East Woodhay Local History Society


This local society has been in existence since 1997 and has had many interesting talks about our area and its surroundings over the years as well as being involved with local research.

The society meets in East Woodhay Village Hall at Heath End once a month between September and March (excluding December) as well as having a visit to a local place of interest in the spring.

The membership fee is currently £5 for the year and visitors are welcome to come with a charge of £3 per evening. This will be rising to £7.50 and £4 for the 2018-19 season.

To give you an idea, during 2016-2017 we had talks on a range of topics. The most notable was September’s when Andrew Lownie came to talk about the spy, Guy Burgess, who had connections with the house, Oakhurst. Other members of Guy Burgess’ family came as well and were kindly allowed to visit Oakhurst before the meeting. We had a previously unheard of audience of over 100!

Other talk topics concerned the Cheapside Hoard, the abdication of Edward VIII and Lord Falkland. Our final talk by one of our members, Mike Robinson, was on the History of Agriculture that was very thought provoking and prompted discussions on Brexit, GM crops and feeding the world’s population.

The February meeting is our AGM but business is kept to the minimum as we follow it with ten minute talks by the members. Last season’s consisted of Bond Cars (3 wheelers not James!), a well loved beach hut, sailing boats and a short film about the Newbury Weekly News made in 1952.

Our 2017-2018 programme is now finalised and can be found below.

Meetings will be advertised in Spectrum and at various places around the parish.

The research group’s most recent project has been the background of all those named on the Parish’s war memorials from World War One.

Graham Heald had already produced an excellent document about their military career and place of burial but we looked into the families they came from, where they lived and what they did. This led to two successful exhibitions in both village halls. We will be repeating the exhibition in 2018 to mark the centenary of the end of the war.

The society also produced a very informative book on the History of East Woodhay as a Millenium Project and copies are still available, as are copies of the book on the Parish’s footpaths

Our next topic is to research the World War Two names on our war memorials. If anyone has any information about that period then please let us know.

We are always grateful to receive any information about East Woodhay – memories, photographs, documents etc. Again please get in touch, as we don’t want to lose valuable resources. We can always scan or copy items if you want to keep them.

If you are interested in joining us or have information about anything to do with the Parish’s history then please contact:

Chairman: Norman Powers   pollard01@tesco.net                   01635 254154

Secretary: Christine Dalton  chrissie.dalton@yahoo.co.uk       07880 628 114

Research Officer: Val Pollitt     valeriepollitt@googlemail.com  01635 253550



Once again the Society has organised speakers to entertain and educate during the season September through to March 2018

September 18th.  8pm.   –   Dark Skies – Then and Now. Dan Oakley from the South Downs National Park Authority

October 16th   8pm   –   Martin Coppen – The Knights Hospitallers

November 20th. 8pm.  – Jane Burrell – The changing face of Speenhamland

Jane tells a fascinating tale about Speenhamland, an area of Newbury mostly forgotten

January 22nd 8pm.: – Women’s Work – women on the railway. Dr Becky Peacock from the Watercress Line will talk about women on the railway between 1939 and 1960

February 5th. 8pm.: – Society AGM and members ten minute talks.

March 19th 8pm.: James Sadler – The Astors of Kirby House

The venue for the talks will again be East Woodhay Village Hall. There will be light refreshments provided at the end of each talk, which will give those present the opportunity to meet the speaker and perhaps ask the question you wanted to during the evening.

Please make a note of these dates in your diary and come and support the society and our guest speakers. It will be a pleasant change from the television!