There was a high attendance at the Tenth AGM of the West Berkshire Heritage Forum on 31st May 2019, hosted this year by The Old Bluecoat School, formerly St Thomas's Chapel, Thatcham's Grade I listed building. During 2018 to 2019 the Forum has carried out a further Local Listing Panel, and put forward five heritage assets to the Council, the approval of which is awaited, and is setting up a working group to review the Historic Environment Action Plan (HEAP). Parishes and societies have been generous in their donations this year, and the Forum's finances are healthy as a result. After the business of the AGM concluded, the Trustees of the Old Bluecoat School gave a presentation on the work which had been done to repair and restore the Chapel, its current use as a community asset by over forty groups a week, and the plans for its future maintenance. https://oldbluecoatschool.org.uk
Newbury's Blue Plaques: Following this presentation, Dr David Peacock, standing in for Anthony Pick, explained the Blue Plaque process in Newbury, and the wish of the Council to vary the subjects of the plaques, and presented a brief explanation for each of the plaques currently erected. https://www.newbury.gov.uk/heritage-working-group.php
Remembering the Forgotten Few: Nathan Gregory explained the impetus for a project to rediscover the soldiers omitted from Thatcham's War Memorial, and how the Town Council had gone about researching them, finally unveiling the names in time for the 2018 Remembernace Day Service. https://www.nickbits.co.uk/blog/2018/11/thatcham-remembers
Interpreting Thatcham's Heritage: Dr Nick Young explained how the research on Thatcham's history had been started in 2010 with the publication of "Thatcham: An Historic Town" and that this had continued with research into the three Thatcham VC's. leading to an interpretation panel beside their commemorative stones, to a Blue Plaque for the Kings Head, with more planned, and to Interpretation Panels in the Broadway, due to be unveiled on 17th July. http://www.thatchamtowncouncil.gov.uk/thatchamheritage/
The Mortimer Heritage Trail: Cllr Nick Carter explained that the trail had been created through collaboration between the Local History Group and the Parish Council, and that the self-guided walks were supported by dowloadable guides and a mobile app under development. http://tinyurl.com/HeritageTrail1 and http://tinyurl.com/HeritageTrail2
Historic Environment Action Plan (HEAP): Sue Ellis gave a brief presnetation on the Heap, explaining it had been created in 2011 and was now urgenlty in need of review and revision to ensure it continued to provide relevant themes and objectives for the district. She asked for any groups interested in being involved to contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org
Following refreshments, the meeting closed at 9.45pm.