Fairford History Society

Monthly Archives: July 2014

Thursday June 19 2014: AGM, Show and Tell and FHS’s 10th Anniversary


The FHS celebrated its 10th anniversary during its AGM in June. About 60 members attended. The business meeting was over quickly and Geoff Hawkes, the Chairman, gave a review of activities and achievements of the past ten years mentioning some of the highlights and remembering some of its past members.

A ‘Show and Tell’ session followed with about 12 members talking for around three minutes each on a treasured possession:- a cup and saucer from the Royal Yacht, a first camera with separate light meter, a 4ft-long 1918 photograph of RNVR personnel, a Honeybone clock, a print compositor’s tray, a piece from a Wellington bomber, fossils found near Fairford, George Loughton’s wood working tool, a selection of old bottles found in the garden, a large picture of sailing schooner based in Falmouth sailed by the owner’s grandfather, a piece of shrapnel that fell in the owner’s cot during an air raid during WW2 – ‘there by the grace of God go I’ and some 18th Century deeds found in Keble House and a leather letter pouch with “Revd Keble” inscribed on the brass catch. This item was then presented to the Society by the owner.

There were also displays of the FHS’s activities over its first ten years as well as material which had been deposited in the FHS Archive.

Members then enjoyed a selection of Gloucestershire food and drink and piece of birthday cake cut by the President June Lewis-Jones. A very enjoyable time was had by all.


Thursday May 15th 2014: From Swinedown to Swindon


A presentation on the history of Swindon was given to us by members of the Swindon Society. Actually it was given almost entirely by Bob Townsend but David Bedford and Diane Everett from their seats in the front row offered occasional corrections or suggestions and even some embellishments. It was an entertaining talk well illustrated by pictures from Swindon’s history. We visited many aspects of Swindon’s past in no particular order but it proved very absorbing. So we went from the settlement on the hill with its early church now only a fragment of its past glory via the railway works to a centre for 21st century high-tech business. One of Bob’s recurring themes was the failure to look after some of the town’s more significant buildings, for example the Mechanics Institute. This has been allowed to rot and decay for many years. Nevertheless alongside that long-running disaster has been the successful preservation of its neighbour development, the Railway Village. It was surprising that a town with important factories situated around a railway junction sustained little serious wartime damage. This was in part thanks to the siting on the Downs of deceptive structures aimed at misleading bombers and drawing them away from the town. We were left with a clear impression of the enormous rate of change undergone by Swindon in a short historical period.