Barking and District Historical Society

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Our membership currently stands at 50.

The talks programme has been well supported with an average attendance of 40 people each meeting.

We have had another busy year with stalls at the Valentine’s Mansion May Fair (May 2013), Dagenham Community Day at the Dagenham and Redbridge Football Club (May), Valence House History Fair (September), Ripple School Centenary (September), Dagenham  Library reading festival (October), Barking and Dagenham Voluntary and Community Sector Open Day at Vicarage Field Shopping Centre (April 2014) and the Chadwell Heath History Fair (April). My thanks to Richard Chapman, Pat Manley and Irene Flitcfroft  for their help at these events. I have also visited a number of travel fairs on behalf of the society.

In January I gave a talk to a new group, the Dagenham Dames (Fanshawe Hall) – I was their first guest speaker!

Richard and I attended the Dagenham Girl Pipers’ annual reunion in October.

We have again had some hugely popular and successful outings organised by Richard Chapman – Ely Cathedral Flower Festival (June), Capel Manor (September), Christmas market at Rochester (December) and Beth Chatto Gardens/Layer Marney Tower (April  2014).  Richard is to be congratulated on the smooth running of these trips and also for keeping our finances in good order. We must also thank Sylvia Daly for organising the trips by public transport and Bryan Tester for opening Barking Photographic  Society trips to our members.

In June a number of our members took part in the mock evacuation of Dagenham schoolchildren on the Epping-Ongar railway organised by Helen Spencer (English Heritage).

In October I represented the Society at the launch of the book Romford Football Club, 1876-1920, by John Haley and Terry Felton at the Havering Museum.

The committee was represented at the funerals of Brian Burton, the former President of Essex Congress (January), Peter Midlane, stalwart of St.Margaret’s Church (January) and Lillian Watt, a former committee member of the society.

Our website goes from strength to strength with enquiries from far and wide including television companies, other societies and individuals; Bill George works tirelessly to maintain the site, which he created single-handedly. Bill also produces our eye-catching  publicity posters and helps me with enquiries.

As usual I have a number of other people to thank who contribute to the smooth running of the society -  Vice-presidents Dorothy Lockwood and Joy Lines support the society in a number of very helpful ways. June Johnson and Rene Frost work hard providing  refreshments at our various talks and events. Membership secretary Nigel Harcombe can be relied upon to keep our records in order and providing a warm welcome to members and visitors to our monthly talks. Committee member Irene Flitcroft sells the raffle  tickets at the talks. Tom White continues in his role of publicity officer. A BIG THANK YOU TO YOU ALL!

In November we reach another landmark in the society’s history when we celebrate our 80 th anniversary.
                                           John Blake, Chairman

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