Fairford History Society

Monthly Archives: June 2006

May 11th 2006: Second AGM and Yells Brothers

In the business part of the meeting Keith Cottam welcomed the members and outlined the programme for the evening. As an addenda to the Chairman’s report, John Read spoke about the progress of the Fairford Community Play project, for which FHS has obtained a substantial grant. It will be produced in collaboration with Fairford’s schools and FADS over 4 or 5 nights in October 2007 in St Mary’s Church. The LHI grant has also enabled FHS to buy equipment and set up the FHS website www.fairfordhistory.org.uk and Suzanne Jones of TGN Ltd, who designed the website, demonstrated the contents so far. The business part of the meeting was then concluded, all committee members being re-elected en bloc.

Peter Yells then gave a talk about the family firm of Yells Brothers which was established in 1858 and was involved in the building trade for 120 years. The firm’s first jobs were mainly linked to agriculture there being many large farms in the area e.g Arkells, Cole and Iles. They carried out of lot of work for Dr A C King Turner at The Retreat, one job being to replace all the locks with special asylu

Peter Yells

Peter Yells

m locks at a total cost of £14 which must have been expensive in those days. Another big job was the building of Burdocks, Mr Yells could oversee this from his house as he lived at Vane House in Horcott Road at the time.

When Peter’s father took over more building work was undertaken, houses were constructed on the Burford Road at Lechlade, London Road in Cirencester, Palmer Hall in Fairford (1936), and houses at Blunsdon. The firm often used the designs of Sidney Pile, the architect. Yells employed upwards of 50 men at one time, and during the Second World War some men were able to keep their jobs as it was a reserved occupation but could be called away at short notice to help repairs required by thebombing of London. After the War much of the work involved modernising cottages as grants were then available. Yells converted the Old Farmor’s School into the town library and a youth leader’s flat on the first floor. The firm ceased trading in 1978 due to the general decline in the building market at that time.

Mr Yells brought along many items including company ledgers, day books, customised stationery, and pictures that had been stored in his attic for many year. It was a very interesting insight into another slice of Fairford local history.

Antiques Valuation Day

Sunday May 14th from 2pm to 5pm in Fairford Community Centre

Fairford History Society was present at the Antiques Valuation session run by Fairford Primary School Parent-Teacher Association. Valuations were by Cotswold Auction Company. The display showed articles found in the archaeological survey at the Community Centre and about Honeybone clock making family whose descendants ran a shop in Fairford until the late 20th Century.

Fairford Community Play Project

Fairford has been very fortunate in obtaining a grant of £24,949 from the Local Heritage Initiative fund thanks to the hard work of Margaret Bishop and John Read who has masterminded the whole idea.

The Play will celebrate the heritage and history of Fairford’s pioneering role in education with a dramatic presentation of education in Fairford over three centuries. It will be produced in association with pupils and staff of local schools in and Fairford Amateur Dramatic Society, directed by Barry Kilgariff.

The story so far…………

The research is complete and been co-ordinated by Hugh Dudley and Nicky Clare from Farmor’s School with contributions from many other local history experts in the town and local history interviews. The amount of material acquired was so vast and in order to make a first class production it was decided to approach a professional scriptwriter, Stephen Deproust. Most of the material has now been handed over to him and in the remaining part of 2006 he will collaborate with production team to produce a first class script which will be completed by the end of December, 2006.

FHS hopes to get as many people as possible involved in this project and if you are interested please e-mail fhs@cotswoldwireless.co.uk.

The LHI grant has enabled us to set up this website designed by Suzanne Jones of The Graphics Network in Fairford.

FHS has also used part of the grant to acquire a scanner, digital camera, video camera and tripod.

This equipment will help us produce our outcomes from the project: a book ‘Now & Then in Fairford’ in which FHS is fortunate to have Edwin Cuss collaborating, a film of the Play which will be produced on DVD and a film of making of the play. It is also hoped to produce a short film for the purpose of display to visitors to Fairford.

The Local Heritage Initiative is a national grant scheme that helps local groups to investigate, explain and care for their local landscape, landmarks, traditions and culture. The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) provides the grant but the scheme is a partnership, administered by the Countryside Agency with additional funding from the Nationwide Building Society.