We have come a long way in the year since the opening of the Centre.
It is now fully operational with a 40 year lease completed. The shelving donated fron the Whitfield Archive centre is now virtually in place, with the exception of some on the ground floor which is still languishing in the farm shed. We will soon be able to determine the use of the remaining wall space.
Thanks to £1000 grant from Leyland Ridings’ councillor’s fund , we have been able to buy archive equipment such as tape, plastic pockets, archive boxes and folders which we badly need as we have started collating all the material already donated to the centre.
There is a very strong and keen working group meeting on Monday mornings under the leadership of Cressida Williams and Peter Ewart. The group are sorting and organising deeds, many photographs, church material and village hall material.
We have a comprehensive data recording system thanks to sterling work by Janet Searle aided by Mary Evans. Many thanks are owed to Janet who has put in many hours of hard work. We are open to the public on Saturday mornings from 10 to 12 noon and hopefully can soon set up a rota of people to be there on a Saturday.
It has been an incredibly busy year for events. The March lecture was given by Richard Filmer and was a very entertaining presentation on Traditional Kentish Trades and Crafts.
In April we held Ash in Camera, an event inspired by the BBC's Francis Frith programme on the Victorian photographer. This was mainly organised by Cressida Williams and Penny Bernard with photo quizzes devised by the chairman using photos taken by the youth club and other young people. This event brought in families and young people as well as members.
This was followed by two exhibitions which certainly stretched the committee as we hardly knew what we had at this stage. This involved a lot of organisation and thanks to committee members we succeeded. The Village Hall Centenary exhibition in May brought to light documents and photos we did not know we possessed such as the original letter from Mr Gardner suggesting the building of a hall. The original plans for the Hall - in pristine condition - were given to the centre during the event.
The Jubilee exhibition in June followed on swiftly and was organised in decades of village life through the Queen’s reign. Both exhibitions were very well attended.
The August Heritage walk, devised by the chairman and Peter Ewart, was again well attended and enhanced with Peter’s inimitable stories.
In September some members enjoyed a memorable visit to Molland House learning about its history and ending with splendid tea and scones.
The year finished with the David Downes Memorial lecture, given this year by Dr David Cave who presented a well researched and entertaining presentation about the ‘Guilton Hoard’ the excavations of the Anglo Saxon Cemetery . This was enhanced by a description of a recent excavation by a local resident before a building extension and some Anglo Saxon objects brought along by Canterbury Archaeological group.
The Heritage Calendar for 2013 has made use of the young people’s photos together with old ones, and -thanks to the graphic design skills of Claire Limbry - looks very effective.
We have continued recording the memories of those in Ash in World War 2 and have supplied the school with a box of resources of Ash in Victorian times . David Cave has been obtaining material on the 1910 survey for future use and we are working continuously on collating data and photos.
We have been awarded £1000 from the coalfield regeneration funds for a laptop we can use outside the centre , a scanner and a camcorder. The blog site run by Kevin Connolly is increasing in use.
We are hoping to help the church through an Open Day next August by devising 7 or 8 sites within the church and churchyard where someone from the past appears and tells their story. We will be following the pattern otherwise that we have established of a talk in March and one in November, a possible house visit and heritage walk.
All this has been achieved thanks to a lot of hard work by the committee and many members - especially the Monday working group who deserve special thanks. Some are now expert at reading old writing and legal jargon!