Monday 2 August 2021

Eton Wick History Group The Autumn 2021 Programme

Having had to postpone so many of the talks we had scheduled for 2020, due to the Covid Pandemic Restrictions, we are now delighted to announce that we will recommence engaging speakers from September; commencing on Wednesday, 8th September, with the welcome return of Josh Lovell with his talk on the Castle's Waterloo Chamber with special reference to the portraits which hang on its walls. In October and December we will be entertained by speakers who were postponed from last year. 

Dates and details are below: 

8th September 'Thomas Lawrence and the Waterloo Chamber with Mr Josh Lovell 

27th October 'Willie and Ettie :The Souls of Taplow Court' with Mr Nigel Smales 

8th December 'A Window on Windsor's Medieval Past' with Dr David Lewis 

Meetings are held at 7.30 pm in Eton Wick & Boveney Village Hall. The Entrance Fee is £2 which will include light refreshments if Covid Regulations permit. All are welcome. 

Visit our website: which has more than 350 articles which tell the story of the village from the Neolithic period to today. 

Perhaps, at this re-awakening of the History Group (and as it approaches its 30th anniversary year), it is appropriate to offer a reminder of how the group came to be formed: the late Frank Bond, former greengrocer and long-time resident of Eton Wick, was always the first to admit that things did not turn out as planned: the group was formed almost thirty years ago after Frank's enthusiasm for the community's past was fired by three factors: first, was his own natural curiosity; equally important was Frank's friendship with a local engineer, the late John Denham, who shared Frank's passion for the past; crucial, too, was the encouragement of a professional historian, the late Dr. Judith Hunter MBE who had written a history of the village.

By the beginning of the 1990s, Frank was newly retired and keen to bring together a small group of enthusiasts who were interested in recording aspects of past village life. The first meeting was held in the Village Hall on a wet November night in 1991. Frank recalled: "We expected to attract six or eight people." In fact, some 46 people turned up and "They didn't want to do research: they wanted to listen to speakers. 

Consequently, since the following year, 1992, the group has held over 200 meetings. Average attendance used to be around 50 but the number tends to fluctuate depending on the evening's topic — some loyal attendees come in from outside the village. In accordance with the wishes of the original committee, there are no rules, no regulations and there is no formal list of members; a small attendance fee (and often a raffle) helps to cover costs. The talks are wide ranging and not just about what happened in and around the village. 

The group has compiled albums of photographs which are occasionally displayed during certain events in the Village Hall; and at the turn of the Millennium the group packed the Village Hall with a very popular three-day exhibition of photographs and memorabilia celebrating the life and times of the village in years gone by; it has undertaken projects like the refurbishment of the Folly Bridge cattle pound, the purchase and installation of the commemorative plaque at the Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Oak tree, and the acquisition of an Oak, through the late Duke of Edinburgh, to celebrate Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee; and the group collaborated in the design and descriptive data contained in the 'Walk and Cycle around historical Eton Wick' map and leaflet. 

When asked why the group had proved so popular, Frank Bond had replied: 

"The group allows the village to get together with a common interest in the community." 

Teresa Stanton 

Hon. Secretary Eton Wick History Group 

This article was first published in the August 2021 edition of the Eton Wick Newsletter - Our Village. It is reproduced here with the kind permission of the Eton Wick Hall Management Committee.

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