Meldreth Local History Group: a year-by-year record of our events and activities

Introduction

The idea of starting a History Group in Meldreth was first mentioned in 2000 and initial meetings were held in 2005. However, it was not until 2007 that Meldreth Local History Group was founded.

Its aims are to:

  • research and record the history of the village and its environs
  • create an archive of local history which can be passed on to future generations
  • publish material, both in print and digital forms, for the benefit of the local community and others interested in the history of the village

2007

Activities and Achievements

  • April: the first committee meeting was held.  Members were Angus Bell, Peter Draper, Tim Gane, Joan Gane, Ann Handscombe and Kathryn Betts
  • May: members began submitting images to the online Cambridgeshire Community Archives Network (CCAN). Over 400 items were added by the end of the year
  • July: trompe l’oeil window created at Meldreth Primary School, based on images in the Meldreth Community Archive
  • August: private visit by group members to Cambridgeshire Archives
  • October: Ann Handscombe became a “Community Champion” after successfully applying for a grant of £2000 which was used to purchase supplies and equipment for the Group
  • October: presentation to the Good Companions Group

Events

  • April: exhibition in Topcliffe Mill held in conjunction with the Friends of Holy Trinity Spring Gardens Event
  • June: stall and exhibition at Holy Trinity Church Fete
  • July: coffee morning held in Elin Way
  • October: session held for potential volunteers at the Community Access Point
  • October: reminiscences evening held by Friends of Holy Trinity and recorded by MLHG
  • November: our first Open Day was held in the Village Hall and was attended by over 300 people
  • December: participated in the Holy Trinity Christmas Tree Festival; tree then put up in railway station waiting room

2008

Activities and Achievements

  • Interviews were held with Gladys Clarke, Gilly Gilham, Teddy Handscombe, Mary Hoy, Ivy Jude, Eric Walbey and Bill Wing
  • Burial records and monumental inscriptions for HolyTrinityChurch in Meldreth transcribed
  • First MLHG merchandise produced. The merchandise has been an important source of funding for the Group.
  • July: recorded John Gipson’s 1500th peal at Holy Trinity Church, Meldreth

Events

  • March: first AGM held
  • April: information evening held for new members
  • April: talk by Mike Petty on “Vanishing Cambridgeshire” held in Village Hall
  • April: slideshow of images shown in the Church for the Friends of Holy Trinity Spring Gardens Event
  • April: Who Do You Think You Are? – family history information evening held at Community Access Point (CAP) – jointly hosted by CAP volunteers and MLHG
  • June: display of old postcards in the Church as part of the Church Fete
  • June: display on the history of Meldreth Manor School at Meldreth Manor Fete
  • September: guided village walk; accompanying leaflet produced
  • November: second Open Day held in Village Hall – “Discover the History of Meldreth Through its People”
  • November: participated in the Holy Trinity Christmas Tree Festival

2009

Activities and Achievements

  • Christmas cards were produced for the first time in order to raise funds for the Group
  • January: old photographs put on permanent display in Green Room of Village Hall
  • July: Chiltern West Gallery Quire recorded at Holy Trinity Church Meldreth
  • September: 16 interviews of Meldreth residents recorded by Group members

Events

  • February: reminiscences evening held by Friends of Holy Trinity and recorded by MLHG
  • March: coffee morning held
  • April: Topcliffe Mill open as part of Friends of Holy Trinity Spring Gardens Event
  • June: exhibition in Holy Trinity as part of the Church Fete. Meldreth funeral bier was on display
  • September: coffee morning held
  • October: Who Do You Think You Are? – family history information evening held at Community Access Point – jointly hosted by CAP volunteers and MLHG
  • November: second Who Do You Think You Are? family history information evening
  • November: third Open Day held in the Village Hall – “Trade and Commerce”
  • December: third Who Do You Think You Are? Family History Information Evening held at Community Access Point – jointly hosted by CAP volunteers and MLHG

2010

Activities and Achievements

  • Meldreth Award Book (1820 inclosure) was photographed by the Group
  • Interviews continued with Mary Findlay, Sylvia Gipson and David Piggott amongst those interviewed
  • New Christmas cards were produced and were sold alongside notelets, CDs and village walk leaflets
  • September: grant received from Meldreth Parish Council towards the creation of our own website
  • October: Community Development Grant received from SCDC towards the website
  • November: grants received from Cambridgeshire Building Society and Meldreth Village Association towards the website
  • November: major grant received from Cambridgeshire Community Foundation’s Grassroots Grants Scheme, allowing us to fully fund the creation of our own website, www.meldrethhistory.org.uk

 Events


2011

Activities and Achievements

  • Interviews were conducted with Ann Handscombe and Janet & Michael Pilkington
  • New Christmas cards produced
  • Contributed images to Historypin for the first time
  • Provided an “In this Month …” feature for each issue of Meldreth Matters
  • March: website launched with over 250 pages. During the first eight months there were over 5000 unique visitors to the website

Events

  • March: talk in the Village Hall by Tom Doig on Dating Victorian Photographs
  • March: AGM, including website launch
  • May: coffee morning
  • July: provided a display in the Station waiting room to mark the 160th anniversary of the railway in Meldreth
  • November: coffee morning

2012

Activities and Achievements

  • Grant application submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund All Our Stories project
  • New Christmas cards produced
  • Members of MLHG represented Meldreth at the Diamond Jubilee Picnic at Burghley House
  • February: talk to Royston & District Local History Group
  • July: MLHG attended and recorded the presentation of the Stakeholder Recognition Award given to David Piggott by First Capital Connect
  • November: announcement that MLHG was one of the first groups in the country to be awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund All Our Stories grant of £7,100 to fund an archaeological test pitting project
  • November: Joan Gane interviewed by Radio Cambridgeshire following the HLF announcement
  • November: double CD produced – “A Century of Meldreth Memories” from interviews conducted by Group members

Events

  • March: coffee morning – talk by Brian Pepper on his memories of Meldreth Railway Station and the goods yard
  • May: stall at Meldreth May Fayre
  • October: coffee morning – a virtual walk along Meldreth High Street by Chris Duguid
  • November: exhibition in the Tavern Gallery in Meldreth attended by approximately 100 visitors

2013

Activities and Achievements

  • Archaeological test pit project took place with a total of 32 pits dug in the village
  • New Christmas cards produced
  • Group joined the Register of One-Place Studies
  • Joined by Melbourn U3A in a shared learning project to research the history of Flambards Manor
  • February: talk given to Melbourn U3A
  • February: talk given at Royston Methodist Church
  • July: Joan Gane interviewed by Radio Cambridgeshire about our test pitting project

Events

  • March: launch of “Understanding Our Past: Exploring the Hidden History of Meldreth“ by Carenza Lewis in Meldreth Village Hall
  • June: eleven test pits dug, ten of which were open to the public
  • June: exhibition of test pit photographs at Holy Trinity Church Fete
  • July: eleven test pits dug, seven open to the public
  • August: ten test pits dug, all open to the public
  • October: coffee morning – a continuation of our virtual walk along Meldreth High Street by Chris Duguid
  • November: exhibition on the test pit project held in Meldreth Village Hall attended by several hundred people. According to Carenza Lewis, the event conveyed “in a way that I think better than any other exhibition of finds that I’ve seen from test pitting, what test pitting is all about and how it works.”
  • November: talk by Carenza Lewis at the test pit exhibition attended by over 150 people

2014

Activities and Achievements

Events

  • March: coffee morning – talk by Terry Dash and Chris Duguid on the 108 Bus
  • April: AGM featuring a presentation on the Group’s WW1 project
  • May: Topcliffe Mill Open Day in conjunction with National Mills Weekend
  • June: participated in Melbourn History Group’s WW1 Exhibition in All Saints Church in Melbourn
  • October: coffee morning – talk on Meldreth’s shops
  • November: WW1 Exhibition held in Elin Way in association with the Gallery Writers

2015

Activities and Achievements

Events

  • March: coffee morning – talk by Terry Dash and Chris Duguid on Meldreth Railway Station
  • May: Topcliffe Mill Open Days in conjunction with National Mills Weekend – approximately 150 visitors
  • November: coffee morning – talk on Meldreth’s orchards by Joan Gane

2016

Activities and Achievements

  • Geophys survey conducted on former site of Sheene Manor House
  • New notelets produced
  • Series of pages added to our website on building materials in the village and listed buildings
  • Fieldwalking undertaken in Meldreth by Group members and Cambridge Archaeology Field Group
  • January: launch of our Facebook page with our Throwback Thursdays feature
  • March: Don Chinery awarded the Legion d’Honneur (Chevalier) at Duxford – the ceremony was attended and filmed by MLHG members
  • July: visit by Orwell Local History Society to Topcliffe Mill
  • July: visit by Meldreth Primary School to Topcliffe Mill

Events

  • March: coffee morning – talk by Wendy Braid about her involvement with the WI, Super Troupers and Frollies
  • May: AGM including an update on the current projects
  • May: Topcliffe Mill Open Days in conjunction with National Mills Weekend
  • November: coffee morning – talk by George Joyce on metal detector finds
  • December: talk by Mathew Morris on “Richard III: the King Under the Car Park” in Meldreth Village Hall
  • December: displayed “Digging up the Past” Christmas tree at Holy Trinity Christmas Tree Festival

2017

Activities and Achievements

Events

  • March: coffee morning – talk by Rory Stephens on “Exploding the Myths of the Great War”. Rory’s talk was very well received: see James Hogg’s review for further details of the talk.
  • April: AGM was followed by a presentation on the listed structures in Meldreth
  • May: Topcliffe Mill Open Days in conjunction with National Mills Weekend
  • July: 10th Anniversary celebration
  • October: coffee morning with a presentation by John Crawforth on our Law and Order project entitled “Crime and Disorder in Nineteenth Century Meldreth”.  The coffee morning was attended by 53 people.

2018

Activities and Achievements

  • Work continued on the Topcliffe Manorial Rolls project.
  • April: Donated a framed 1910 Land Duties Values Map together with two large printed maps (the 1820 Enclosure Map and the 1910 Land Duties Values Map) to Meldreth Primary School
  • May: guided walk of the village given to members of Cambridge WI
  • June: Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine carried a full page feature on Meldreth Local History Group

Events

  • March: “Spirits of the Mel” coffee morning and AGM
  • October: Meldreth Then and Now coffee morning – presentation by Joan Gane
  • December: MLHG displayed a Memorial tree at the Meldreth Holy Trinity Christmas Tree Festival, dedicated to all those from the village who lost their lives in the first and second world wars.

2019

Activities and Achievements

  • Research continued into the manorial history of the village
  • Members began researching the history of Meldreth’s Brownies and Guide groups
  • A representative of MLHG laid a wreath at the Service of Remembrance at Meldreth War Memorial on 10th November

Events

  • April: Coffee Morning and AGM, including a presentation on Meldreth’s pubs by Tim Gane
  • May: Topcliffe Mill open as part of National Mills Weekend
  • November: Coffee Morning – “Life in Meldreth Cottages – Then and Now” presented by Alan Williams and Bruce Huett
  • December: The Group had a tree at the Meldreth Holy Trinity Christmas Tree Festival

2020

Activities and Achievements

Events

  • Unfortunately, our planned Coffee Morning in April and a talk on Sutton Hoo, scheduled for May, had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis. We hope to re-arrange them when circumstances allow.

Current projects include:

Future project proposals include:

  • Family histories
  • Document transcriptions
  • Gardens
  • Farming
  • Origins of Meldreth’s street names
  • Photographic/video record of the village today

Members of Meldreth Local History Group are very proud of their achievements over the last ten years, particularly as we have an active core group of fewer than 10 people.

If the Group is to continue for the next ten years, new members are urgently required. Please contact us if you are interested in becoming involved with the Group.

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