The March meeting of the Wargrave Local History Society began with the AGM, when the past year was reviewed, a new committee elected, and details of the 2020-21 programme were given.
Following the formal part of the evening, Society Secretary Peter Delaney gave a "Dip into the Archives" - a look at some recent additions to the Society collection.
As well as some 400 original postcard views of the village and 1800 or so photographs, dating from the 1870s onwards, the Society collection includes 19th century copies of the Parish Magazine, a full set of the Wargrave News, maps, plans, sale catalogues and documents relating to village organisations and charities. Apart from 'paper' items, the Society also has various artefacts - from milk bottles from village dairies to part of an American bomber that crashed locally in 1943.
Amongst the new acquisitions were some previously unseen photographs. The Society had also been asked if they would be interested in plans for the planting of trees in the village. They turned out to be more interesting than they sounded, as they - and the accompanying correspondence - dated from the early 1900s, and were still in their original envelope. The plans also showed proposed new roads - one of which had never been built, one was built at about the time of the plan, whilst the third was only constructed in the 1980s. Another set of documents included a set of charity account books - and receipts for various old Wargrave businesses, whilst a programme for a 19th century Wargrave horticultural show made an interesting comparison with a similar event in the 1970s.
Not every item added to the archive is 'old', such as the sales particulars for properties in the village, and they also make for an interesting comparison with similar items from the last century.
The Society is always interested to add items of village interest to its collection, to preserve them as a record of the people, buildings and events in the village.
The Society's latest publication - A Brief History of Wargrave, outlining aspects of village history, illustrated with over 40 photographs from the Society archive, is now available at Society meetings, or at Newberry's in Twyford.
The next meetings would have been on Tuesday, April 14th, when former employee and company archivist Thomas Macey will recall the history of Jackson's of Reading - famous as the last family owned department store in the town, then on Tuesday, May 12th, renowned local historian Dr Margaret Simons will tell us about Reading in World War I; The Home Front 1914 - 18.
However, due to the Coronavirus restrictions, all upcoming meetings are cancelled/postponed/under review until further notice. Just spend some time reading the many reports of the last 22 years of meetings available from the Archive pages.