Initially, we were formed to collect information about Spencers Wood through trades from Kelly’s directories, deeds, census information, enclosures (this covered at least three enclosures, or areas of land), interviews with local families, photographs, maps, news cuttings etc. until we had so much material that we thought we ought to share it with local residents; and so the idea of a book evolved.
The book was started off by Zoe Nelson, a local artist and taken over by Barbara Debney. The result was our 2000 book “Our Village of Spencers Wood” which was reprinted in 2001. The book was a huge success and is now unfortunately sold out, see the More from Our Village of Spencers Wood page for our future plans.
Since then we have worked on a further four pieces of research which have resulted in two additional books being published (one is currently underway). In 2012 we were approached by Three Mile Cross Methodist Group to publish their Chapel history, as it was closing.
More from Our Village of Spencers Wood – Now Available for £13! – via email/post/locally at the Post Office in Spencers Wood, or Budgens in Three Mile Cross
A History of Three Mile Cross Methodist Church (published in 2013) – now available.. email us for a copy! At a reduced price of £4!
The History of Lambs Lane School 1908-2008 – still available
Celebrating the Centenary of Ryeish Green School – still available
Our Village of Spencers Wood – out of print
We are a non-profit making organisation. To raise funds for the initial book we held open-days, showed films and talks by Doug Noyes about Reading, held table top sales, etc. We also took loans to help and repaid them when the books were sold. Because of these events we collected more memorabilia and the area grew to include Three Mile Cross and Grazeley. We now have much information about these areas, as well as Shinfield, Swallowfield, Beech Hill and Riseley. We also have some artefacts from defunct organisations which we display on various occasions and at local events (look at our blog for a list of future events where you can meet us).
The proceeds from the first book were donated to the running of the group. Any additional monies from the sale of the first book, were donated to the Village Hall to help with their refurbishment of the disabled toilets. The Lambs Lane Book proceeds were split between the publication of the book, restoration of the Bell Tower at the School and funding the research for the next book on Ryeish Green School.
The proceeds from the Ryeish Green book were split between a disabled charity, and will be used for publication of the “new Village book” (yet to be named!).
Future research will include :- a) The enclosure of Spencers Wood needs collating and writing up; b) The making of a central archive; c) Appealing for more memorabilia for other schools in the area such as Riseley Common School, Beech Hill School, Grazeley School, Spencers Wood School (the Library as it is now); d) the United Reform Church (which has closed), Three Mile Cross chapel; e) Any memories of the shops and trades that used to be here.
As a group we enjoy sharing some events with other societies in the area and these societies also produce books. Shinfield Parish has produced a book about its character statement which is really a history book, incorporating the residents’ views of what our parish is like. It is diverse and interesting.
We regularly contribute to The Loddon Reach, and we often put appeals for certain information in there. We carry many of our articles in our blog.
Please click on the links above for more information on individual pieces of research.