior school, and recounted some of his memories from his time on School Hill. Chris Wood worked with another former Headmaster, Adrian Downton, and recalled that period as well.

November 9 Tony Weston

A Woman in Wax
Tony told of Madame Tussaud and the famous waxworks

December 14 Christmas Party Christmas Party "What do you think this is?" questions - and some answers.
2011
January 11 Duncan MacKay

The Secret Thames
Duncan - who worked with the Environment Agency - will tell us about less obvious aspects of the Thames. 

February 8 Trevor Ottlewski

History of Domestic Lighting
Trevor returned to give us another of his informative - and illuminating - talks.

March 8 A G M The Annual General Meeting
April 12 Tony King

The Old Bath Road
Tony returned to give us another of his presentations, this time taking us on a journey along the historic Old Bath Road from London as far as Reading.

May 10 Gerry Westall

Suttons Seeds
Gerry was a long term employee of Suttons Seeds, and showed us two films about the work that went on there - one of the 3 'B's' of Reading.

June 12

Village Festival - Historic Village Walks
Once again, as part of the Wargrave Village Festival, the Society offered a chance to walk the historic centre of the village, and hear about the people, places and events of time past. Umbrellas were essential!

July 5 Local History Visit

Stonor House
This year we had a private guided tour of Stonor House - a fascinating collection of medieval buildings behind a Georgian facade in Oxfordshire, and home of the Camoys family for 850 years.

September 13 Peter Smith

The Royal State Coaches
Peter has made detailed scale models of the Royal State Coaches, and uses these to illustrate the characteristics and uses of these magnificent carriages.

October 11 Geoff Brooks

Memories of Cockpole Green
Geoff was born and brought up in Cockpole Green, and shared some of his memories of time past in this part of our parish.

November 8 Derek Brown

Consuta
Derek told us about the work of the Consuta Trust, of which he is a trustee which has restored to working condition the old steam launch built to umpire rowing races at The Henley Royal Regatta.

December 13 Christmas Party Christmas Party
2012
January 10 Rob Needham

Wargrave Bells and Bellringing
Rob is involved with bell ringing locally, and told us about the history of the Wargrave church bells and the art of bellringing.

February 14 Marion Pope

Memories of my time in Wargrave
Marion has long been involved in village life - from Scouting to the Bowls Club, and her long service on the Parish Council, and she recounted some of her memories of village life, and how it has changed, over that time.

March 13 A G M The Annual General Meeting
April 10 John Coulson

The Crofton Beam Engines
The water supply to the Kennet and Avon Canal is provided by the Crofton Beam Engines. They are the oldest surviving such engines still doing the task for which they were built - the one built by Boulton and Watt this year celebrating its 200th anniversary. John gave us an insight into their fascinating story.

May 8 Ann Armstrong

Life in the Land Army
Ann told us about her experiences as a member of the Land Army during World War II.

May 16 Ann Griffin Historic Walk around Cookham
June 12 Ann Griffin

Cookham Paddock 2005 Excavation
An archaeological excavation took place in 2005 of the paddock adjacent to Holy Trinity Church at Cookham, and Ann with Joy Blake told us about the discoveries made there.

July 3 Local History Visit

Fawley Hill Railway and Museum
This year Society members visited the museum and railway of Sir William McAlpine, at Fawley Hill, for a private tour, followed by afternoon tea in the station.

September 11 Geoff and Val Beckett

Berkshire Lady Fliers
Geoff and Val presented stories photographs and paintings of lady aviators in Berkshire.

October 9 Prof Ted Collins

Horses on and off the Farm
Professor Collins, who is the President of the Berkshire Local History Association, explored the ways in which working horses were used both in the agricultural setting and within towns.

November 13 Clive Williams OBE

The Nabobs of Berkshire
Clive, author of the recent book on the subject, told us about the Nabobs of Berkshire - merchants of the East India Company who subsequently returned to Britain, and mostly settling in the Thames Valley, where they built large mansions - many of which still survive in Berkshire.

December 11 Christmas Party Christmas Party
2013
January 8 Brian Armstrong

Experiences of a Rowing Coach 
Brian is a coach for the England Rowing team, and spoke about his involvement with them - including the preparations for the 2012 Olympics.

February 12 Aldon Ferguson

Local Airfields
Aldon is an aviation historian, and enlightened us about local airfields in Berkshire - the not so well known as well as the well known ones .

March 12 A G M

The Annual General Meeting; 1840 Tithe Map & Terrier Following the formal part of the meeting, a presentation by Philip Smith on the history of his house in the village, and people who had lived there, was shown, and then Peter Delaney and Richard Lloyd showed how the Wargrave tithe map and its associated terrier (together making the earliest fully detailed survey of the village) and the 1841 census could be used to discover much about the village's inhabitants and the use of the land at that time.

April 9 Michael Aris & Neville White

The The Duke of Wellington's Country House at Stratfield Saye
The Duke of Wellington is famous, of course, as victor at the Battle of Waterloo. His 'reward' from the country for doing so enabled him to acquire Stratfield Saye, as his country home and Michael and Neville recalled both the history of the man and the house.

May 14 Leslie Grout St George's Chapel, Windsor
Leslie, a local historian and 'Blue Badge' guide to Windsor Castle, shared his detailed knowledge of St George's Chapel with us. (It was his 'specialist subject' when he won Mastermind!). 

June 22 Village Festival History Exhibition
A chance to see items from our archive, showing how the village has changed over the last hundred years or more, on display in the Woodclyffe Hall.
June 23

Village Festival - Historic Village Walk
As part of the Wargrave Village Festival, the Society again conducted a walk in the historic village centre, to hear about the people, places and events of time past.

July 10 Local History Visit Hughenden Manor
This year we will visit Hughenden, home to the 19th century Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. We can also find out about the top-secret war-time activities there, and - being a WLHS visit - we will then have afternoon tea in the Manor Tea-room.

September 10 Mildred Cookson

The Life and Times of a Miller at Mapledurham
Mildred, who is involved with the Mills Archive Trust, was the miller at Mapledurham, the only still working water mill on the Thames, for many years, and so uniquely qualified to tell the story of milling there.

October 8 Norman Rees

Experiences as an ITN Reporter
Norman was an ITN reporter, and he recalled some of his experiences reporting from many of the world's troublespots, and also for many years as ITN's Washington correspondent.

November 12 Dr. Elise Fraser

The Archaeology of Silchester
Silchester is the site of a large Roman settlement, and Elise is the finds manager for the archaeological excavations there. She can, therefore, give us a special insight into life in the Roman town.

December 10 Christmas Party Christmas Party
Including excerpts from George Beck's Diary and "old and new" photographs of the changing face of Wargrave.

2014
January 14 Fred Freeman Life as the Village Chemist
Fred was for many years Wargrave's pharmacist, at first in the High Street before moving to Victoria Road, and recounted some of his memories serving the village.

February 11 Patsy Roynon

History of Loddon Drive
The area around the mouth of the River Loddon was developed during the 20th century, and Loddon Drive resident Patsy escaped from the floods to tell us about the history of Loddon Drive and the houses there.

March 11 A G M

The Annual General Meeting
Following the formal part of the meeting, presentations by Philip Smith on the history of the Woodclyffe Allotments and by Geoff Briggs on the Silver family of Wargrave and Magic Lanterns were shown, followed by a video of the recent flooding of the Rivers Thames and Loddon, by kind permission of the Henley Standard.

April 8 Elizabeth Hazeldine

Fillets Court and the Families who Passed Through the Estate
Elizabeth told us about the history of Fillets Court at Henley - the location of a house from the 14th century which is now the site of Phyllis Court.

May 13 Caroline Stanford The Work of the Landmark Trust
Caroline's illustrated talk about the Trust's work and latest projects. Based at White Waltham, it has been saving historic buildings at risk for nearly 50 years, restoring them to the highest standards and giving them a new future by letting them for holidays, and now cares for almost 200 amazing buildings and sites across Britain and beyond. 

June 10 Mark Stevens Broadmoor
Mark is senior archivist at the Berkshire Record Office, and has made a special study of the Broadmoor Hospital, and shared with us the history of this special institution.
June 25 Local History Visit Bentley Priory
Bentley Priory is an 18th century house built on the site of an Augustinian Priory, and was the Headquarters of Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain in 1940. We visited the newly opened museum there, set up as a permanent memorial to those who served in the Royal Air Force and fought in the Battle.

September 9 Joan Dils

Tudor and Stuart Feasts
Well known local historian Joan returns to tell us about life in Tudor and Stuart Berkshire, based on the contemporary accounts of events and festivals.

October 14 Barbara Askew

The Windsor Fire Restoration
Following the disastrous fire at Windsor Castle in November 1992, there was a major project to restore the building to its former glory, and Barbara showes us howthis was achieved.

November 11 Dr. Christina Hill-Williams

The History and Role of the High Sheriff of Berkshire
Christina, as a former High Sheriff of Berkshire, gave us a personal insight into the history and duties of this ancient office.

December 9 Christmas Party Christmas Party

2015
January 13 Trevor Ottlewski Purpose-built Villages
Not all villages are old established like Wargrave, and Trevor told us about some of the villages that were specially created by wealthy philanthropists in the last 200 years

February 10 Peter Hearn

Hennerton from Eggs to Golf Balls
Peter told us about the ways in which the family business diversified from farming to a successful golf club.

March 10 A G M

The Annual General Meeting

April 14 Dr. Phillada Ballard

Culham Court
Culham Court stands in what was the northern part of the parish of Wargrave (although now within Remenham), and Dr Ballard has made a special study of the property and its owners, and enlightened us about its history over several centuries.

May 12 Sheila Viner Water Mills on the Thames andLoddon
Sheila is actively involved in the Mills Archive Trust, and in the history and restoration of water mills. She told us about many of the mills that used to exist along our two local rivers 

June 14 Local History Walk Village Festival
The walk took us around Mill Green, Church Street and the High Street, when stories about some of the historic buildings and their occupants were recounted.
June 17 Thomas Plant Village Festival
Well known antiques expert Thomas Plant - familiar to many from several television series - gave us an insight into his work as an antiques and collectables valuer and auctioneer. As part of the Wargrave Village Festival, this took place in the Woodclyffe Hall.
July 14 Local History Visit Bletchley Park
This year we spent the day visiting Bletchley Park, home of the codebreakers during WW2. There is an extensive range of buildings, and the displays include the 'Bombe' used to help crack the Enigma code.
September 8 David Ward

The Geology of Bowsey Hill
David described the structure of Bowsey Hill, rising to the east of the village - its soil and the rocks beneath us, which affect the crops that grow, the minerals available for buildings, and so on, which are the foundations of our local history.

October 13 Roy Sheppard

The History of Postcard Collecting
Roy is a local postcard collector and dealer, and leading member of the Reading Cigarette Card and Postcard Club and will tell us how postcard collecting began, and how it has changed over the years.

November 10 Anthony Poulton-Smith

Berkshire Place Names
Anthony is the author of a recent book on Berkshire's place names, their origins, meanings, and how they have changed.

December 8 Christmas Party Christmas Party
A celebration of Christmas customs over the millennia

2016
January 12 Phil Davis Families and Aspects of the History of Hennerton
Phil has been researching the history of the house at Hennerton, and some of those - notably the Rhodes family - who lived there. Their lives impacted on more than just the local area, and Phil shared with us what he has discovered about six such characters.

February 9 Ann Griffin Large, Dark and Handsome - The Revd James Austen Leigh of Knowl Hill
Ann has gathered together aspects of the Austen Leigh famiily of Scarletts, Kiln Green (with its connections to Jane Austen) and the building of St Peter's Church in Knowl Hill.

March 8 A G M

The Annual General Meeting
Review of the year, followed by John Fryer reminiscing on his life in Wargrave before and just after the War.

April 12 Ann Smith

100 Years of Reading Shopping
Ann is one of the librarians at Reading Central Library, and has made a study of shops and shopping over the past century, and told us of their history, the changes in shopping habits.

May 10 Valerie Alasia Henley Workhouse - the Story of Townlands
Valerie, a Henley local historian, told us about the history of, and life in, Henley's Workhouse. 

June 14 David Williams The Work of the Finds Liaison Officer
Thousands of archaeological objects are discovered by metal-detector users and members of the public every year. These finds can tell us about the past - how and where people used to live and the types of objects they made and used. The Portable Antiquities Scheme ensures these are recorded, which is the work of the Finds Liaison Officer, and David is the person responsible for East Berkshire (and Surrey), and told us of his work, and some of the items discovered.
July 12 Local History Visit Chawton
This year we visited Chawton, once home of Jane Austen (Jane's aunt and uncle had lived in Wargrave and another relation was vicar of Wargrave). In the morning, we have a guided visit to Chawton House, an interesting house, housing the Chawton House Library, and then after a break for lunch, we visited the Jane Austen House Museum in the afternoon.
September 13 Peter Delaney

Wargravians and World War 1
The village war memorial records the names of those who died during the war, but they were not the only villagers involved in 1914-18. We heard about some of those who died and some of those who survived the conflict.

October 11 Sue Hourigan

The Preservation of Archive Records
Sue is the conservationist at the Berkshire Record Office, and told us about the ways in which the archives are preserved for the future.

November 8 Barbara Ratings

My Experiences as a Vicar's Wife from Germany
Barbara shared some of her recollections of life at the vicarage - from her perspective of one who was not familiar with the vicarage, let alone English village life. What were the expectations in 1971? Cucumber sandwiches on the vicarage lawn? How did she learn what to do with "church hankies"? Whatever was she expected to reply when asked by a parishioner "Is Father in?" Are Anglicans Protestants or Catholics? Why could nobody she asked in Germany tell her what the Church of England was about?

December 13 Christmas Party Christmas Party

2017
January 10 Daniel Wood Boats of the River Thames
Dan - who grew up in Wargrave, and worked on the river - recounted some of his experiences of times on the river.

February 14 Graham Jones The Lambourn Valley Railway
The railway branch through this part of Berkshire was not promoted by one of the 'big companies'. It had a special kind of traffic from the start - and a different special kind of traffic at the end of its life. Graham told us about the life of railway and some of the people associated with it.

March 14 A G M

The Annual General Meeting
Following the Annual General Meeting, Peter Symons spoke about the history of the Wargrave and Shiplake Regatta.