May 27, 2023|News | Reports

Wickham History Society: Annual Report 2022 – 2023

Chair’s Introduction
Now we are in our sixties – that is Wickham History Society I mean – we are just starting to get going!

Our two-day exhibition on 1st and 2nd of October at Wickham Community Centre was packed on both days and our visitors clearly enjoyed the different exhibitions on all aspects of Wickham’s history from Roman times to old school photos. We had 508 visitors, one a minute, with queues to get in at busy times. The Stan Woodford photos were popular, as was the large scale 1839 Tithe Map and Glenn Ford’s old Wickham postcard selection. We learnt a lot too from our visitors with 20 donations, follow-up queries and offers of oral history interviews which we are carrying out through 2023. The furthest afield visitors came from New Zealand.

The exhibition also marked the launch of Roman Wickham, our third Wickham History Society publication. This was thanks to the hard work of Mike Hollis, who pulled together the rapidly increasing knowledge we have of Wickham’s place in Roman Britain. Over a hundred copies have already been sold since October.

Membership and Talks
Membership is now 112 – 18 more than last year. 370 people have attended meetings to March 2023, including 29 visitors so far. With two further meetings, we should be close to or exceed last year’s figure of 458.

Our first packed autumn talk was on Roman Wickham, given by Mike Hollis, stimulating lively debate on whether Wickham rather than Bitterne was the elusive roman settlement of Clausentum. Andrew Negus returned in October on the history of Portsmouth and in a very different historical direction Jeremy Prescott reflected on the Vietnam War in a November Remembrance talk.

Our Christmas social with the Wickham Society followed a trip down memory lane with Stephen Hoadley talking about “Domestic Technology – We had one of those”. The two Zoom meetings in January and February were on “Behind the scenes of Who Do You Think You Are” with Nick Barrett followed by Ursula Pearce on “The History of the Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley”. In March we were back ‘face-to-face’ to hear about the “The Civil War in Hampshire” with Alan Turton. In April Jane Glennie is talking (and more) about “Violet’s Titanic Escape” and our May AGM talk is on “The Archaeology of the Meon Valley – Stone Age to Post Medieval” by Kay Ainsworth.

Summer Visits and village walks in 2022
In summer 2022 we enjoyed three visits. We spent a day in Alton exploring the Curtis Museum and the Allen gallery, as well as a guided walk. Guided walks around Portchester and Botley proved informative and the weather was kind.

Last year 5 guided walks around Wickham took place for outside groups, with one group spending the day with us, exploring the village and the church. The WHS also ran two village walks and two festival walks.

Wickham History Society on the Web
The website continues to be updated with articles and meeting reports. It is used to publicise the Society meetings, walks and other events. Members and guests are able to contact the Society to book walks, make inquiries and offer donations.

Knowle History Boards Project
This project, financed by the Wickham Parish Council, is for the design and installation of five history boards around Knowle Village. Content research is in progress, with numerous visits to the Hampshire Record Office to gather data. Boards are being drafted before submitting to the designer. The project is due to be completed by July 2023, when it is hoped to have a launch event at Knowle.

Oral History Project
We now have a small working group of Margaret Edgworth, Mike Toole, Sarah Daley, Geoff Phillpotts and Stephanie Cruse who have all been trained in interviewing. As interviews are completed articles are put on the website and, when possible, in the Parish Magazine. Eight new interviews have been undertaken since we started the project in late 2021, and two earlier recordings have been also been transcribed.

Future Plans
Our largest ever number of summer visits ever are planned this year, one village history walk is planned and, as a new initiative, a visit to Wickham Rectory followed by a Glebe walk identifying the archaeological sites in the new public open space there. We hope to see many of you at the Village Fete and Taste of Wickham where we will have exhibitions.

Our Guide to Historic Wickham is now out of print and needs an overhaul as new information has become available and properties have changed hands. We are investigating the feasibility of reprinting Bruce Tappenden’s History of Wickham.

To preserve our archives for the future, we are planning to digitise some of our holdings. including Parish Magazines, from the early 1970s through to the mid-1995. The conversion of our collection of over 1000 slides into archival-quality high-resolution digital files is being investigated.

The transfer of the Glebe open space to the Parish Council will take place at some point in 2023 and we are working closely with the Parish Council, other village societies and interested individuals to see how we can bring its important role in Wickham’s history alive.

The Committee
Chair: Geoff Phillpotts; Secretary: Vanessa Burlingham; Treasurer: Martin Rogers; Website Editor (and Talks Programme Secretary): Jane Painter; Brian Barrett, Mike Hollis, Margaret Edgworth, Sarah Daley (co-opted 18th October 2022 in place of Jane Soulsby)

Do you have something to contribute to the society?