October 31, 2022|News
Wickham Village Life Exhibition – A buzz of activity
508 visitors thronged the WHS Wickham Village Life Exhibition held over the first weekend of October – that worked out at one visitor a minute, with queues to get in at busy times.
It has been 59 years since Wickham History Society last held an exhibition, back in 1963. This (much delayed) exhibition marked the 60th anniversary of the society’s formation in 1960.
As well as displays on aspects of village history through the ages, visitors could look for their houses on the 1840 tithe and 1897 OS maps, browse albums of old photographs, and read through over 60 years of press cuttings, all illustrating Wickham village life.
Display themes included Roman archaeology in Wickham: the war dead of Wickham, the stories of their lives and where they lived: church records of baptisms, marriages and burials. There was a section on the pubs of Wickham, the shops and businesses, and the many local farms. The Chesapeake Mill, the ‘Beverley Babes’ and the Lords of the Manor also made an appearance. On Saturday, we were fortunate to have Glen Ford, of Wickham Nostalgia, bring along his collection of Wickham postcards. Chatting with one visitor, he found out they were related!
Spotting yourself, friends or relatives in old school photos, the cast lists of Wickham Dramatic Society or sports teams was very popular and triggered many joyful memories.
Throughout the two days of the exhibition there was a non-stop buzz of activity. It was wonderful to see so many people researching their ancestry or simply enjoying the photographs and documents. Visitors were inquisitive and viewed the displays with interest, discussing the exhibits with each other as they toured the exhibition.
There were many warm reminiscences of friends, neighbours and classmates from years gone by. People enjoyed looking at old photographs and putting names and anecdotes to faces. Much information was gathered, which will help the History Society to put together a fuller and more vivid picture of the lives of the people of Wickham through the years.
We had over twenty follow-up enquiries or offers of information, including the history of buildings in the village and photos of village events. Five people expressed an interest in being interviewed for our Oral History Project – this is where you are recorded telling your story of what it was like to grow up in Wickham and things you saw and did.
We sold 153 history society publications, including 73 copies of Mike Hollis’ booklet on Roman Wickham, launched at the exhibition.
The hard work put in by the team to make the exhibition a success paid off in a big way! Many visitors remarked that the two days had been brilliant and wanted to know when the next one will be. Being a village with so much history, hopefully it will not be too long before that will happen, but please let the committee recover first…!