The Group enjoyed having a stand at three local shows this summer. We showed some archive material while promoting our publications, and looked forward to discussions with visitors. Our theme was “Then and Now”. The display boards have contrasting photos of land and properties taken in the last century and again recently. In July it was a windy day for St. Michael’s Church Fete. People were surprised to recognise places they knew before development. Often this prompted a discussion about the past and we gained some gems of information for our records. The photos are supplemented by maps of Spencers Wood before 1914 and by aerial photos. Now we expect to compile a library of photos taken by drones. Some older aerial photos show the 19th century Enclosure Act fields which survived until recently in their original small square pattern north of Hyde End Road.
For the Swallowfield Show, on those hot days towards the end of August, our stand was in a large marquee. The Children’s History Box, as usual, caught the interest of youngsters who have never seen small milk bottles, or a horseshoe, or pre-decimal coins. Some parents do not remember these either! One visitor told us of World War Two defence activities at Loddon Court Farm, where troops armed with BOFUS light artillery guns were part of the outer London defence and were linked to the Thames/Kennet valley ‘STOP’ line.
The Spencers Wood Carnival on the recreation ground in September was our final outdoor event. People new to the area checked on our maps for the site of their new homes. Others have given the group the old deeds of their homes, written by hand on parchment. These documents form a cherished part of our archives. The information we are given often links to material on file and fills gaps in our knowledge. We are always pleased to receive extra details which can be sent by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patricia Green November 2019