Note: Meetings from October to April start at 7.30pm, preceded by coffee at 7pm, at Aylesford School, Tapping Way, Warwick, CV34 6XR

Link to Directions

Link to 2019 Outings Booking Form (May, June, July and September).


Future Events

Saturday 7 September 2019

Coffin Works Museum and Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham.  

Be transported back to the Coffin Works in the 1960s and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of factory life during this decade.  Then visit the nearby Jewellery Quarter Museum which offers a unique glimpse of working life in Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter.  Price: £23 including pub lunch (£26 non members).  Click here for more details.


Tuesday 15 October 2019

Alan Godfrey, Post Offices in Warwickshire

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Dr John Bland, Madness in Warwickshire

Recent Events

Saturday 6 July 2019 Summer Outing

St Lawrence's Church, Ansley, and St John the Baptist, Berkswell.  

Dr John Hunt helped us investigate the developmental sequence of the two churches and find out about their tenurial history and landscape setting, taking account of the medieval communities that these churches served as well as of the buildings themselves.  At St Lawrence’s, Dr Hunt showed how this church incorporates fabric of the twelfth century and later, including an enigmatic sculpture. The afternoon was spent at St John the Baptist Church, one of the county’s more celebrated churches, noted particularly for its elaborate double crypt.  

Saturday 15 June 2019 Summer Outing

Shakespeare's Schoolroom, Stratford. 

Members and guests enjoyed their outing to Stratford to visit Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall. 

The group was met by one of the Schoolroom’s friendly guides to learn about Shakespeare’s Schooldays and also the history and the role of the Guildhall (one of a few remaining examples of a medieval Guildhall in the country) over the centuries.  After watching a short film about Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall, they learnt about the medieval wall painting, elements of which have only recently been uncovered.  They then enjoyed going back to school as they took part in a Tudor lesson in Shakespeare’s Schoolroom.   There was also time to visit the Georgian Classroom and the old Prefects’ room, where they learnt about the history of many of the ‘old boys’.

The outing finished with afternoon tea at Stratford Methodist Church nearby.

Saturday 11 May 2019 11th May Trip to Chilvers Coton

George Eliot Outing, Chilvers Coton 

Members' and guests' first outing of the year was to Chilvers Coton to visit three buildings with historic links to George Eliot, as 2019 is the 200th anniversary of George Eliot's birth. 

The afternoon was led by local historians John Burton and David Paterson and started with a visit to Griff House, now a Beefeater pub, but once the childhood home of George Eliot (the pen name of Mary Ann Evans). The group then visited All Saints Church where they heard about the unique history of the church and its links to Eliot’s family, including a chance to visit the graveyard and some of the Evans family graves.  Then they were able to take a tour of Chilvers Coton Heritage Centre, once a school built by the Newdigate family in the 18th century, which now houses and preserves the memories of local communities, including several links to George Eliot. After a short introduction by John Burton, Chairman of the Heritage Centre, visitors were free to explore the Centre for themselves, including the Victorian parlour and Museum of Memories, which includes some community curated exhibitions.  Visitors enjoyed an excellent afternoon tea, served at the Heritage Centre.


Tuesday 16 April 2019

Members' Evening: Aspects of Warwickshire's History.

Over 40 people attended another of Warwickshire Local History Society’s (WLHS) popular ‘Members’ Evenings’, where members get the chance to showcase examples of current research into aspects of our County’s history.

Tuesday’s meeting featured short presentations covering the north and south of Warwickshire and the County town.

Steve Moore gave a lively talk entitled 'An early C19 Murder: A socio-economic study of victim & murderer in Nuneaton', which looked at ‘The Undoing of Polly Button’, a nineteenth century ribbon weaver who was murdered by the father of one of her 5 children, John Danks. 

Robert Howe unravelled a mystery 'A Chapel at Crimscote? or The Crimscote Chapel', looking at the documentary evidence surrounding the supposed existence of this building.

Mark Booth considered the history of 'The Friends' Meeting House in Warwick', particularly pertinent as this was the last meeting of the WLHS in this historic building before we move to our new home at Aylesford School.

Tuesday 19 March 2019

AGM followed by David Paterson: George Eliot: How a North Warwickshire upbringing helped to produce one of our greatest novelists.

2019 is the 200th anniversary of George Eliot's birth. Over 60 people attended the talk given by local historian and member, David Paterson, and learnt how Eliot (who was actually Mary Ann Evans; George Eliot was her pen name) spent her first 30 years living in Warwickshire. Her novels reflect the atmosphere of North Warwickshire; everything from the poor ribbon weavers, the mines and miners, the landed gentry, the transport of canal and coach, the grim workhouse, clergy and schools, to mention a few. David gave us evidence of all of these from Eliot’s many novels, including Mill on the Floss and Middlemarch, and his talk was interspersed with lively readings from her books.  He illustrated it with images of some of the areas that provided the inspiration for many of the places in her books, including Red Deeps (Griff Hollows in Mill on the Floss).

This talk followed a short AGM, where Dr John Bland retired from his position of Chair after many years loyal service and Dr John Wilmot was unanimously voted in as the new Chair.


Tuesday 19 February 2019

Dr Lucy Underwood, 'The Catholic experience and aspects of childhood, in Warwickshire and beyond’.

Over 50 people enjoyed a talk given by Dr Lucy Underwood at the Friends Meeting House in Warwick on Tuesday 19th February.

Dr Underwood of Warwick University gave a lively talk about Catholic life and identity during and after the Reformation, looking particularly at the children’s perspective in what were often turbulent times.  She told a rapt audience about instances of children hiding priests from the authorities, children being questioned about their parents’ (illegal) Catholic activities, and children attending clandestine Catholic schools, from which they were sometimes removed by the Protestant authorities and placed with foster parents.  Many of these children went on to study abroad and become Catholic priests themselves. For those of you wishing to find more about this topic, Dr Underwood has written several publications, including Childhood, Youth and Religious Dissent in Post-Reformation England (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). Follow link for Further notes

Saturday 1 December 2018

Pre- Christmas Social  1st December-- Visit to British Motor Museum, Gaydon

 In the Museum's impressive building, members enjoyed looking at vehicles from the earliest days of motoring up to some of the latest ‘concept’ vehicles, as well as the displays on related social history.

‘Women and the motor car’ was the title of a talk from Stephen Laing, the Museum’s Curator, drawn largely from its archives.  Women have played varying roles in the industry since the earliest days (the ‘Motor Mills’ starting in Coventry in 1896). Among the Edwardian pioneers, mostly wealthy enthusiasts, was Dorothy Levitt. She was a colourful figure and the first female driver to win a race (in 1903).  Her 1909 handbook for women drivers suggested various glove box items, including a long-handled mirror for rearward vision and a pistol for self-defence!

In both World Wars women were employed in huge numbers in car factories, as they switched to armaments and military equipment. However the male workers often resented them, concerned about future jobs.  In the 1920s, the arrival of smaller, cheaper cars enlarged horizons for middle-class families, and much marketing effort was aimed at women. The 1960s saw the Mini associated with both male and female celebrities, while in the next decade society was changed through the female machinists’ strike at Ford Dagenham and the subsequent Equal Pay Act.  

After the talk members enjoyed a sumptuous tea. 

Tuesday 20 November 2018

 ‘Why Birmingham? Why not Coventry, Lichfield or Worcester? Jacqui Geater offered revealing insights into Tudor society through her research on wills and inventories of property (available as a Dugdale volume). She had studied the records of sixteenth-century Birmingham, then a prosperous market town on the fringe of the Warwickshire Arden. Its citizens combined mixed farming with a variety of trades, many of which were reflected in the inventories. She suggested that their freedom from craft, manorial and ecclesiastical constraints fostered an entrepreneurial culture; this enabled the town to thrive and later to surpass the region’s established cities. 

Tuesday 16 October 2018

 'Dr John Conolly (1794-1866), physician, reformer and enigma: his years in Warwickshire.'   Dr John Wilmot (Vice-Chairman of WLHS) gave the first autumn talk, exploring the life and work of Dr John Conolly (1794-1866). He was a physician, reformer and one-time resident of Stratford and Warwick. He is best known for introducing more humane care of the mentally ill, but the lecture  concentrated on his earlier period in Warwickshire. He co-founded the Stratford Dispensary, became mayor of Stratford, and was active in field ranging from mecahnics' institutes to the Shakespeare Club. (Read fuller report here).

Saturday 22 September 2018

Visit to Yardley ancient parish,  Birmingham -- St Edburgha’s Church and Blakesley Hall Museum. We  explored St Edburgha’s Church; a hidden gem in the Yardley Village Conservation Area in eastern Birmingham.  There we heard about the patron, St Edburgha, grand-daughter of King Alfred, and saw building features including Katherine of Aragon’s door and a mysterious ‘lost’ underground crypt. 

Nearby we had a fascinating tour of  Blakesley Hall, now part of Birmingham Museums. Richard Smalbroke, a leading Birmingham merchant, built this timber-framed house in 1590.  The furnishings, based on a 17th century inventory, reflect the lifestyle of a wealthy Tudor and Stuart family.

Saturday 7 July 2018

Saturday 7 July -- Guy’s Cliffe House and Guy’s Cliffe walled garden, Warwick. We explored the largely ruined house on this striking site and associated buildings, including the 14th-century Chapel. Wealth from 18th-century Caribbean sugar plantations enabled the Greatheed family to create a substantial mansion. Across the Coventry Road, we found the estate's original kitchen garden, since  2014 being restored by  the volunteers of the Guys Cliffe Walled Garden Trust. They discussed with our group the planting in the restored garden and showed historic items unearthed on the site.  

Saturday 16 June 2018

Filllongley, North Warwickshire: we saw Fillongley's Castle ruins, the church of St Mary's and All Saints, smaller historic buildings, and features of artistic interest. Our tour was led by Susan Moore, local resident, artist and historian. In the village, we saw local history relected in the changing uses of older buildings, then explored the Church and saw the Methodist Preachers' retirement homes. A longer detour took in Fillongley Castle, before calling in at Susan's home and studio, the Old Granary. We finished with a fine tea at the Social (old Working Men's) Club near the church.

Saturday 5 May 2018

Chamberlaine Almshouses, Old Meeting House and Heritage Centre (Victorian Parsonage).             We explored the Parish Church and the Nicholas Chamberlaine Almshouses, noting the nineteenth-century changes financed from the profitable local coalfield. Finally, the Old Meeting Church was a reminder of the strength of dissent in North Warwickshire in the late seventeenth-century, following restoration of the monarchy. John Burton was an excellent guide, providing a  corrective to Pevsner's view of Bedworth as ‘a depressing small town’.

Meeting report: 'Getting Online for Research and Publicity'.

The winter lectures are free to WLHS members and members of affiliated Local History Societies; we charge £3.00 for non-members - refundable on the night when joining the Society!

For a list of other societies' lectures and events, see our OTHER EVENTS page.









The British Motor Museum at Gaydon



Chapel and outbuildings at Guys Cliffe

(7 July visit)

Volunteers at work in Guys Cliffe Walled garden (7 July) 




    Church of St Mary and All Saints, Fillongley (Photo Wikipedia)