Chairman's Annual Report
4th December, 2013

Chairman's Annual Report 2012/2013

Welcome to this Annual General Meeting, which will review the activities during the past year.

First of all, I am grateful to the other officers and all six members of our Committee, each of whom has a functional role to keep the Group active. On your behalf I should like to thank them individually:

  • Ruth Gibson, as Secretary, has an over-arching role to keep thing in check: also to represent us on the Planning Committee of the Henley Society, not to mention outings, which are meticulously organised.
  • Peter Anderson, as Treasurer, keeps our finances in order. (See next item on the agenda.)
  • Viv Greenwood is our liaison officer with South Oxforshire Archaeolgical Group, as well as laying out refreshments at all our meetins. Viv joined with SOAG in their summer excavations at Ewelme and Gatehampton. She is also in touch with the Gainsborough Estate residents with the offer of a noticeboard describing the life of Humphrey Gainsborough.
  • Graham Jones has done a magnificent job developing our website, which is now used by the Henley Standard for them to write up our activities. He also produced, with the assistance of John Whiting, Journal No. 27 in a splendid new format.
  • Roger Kendal has for many years served the Group in various roles, including as our link with the River and Rowing Museam, co-editor of the Journal etc. He is resigning after many years, for which we thank him.
  • Cynthia Robinson is co-ordinating progress on the Probate Project and is now attempting to link Henley buildings with their occupants using the information now available.
  • Pam Syrett always has a friendly greeting for everybody at the door, as well as being my computer helpmate.
  • Derek Toms has produced an excellent new leaflet this year advertising the Group to new members.

I also wish to thank two members who, whilst not members of the Committee, have a significant role in the Group.

  • Hilary Fisheris our Membership Secretary and keeps up with subscriptions on our behalf. She is also our archivist at the Town Hall
  • Martin Cresswell is our Lecture Secretary and has carried out a major task in organising our lecture programme through to the end of next year.

We should all be thankful that these members are prepared to take on these resposibilities so willingly on our behalf.

It was disappointing that the work carried out by Pam Syrett for a visit to Althorp and Geddington resulted in cancellation through lack of interest. However, more-local visits were enjoyed:

  • Mapledurham in October
  • Highlands paleolithic finds in Reading Museum store in January
  • Abingdon in May
  • Silchester Roman Town in July
  • Harpsden Court in August

Our speakers have been thought provoking, isually based on academic research, but who can forget the local cold war bunkers in the presence of Subterranean Britannica members! We heard about emigration from Oxfordshire in the 19th century and also children's experiences of the Second World War. More recently there was mapping the ancient city of Silchester and also foreigners in our Roman cities. All of these talks have been recorded on our website for reference. Barbara Allison's talk an The Bell and Catherine Wheel inns will be reprised by Ruth this evening in her talk, to be followed by Vicky Jordan, John Whiting and Mary Hooper on their various subjects.

Next month's speaker on World War I is likely to appeal to a larger audience so we are switching the venue to the Town Hall upstairs on 7th January, 2014. We shall talk more about our regular venue later in the agenda.

Valerie Alesia