Warwickshire Local History Society News

Dear Member

Following on from earlier emails, I am writing to let you know about our plans for the rest of 2020.  I hope that you and your family have escaped COVID-19.  The continuing pandemic and the precautions required mean that Warwickshire Local History Society has had to change its activities greatly.  As one example, Aylesford School is not accepting any bookings from outside groups during the autumn.

Despite these limitations, we hope to offer members the experience of listening to historical lectures, but these will need to be in virtual form.  You may be familiar with FaceTime, Skype, Zoom or the like, and we are urgently considering different options for the software most suited to our needs.   Before these talks, you will be sent an email containing a link allowing you to log on and then you will be able to see and hear the speaker. So our autumn programme is as follows:

Introductory meeting:  On 15 September at 7.00 pm there will be a brief online talk, and more importantly, the opportunity to familiarise yourself with this method of conducting a meeting and to ask questions.

Autumn Lectures (both online only):

1.    Tuesday 20 October at 7.20 (for 7.30), Dr Susan Kilby (University of Leicester) on ‘Landscape History through the Stoneleigh Abbey papers’ and

2.    Tuesday 17 November at 7.20 (for 7.30) Professor Jonathan Reinarz (University of Birmingham) on ‘Forged by Fire: Burn injury and identity in Warwickshire’.

Summer visits:  Regrettably these all had to be cancelled. They have been provisionally re-arranged for the equivalent weekends in 2021.

Christmas Social:  Various possibilities are being investigated, but depending on current official guidance, we may be unable to proceed.

Questionnaire:  We would like to explore members’ views on our recent and planned pattern of meetings.  This follows on from the small survey in January 2020.  That earlier exercise was to gain feedback on our change of venues, and on the innovation of a Saturday daytime lecture.  The questionnaire will be issued shortly and will be available through the website, email attachment or by post.  We will advise details in our next newsletter.

Other activities:  The Leamington History Day has been held each September, with different societies, including ours, establishing stands in All Saints parish church in the town.  This year the Leamington History Group (LHG) will be hosting a virtual event on 26 September.  The day will be dedicated to illustrated 15-minute talks (available from the day on the website, www.leamingtonhistory.co.uk).  From WLHS we have offered two presentations, ‘Glimpses of Warwickshire History’ by Jim Ranahan and ‘Leamington’s first hospital’ by John Wilmot.

‘Warwickshire History’:  We are very pleased to report that the next edition of the Society’s Journal is now at the printers and is on schedule to be posted out to you at the end of August or early in September.  As always, The Bulletin will include information from other societies as well as any further updates from Warwickshire Local History Society. 

I hope this information is helpful to you; please get in touch if you have any queries.

Best wishes,


Dr John Wilmot, johnwilmot@btinternet.com

Chairman, Warwickshire LHS

Warwick Words History Festival 2020

Dear Friends and Supporters of Warwick Words History Festival We are so very sorry to announce that, as a consequence of Government regulations on social distancing imposed in response to Covid-19, we are unable to host this year’s History Festival in October as originally planned. This has been a very difficult decision for us, but our foremost concern is that we should not put anyone’s health at risk, whether it be your health – our audience – or that of our authors, sponsor partners, volunteers or any of the personnel at the venues hosting our events. We are sure that you will understand this decision, which we know will be disappointing for many of you. In place of our planned programme of events, however, we are delighted to announce that Warwick Words History Festival 2020 will be going digital, bringing you seven days of exciting events free online, starting on 5 October. We have a fabulous programme of talks lined up, including some very special guestsand a new initiative, Soundbites of Warwick. The full programme of digital events will be released in September. In the meantime, many thanks for your continuing support, please stay safe and healthy and we very much look forward to welcoming you to our Digital History Festivalonline daily from 5 October

Warwick Words History Festival Committee

Warwick Words Digital History Festival 5 – 11 October 2020


Announcement regarding the programme for the remainder of 2020

I had hoped by this point to be able to announce that the Covid-19 epidemic was behind us and that things could now return to normal as far as the History Group was concerned.

Sadly that is not the case. Although there has been some relaxation of the rules, there are still restrictions in place covering gatherings such as ours. We have received guidance from the Village Hall management committee on the rules they expect us to adhere to and, although entirely understandable and reasonable, they would put significant constraints on us.

The strict cleaning necessary would involve a lot of extra work but it is the social distancing requirements that are the biggest problem. It would be necessary to limit events to around 30 members which would probably imply having to make our meetings ticketed events, and it would not be possible to mingle before and after the meeting – essentially members would have to enter the hall, sit down and not move until it was time to leave.

We recognise that for most of you our meetings are as much a social event as an educational one and these constraints would make most social interaction impossible.

We have therefore reluctantly concluded that we should abandon plans to hold face-to-face meetings this year.

We aim to resume our normal programme in the New Year, however, read on…

We have looked at things that we can do:

We won’t ask you to pay again. Any member who has paid their subscription for this year will be deemed also to have paid their membership for next year.

Our speakers have said that they would still like to talk to us, so we have rolled over most of what was going to be an excellent programme of talks and trips to 2021.

And finally, we are arranging to have some of our remaining talks by video, starting with Professor Sarah Richardson, who has kindly agreed still give her talk on The Women’s Suffragette Movement in Warwickshire on September 15th at 7:30pm.

Many of you will doubtless have been using Skype or Zoom to connect with your families during lockdown so I hope you will feel able to give our virtual talks a go. All you need is a computer with a standard web browser. To join the talk you will simply need to click on a link at the appropriate time.

I will email the link to members closer to the time. If we don’t have your email – i.e. you are not currently a member or you don’t receive our newsletters by email – but would still like to join in then please email me at nick.holmes9@gmail.com to register your interest

Enjoy the rest of your summer             

Nick Holmes