19th July 2017
Walk along Chalford High Street
Mike Mills led a group of local people on a walk from the bottom of Old Neighbourhood along Chalford High Street to the old Valley Inn then back along the canal towpath. We looked at old photographs to see how the buildings had changed and heard numerous stories about how people lived – from a farmer selling 250 rabbits a week, to the landlord of the New Red Lion being sacked by the brewery for doing a roaring trade in his own brew from the premises. A fascinating evening.
12th July 2017
Visit to St Mary’s Mill
Prof. Jenny Tann gave us an excellent guided tour starting at The Round House and finishing at St Mary’s Mill, with explanations of each of the old mill buildings and mill owners’ houses along the way. This included a rather more extended look at Iles Mill! Jenny had kindly arranged for us to see the great compound engine at St Mary’s Mill in action. It was a most informative and interesting occasion.
8th July 2017
21st June 2017
Tina Indge: What did you do in the War?
Despite the hot weather, more than two dozen (including guest Derelie Cherry from Tasmania!) enjoyed Tina’s illustrated talk. Using her personal researches into the lives of members of her family in WWI but mainly during WWII, Tina outlined the methods she had used from online sources as well as visits to The National Archives and the Royal Engineers’ Regimental Museum. She made it clear that stories from the family are not always to be fully trusted! Mention of the bombing of the Ransome and Marles ball bearing factory in Newark reminded members of local connections with Hoffman’s in Stonehouse.
17th May 2017
Alexia Clarke: Stroud’s Museum in the Park and its Chalford connections
Alexia, who is the Documentation and Collections Officer at the Museum, outlined how it had started in 1890 in the School of Art and Science in Lansdown, moving to its current site in 2001. Items donated from the Chalford area include the 1862 regulations of the House of Mercy at Bussage, and numerous objects collected by William Edward Duncan Young (who for a time ran a museum at the Roundhouse). Alexia brought with her a diverse range of objects from the Chalford area, from a mammoth tooth, to a parasol handle, to a drag for pulling people/bodies out of the canal. We enjoyed trying to work out what they all were – and one at least remains a mystery object!
19th April 2017
Clive Field: The History of the Cotswold Canals.
Clive Field outlined how the Stroudwater Navigation (up to Wallbridge) and the Thames and Severn Canal (Stroud to Lechlade) were completed in 1779 and 1789 respectively. Initially they were highly profitable enabling coal, grain and other items to be brought in, and wool to be taken out. The Costwold Canals Trust has enabled the restoration of much of the western end of the canal. He outlined the challenges and progress from Stonehouse to Brimscombe, illustrating the range of bridges and features restored.
15th March 2017
Mike Mills: Photographs of Old Chalford Vale.
Using his great collection of old photographs, Mike Mills took us on a ‘walk’ from St Mary’s Mill all the way to Ashmeads Mills, where Mike himself grew up. Several well known local characters also appeared in some pictures.
15th February 2017
Inspiring local research: led by members to stimulate interest in research and writing chapters for our new book, Chalford Parish in 40 Stories.
Roger Carnt talked about how he had set about researching the history of ‘The Limes’ – both the people and the property. He used a range of sources: maps (see National Library of Scotland and Coaley.net), Findmypast (includes many newspapers), Ancestry and Gloucestershire Archives.
Jim Bocock spoke about his research into France Lynch Pleasure Ground and the YMCA hut that was built there, and Hilary Burgess spoke about her research on the Chalford Weavers’ strike of 1825, using published accounts. We explored members’ ideas for research, some of which will be worked into chapters for the planned book Chalford Parish in 40 Stories. Many exciting ideas were discussed for chapters in the book. To register a new topic or idea please use the Contact Form.
18th January 2017
Peter Waals and his craftsmen: The Chalford – Oakridge Link.
Jenny Bailey explained how Ernest Gimson and the Barnsley brothers, based at Pinbury Park, developed architectural work and furniture making in the Arts and Crafts tradition. In 1901 they moved to Sapperton and recruited Dutchman Peter Waals as their foreman. When Gimson died in 1919 the workshop moved to Hallidays Mill in Chalford and Waals lived in Chestnut House. Boys were recruited from local schools as apprentices and trained up to become skilled craftsmen. Ernie Smith became the foreman, and lived on Marle Hill. Examples of their work can be seen in Chalford Church, Rodmarton Manor, and St Michael and all Angels in Brownshill.
Waals, who taught at Brimscombe Polytechnic died in 1937 and is buried in the churchyard at Christ Church. The workshop moved across the road into Cotswold Works, but a year later this was destroyed by fire and the craftsmen were dispersed.