Readers who take the 'Local Past' but who have no other contact with the society which produces it may have wondered, why the society exists and when it started. The words below should help them
Early in 1974 the present writer - G. Edward Saville- invited selected citizens of the Alcester area to a meeting to consider the foundation of a Local History Society. From this, the Alcester and District Local History Society emerged. with the specific aims of researching the history of the area and publishing its findings.
From the very first. the Committee. elected annually. have held monthly meetings. open to members and public alike, with speakers on aspects of local history. Small posters in shop windows and library have resulted in good attendance. even in the summer months.
The original aims of the Society have been attained by a fairly exhaustive recording of the Alcester material and that of the surrounding villages held in the Record Offices at Warwick, Worcester and Stratford. This has resulted in an extensive set of files, with surnames. subjects and places appearing in the relevant indices. Since the start. we have produced Occasional Papers and histories on a wide variety of local topics: sold at a modest price. they have been home produced on A4. first by duplicator. now by photocopier. Over 50 have been produced. with sales outlets at meetings. shops and libraries. in 1980 the Society started a quarterly magazilie. Local Past. concentrating on the Lower Arrow Valley. with the intention of appealing. in a non-academic way. to the general public. Mier over 50 issues, it sells consistently
The Committee has always believed in involving the membership and over the years has involved them in several projects; e.g. a Gazetteer of the Industrial Archeology of the Lower Arrow Valley resulted from the first One; the recording of the grave stones of 18 local cemeteries in 12 separate parts came out of the second one; at the end of the 1980s a photographic record was made of life in the area one week in June.
Apart from its large photographic collection (much of which has been printed). the Society does not collect original material. Old deeds. minute books etc are deposited in Record Offices. As well as publishing. we respond, whenever possible. to local appeals for displays and generally try to take an active part in the life of the community.
The Society's proudest achievement was in 1986. when we wrote and produced a 240 page hardback book. Alcester - A History. The cost was considerable but it soon sold out and did no harm to our finauces. Both this book and our other publications have been based on the assumption that primary information is the only history worth recording and spreading. We believe that we have done a service locally in killing off many of the misconceptions which passed for 'history' in old writings arid guide books of the Alcester area.
For efficiency's sake, the Society found that it was necessary to spend substantial amounts on equipment (display boards."photocopier. projector. microphone) but this has been worthwhile. easily funded by the sale of literature and meeting levies.
Summer 1993 Index