News

 For information about general local history-related events in Warwickshire and beyond.    

  • Southam Heritage Collection has a new exhibition: After the War: Southam since 1945, at its location in Tithe Place, Southam.  Visit the Southam Heritage Collection website for more details.

  • Shakespeare Birthplace Trust  has now launched a limited copy order service.  All details can be found by visiting the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Reading Room website.   

  • The University of Lincoln and the Council for British Archaeology have developed Dig School, a new online programme of lively extra-curricular in-school and home-school based workshops themed around archaeology suitable for secondary school students.  Week by week, participants can enjoy developing new knowledge, ideas and transferable skills for life and learning, including excavation.  Dig School has been created to support educators delivering engaged learning during the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.  To find out more, visit the Dig School website. 

    Burton Dassett: Conservation work has started within the past few days to repair the beacon tower located within Warwickshire County Council’s Burton Dassett Hills Country Park, following delays to the project after bats were identified to be hibernating inside the tower’s domed roof. The Beacon tower is one of only two historical monuments found in all of Warwickshire, and is being restored to once again be enjoyed by the people of Warwickshire now and for future generations.Read this Burton Dassett Hills press release for more information.
  • Inspired by the British Library Exhibition #UnfinishedBusiness, Warwickshire Libraries are highlighting some of the women in Warwickshire’s history who fought for recognition and for women’s rights.  Visit the Unfinished Business website to find out about Warwickshire women, objects and archives in Warwickshire's museum and archive collections, and suggested reading.
  • HS2 archaeologists in Birmingham unearth one of UK's best preserved 16th century gardens  Historians have been left stunned by the discovery near Coleshill on the outskirts of Birmingham - which has been dubbed "Warwickshire's answer to Hampton Court".  To find out more read this Birmingham Live article

  • St Michael's Leper Hospital in Warwick is the subject of a Compulsory Purchase Order by Warwick District Council.  Comprising The Master’s House, St Michael’s Chapel and an Ancient Monument, the site has lain in ruins for decades with no definitive plans coming forward for its regeneration.  Following years of council and Historic England funded studies, plans and funding are now in place to regenerate the site.

  • The George Eliot Fellowship have been busy marking the 201st birthday of George Eliot, on 22nd November.  A CD of favourite George Eliot readings by Gabriel Woolf and Rosalind Shanks is on sale, priced £10, and a virtual birthday celebration is planned on 22nd November.  CDs cost £10 each and cheques payable to ‘George Eliot Visitor Centre’ can be sent to 39 Lower Road, Barnacle, Coventry CV7 9LD.   Those interested in taking part in the virtual birthday celebration on 22nd November should email:  gef1930@gmail.com for a link.

  • Holy Trinity Parish Church in Sutton Coldfield have published a new history of the church and you can read all about it on the Holy Trinity Parish Church website.  It includes timelines, interactive floor plans and an aerial video of the church and is well worth a look. You can also purchase a book all about the history of the church.  

Are you looking for something new to look at while you're indoors?  Try these history and heritage related websites, podcasts, etc:

  • The Editors of the Enclyopaedia Britannica write on many varied subjects.  For example, The Ten Days that Vanished looks at the implementation of the Gregorian Calendar in 1582.  A range of eclectic subjects well worth a read.

  • Knowle Local History Group have been busy during lockdown.  Read their newsletter to find out what they've been up to, or visit their website, where you will find a very comprehensive rundown of Knowle's local history, resources, information about the town, etc.

  • Our Warwickshire.  If you are interested in the history, heritage and natural environment of Warwickshire, this website contains thousands of photos, stories, memories and maps.  They have been uploaded by local people, museums and archives. You can get lost in it for hours! Visit the Our Warwickshire website.

  • Museum Virtual Tours.  You can visit 12 museums, including The British Museum, London, and The Guggeheim Museum, New York, from the comfort of your couch by taking a virtual tour on YouTube.  Museum Virtual Tours

  • The History West Midlands site is an independent website which provides free access to a variety of programmes and different media focussing on the history of the people of the West Midlands, their ideas, innovation and industry. It has a selection of podcasts and articles perfect for those wishing to be entertained at home.  There is a strong focus on Birmingham.  Click here for their site.

  • English Heritage has made available a collection of varied articles and films to do with the many historic sites and buildings they look after.  Historians such as Dan Snow have contributed.  There is also the opportunity to see online presentations, with many beautiful photographs, of West Midland sites such as Kenilworth and Bolsover Castles.  Click here for their site.

  • Oxford Continuing Education enables you to visit the world’s museums, libraries, language centres and more – and give your brain a workout – all from your own home. Compiled by academics and staff of Oxford Continuing Education, these freely available educational resources will help entertain you during challenging times.  Click here for their site.  

  • YouTube can also be a good place to go for a wide variety of entertainment, including history talks.   For example, the video of the 2012 Parish Studies Symposium features our own Beat Kumin giving the opening address at the Tenth Warwick Symposium on Parish Research. Click here to see it.

  • Film Archives can also be a great source of entertainment; check out the Media Archive of Central England (MACE) which allows you to carry out county specific and theme based searches and view lots of free films. The Britain on Film (BFI) website is similar, and offers you the chance of clicking onto a map of the UK to see what films exist for each area.

  • If you want to find something to listen to, the BBC Sounds website (also available on an app) has a whole range of documentaries and programmes.  Listen out for 'You're Dead to Me', a light-hearted series with topics such as Eleanor of Aquitaine or the history of chocolate, or just enjoy adaptations of historical books such as Hilary Mantel's new bestseller, The Mirror and the Light - perfect if you can't get to a bookstore.

  • Online TV Channels such as Dan Snow's History Hit Channel claim to offer a wide range of history podcasts, articles and audio clips.  The main content is via a paid for subscription but some of the articles can be accessed without subscribing, albeit with a lot of adverts included in the text. 

  • The Social Historian by Dr Jonathan Healey of Oxford – colourful and sometimes racy incidents from history’s byways. Click here.

  • British Newspaper Archive Blog by the editors at the British Newspaper Archive – notorious crimes and other incidents from the historic newspapers of Britain and Ireland. Click here. 

  • The British Museum Blog: Collections, objects and their stories –also virtual tours. Click here. 

  • History Today: from the popular historical magazine. Click here

  • Google Podcasts: also a vast selection, with history among many other topics. Click here.

More News ...

  • Historical Pageants.  Many of us enjoyed the talk on the Warwick Pageant earlier this year. The Historical Pageants Local History Study Guide might be of interest to you.

  • 'It's Not About Shakespeare' is a new book by WLHS member, Val Horton.  We are very aware of the remarkable Elizabethan history of Stratford but less aware of its more recent past. Beginning in 1775 with an Act of Inclosure through to 1914 and the First World War, Val’s book attempts to redress this imbalance. It costs £12.99 and can be bought from Waterstones in Stratford, Amazon and YouCaxton Publications (sales@youcaxton.co.uk).  “An impressively researched and fascinating insight into the changing character of a town in transition", says Dr Sarah Richardson, University of Warwick.  We are also hoping to sell this book at our regular meetings.  

  • David G Mattthews will shortly be bringing out the second volume of his series: From Gullwing to Spyder - The Last Healey at Le Mans.   Volume 1, The Partipicants, has already been published and profiles the 17 people involved in the Healey SR2/XR37, Donald Healey's last attempt at Le Mans with an all British built entry.  Matthews is a past employee of the Warwick based firm.  To find out more visit his website: http://worldwideaustinhealeys.com/index.htm

  • Warwickshire Wayside is a new, lottery funded project whoe purpose is to provide illustrations and information about Warwickshire’s surviving wayside heritage, to raise public awareness and to rally support for its protection.  Wayside heritage can include anything from boundary stones to signposts and mile posts.  Visit their website to find out more: https://warwickshirewayside.co.uk/

  • The Regimental Museum for the Queen's Royal Hussars - Churchills Own is being rebuilt at their new site in Trinity Mews, Priory Road, Warwick.  The Hussars used to have their Museum in The Lord Leycester Hospital until a couple of years ago when sadly due to MOD policy they had to move. The opening of the new museum is planned for summer next year.  

  • Archaeologists discover medieval remains at Compton Verney.  The installation of a new, outdoor sculpture by Israeli artist, Ariel Schlesinger, which was due to open on Saturday 12 October has been delayed due to the discovery of archaeological remains.  Three medieval burials were unearthed as the foundations were being dug to support the sculpture, and progress had to be halted to allow for archaeologists to excavate the site. A representative from Archaeology Warwickshire was undertaking a watching brief of the dig when the discovery was made. They say;  “Just at the depth needed for the foundations, the remains were exposed. Medieval pottery was found with the burials. The coroner was notified and he agreed that their location should be carefully recorded before being protected and re-covered. Best practice guidance from Historic England states that burials should not be disturbed without good reason.” 

  • "Capturing Kineton's Past" is a collection of Peter Ashley-Smith's essays and consists of short pieces about Kineton – its buildings, notable events and characters - written by Peter over the years, with historic photographs from David Beaumont’s collection. Many of you will remember Peter.  He was a very supportive member of the WLHS and helped his wife, Gill, do the society mailings for a number of years. He contributed to Warwickshire History and, with Gill, led a most enjoyable society visit to Kineton. Gill continues to take a great interest in WLHS doings and attends both lectures and visits. His book was launched by Kineton and District Local History Group at Kineton Village Hall on Friday 4th October at 7.30pm and can be purchased for £9.99.  Also available by contacting kinetonhistory@yahoo.co.uk

  • A new book on George Eliot entitled 'Fair-Seed Time: Robert Evans, Francis Newdigate and the making of George Eliot will be available at the end of October 2019 and is written by David Paterson, one of our committee members.  It is a major re-interpretation of the historical background to the writings of George Eliot and explores in detail Robert’s working relationship with his employers, the Newdigates, and shows how illuminating traces of that relationship can be found throughout her fiction.  The book, costing £12, can be purchased through Troubadour Press or via David (an email to events@warwickshirehistory.org.uk can be fowarded to David).  Click here for more details about the book. 

  • Your Local Lock-Up is a public engagement project which aims to locate Lock-Ups in use between the 16th and early 20th centuries.  It's been developed alongside the 19th Century Prisons database (www.prisonhistory.org/19th-century-prisons/), which provides a searchable list of 847 prisons and their archives.  Click here for more information on how YOU can help contribute to mapping Warwickshire's lock-ups, and for more information on this project and how to search this fascinating resource.

  • 'Living through the English Civil Wars': This Lottery-funded project, led by Dr Maureen Harris, is training volunteers  to transcribe more than 200 parliamentarian 'Accounts' covering three quarters of Warwickshire's parishes. The 'Accounts' reveal the traumatic effects of four years of continuous civil warfare (1642 to 1646) in a 'frontier' county like Warwickshire. Now one year into the 'Loss Accounts' project, the volunteers have all transcribed at least one of the 200 or more Warwickshire 'Accounts' that survive and some are working on their third or fourth. Workshops are continuing and volunteers are also extending their knowledge of the Civil Wars by researching some of the people named in the 'Accounts' and visiting record offices and sites of Civil War interest.  Click here to find out more about this major Civil War project. 

  • Steve Moore gave a very lively talk at the April WLHS meeting titled 'The Undoing of Polly Button', which many of us enjoyed.  He has written a book and would like you to know that he is donating all author profits from the book to three local good causes in Nuneaton. One of the good causes is the Chilvers Coton Heritage Centre which will be one of the stops on the George Eliot Outing the Society is running on 11 May. Finally, if members wished to keep abreast of the project and the publication of the book, you can visit their website, or Facebook group page.

  • The Dugdale Society's recent launch for its latest publication was very well attended.  The Early Records of Coleshill c.1120-1549 edited by Dr Andrew Watkins costs £35 plus £3 postage and packing within the UK.   Copies can be purchased by sending a cheque to the Dugdale Society, Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6QW.  Electronic payment can be arranged by sending an email to the Secretary of the Society at dugdale-society@hotmail.co.uk.  Members of the Dugdale Society receive their current publications free.  Click here for more information on this publication, and details on how to join the Dugdale Society.

  • World War 2 Oral Histories.  Click here to visit the fascinating website founded by broadcaster and historian, Dan Snow, and author and broadcaster, James Holland.  WarGen is a crowd-sourced online repository of oral-history from the people who lived through World War 2.  As well as containing varied stories from this fast disappearing generation, this group is now looking for individuals to join their volunteer team as interviewers in their local communities. They are also eager to hear from people who might have their own stories to tell. If you are interested in either becoming an interviewer or sharing your story, please contact Shane Greer at shane@wargen.org

  • 'Lanchester Archive. Frederick Lanchester is perhaps best known for designing and building the first all-British motor car in 1895 but he also published papers and books detailing the first scientific principles of flight, and theorised about the principles of colour photography before it was reality, and devised military strategies that underpin business management courses still taught today.  You can now visit the Lanchester Archive, based at Coventry University, and there are also opportunities to volunteer as a researcher, tour guide, community worker, etc. Click here to visit their website and find out more.

  • Polesworth Poetry Trail.  Ongoing work continues on this established poetry trail, which seeks to provide a way to explore Polesworth's history through contemporary, specially commissioned poems.  Click here for more information on the trail and Polesworth itself.

  • Kenilworth Family History Society: plenty here for the local historian too. See  Facebook Page. for more details