Meetings

ANNOUNCEMENT:
Meetings will resume as soon as the Government declares it safe for meetings to take place again.

In the meantime it has been decided to introduce two new temporary measures to maintain your interest in the history of Fairford. Firstly a newsletter called The Fairford Flyer Extra will be produced at least monthly. It will consist of short articles, old newspaper reports and other information relating to Fairford’s history.
Secondly, a number of new, lengthier articles will be added to the FHS website on a regular basis. These will be in this NEWS section of the website, so they can be found easily. Members are welcome to send in their own contributions for potential publication.

FHS Meetings 2019-20

All meetings are on the third Thursday of the month at 7.30 at Fairford Community Centre. The February meeting (half term) is a morning meeting at 10am. There are no meetings in December, January, July and August

2020
April 16: Eric Jones: The Grand Drain: Fairford’s contribution to agricultural history
May 21: Liz Davenport: Woodchester Mansion – an Unfinished Masterpiece
June 18: AGM followed by Show and Tell

Meeting reports September to November 2019

James Harris from the Corinium Museum opened the season with a very interesting talk of the archaeological finds in the area. There is a wide range of finds in the local area from Early Mesolithic, Early Prehistoric, Neolithic (the only Neolithic burial in the Cotswolds was found at the Home Farm site) through to Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman and Anglo- Saxon. At Horcott Quarry there was evidence of an Iron Age Settlement, a Roman homestead, with a c AD 250–350 cemetery nearby and also an Anglo-Saxon settlement with a hall and sunken feature buildings. This corresponded with the Anglo-Saxon Graves found mid-19th century near the Quenington Road. Post-meeting James queried the site of the Fairford Anglo-Saxon graves marked on the OS map as an SSSI. The more likely site is west of the Quenington road in a field called Waterslade and under West End Gardens. In 2007/8 members of FHS were able to visit the Horcott Quarry site while it was being excavated. Archaeological evidence was also found on the former Coln House School lands and the field west of Horcott road, including evidence of a round barrow.

 

 

In October Edwin Cuss took us on a tour of the former shops in the town when Fairford was far more self sufficient that it is today. Edmonds the department store was in the High Street, with H M Powell, draper and Baldwin’s hardware shop, which later became Peymans. The talk had been given before in 2009. At that time the road through Fairford was closed and members were able to enjoy a traffic-free tour to see the sites of the former shops. As always it was a pleasure to see the old Fairford pictures.

There was a change of topic away from Fairford in November when the excellent speaker Paul Barnett took us on a whistle stop tour of the Sharpness to Gloucester canal describing the former industrial buildings at the Sharpness end of the canal and how and why they were built. The canal itself was built because of the tidal nature of the River Severn with its changing sandbanks and dangerous currents. Along the canal we saw the remains of the Severn Railway Bridge which was demolished after two barges collided with the bridge in very bad weather in 1960, resulting in 5 fatalities. Then up to Purton where is the phenomenon of the ‘Purton Hulks’, boats that were driven on to the banks of the river to help prevent erosion. Then on to Gloucester showing former warehouses, boats and the rejuvenation of the Gloucester quays. It must be an impressive sight to see the tall ships at the annual Gloucester festival.

 

Meeting Reports

Fairford Carnival: the final years 1953-56 21 February 2019
Edwin Cuss gave an excellent PowerPoint presentation to about 50 FHS members and visitors at the February morning meeting. There was also some audience participation which involved the singing of ‘Daisy, Daisy’ and ‘Tom Pearse, Tom Pearse’. Both songs were portrayed by carnival floats.

1953 Carnival Programme

After World War 2 the National Health Service came into being and funded Fairford Hospital, so there was no longer the urgent need for raising money. However, it was Coronation Year, 1953 which gave impetus to restart the Carnival and there was as much dedication, inventiveness and ingenuity as before. The Band Contest continued with bands coming from all over the country. The arena events continued with the many participants such as the USAF Drum and Bugle Band and the Household Cavalry Musical Ride for example.

Members enjoyed the carnival floats and other pictures with some of them owning up to actually being in the photographs, albeit somewhat younger!

However in 1956 it rained and rained, the crowds did not come and there were some pictures of very bedraggled performers and floats. For the first time the Carnival made a loss, which was difficult to recoup, so as a result in 1958 the Carnival Committee sold off the equipment and the Carnival never restarted.

The sale of the Carnival equipment, 1958