Diary Days 2017

2017 Events with reviews

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19 High Street, Pershore - over 500 years - 7th November 2017

During the talk given by James Pettifer on 14th November in St. Andrews Hall on the origins of what became known as Pettifer’s Yard i.e. 19 High Street, he showed an old map of what was a Saxon settlement around Pershore with the Avon even then becoming known as a trade artery. We were told that if Chaucer is read it is made clear that the Saxon times produced the equivalent of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll!

Amongst No. 19’s claim to fame was being one of the first in Pershore to have a Thomas Crapper toilet installed, although the building at the rear was an C18 woolbarn during the times when wool stapling was at its height and one of the sources of local wealth.

No 8 Talk - 3rd October 2017

Foyer refitted 2017A talk was given by Keith Goddard one of the extremely knowledgeable trustees of Number 8, beginning with a little of the history of the building originally called Portland House and much more about the conversion from a very rundown building to a community centre featuring a theatre, dance studio, meeting rooms and café.
He showed an early photo dated approx. 1890 with the next one dated 1905 featuring a retail shop called Greenhous with a Georgian style frontage after which in 1960 the Co-op installed 2 bay windows, it later became the YMCA charity shop.

Conversion of rear of buildingIn 1995 a move began in the town to create an arts centre and once again the building became a charity shop to raise funds to achieve this goal.

Wychavon District Council agreed to buy the building and after 5 years when Number 8 proved it was a viable proposition, agreed a 99 year lease at a literally peppercorn rent. Number 8 Theatre and Community Arts Centre opened its doors in December 2004 having run a makeshift cinema for a while every Saturday night at the rear of the charity shop.Excavated mediaeval cooking pot

The various phases of the building were shown from excavating a mediaeval cooking pot which it is rumoured later became a chamber pot, found in a cellar under the rear yard of the property, through to its latest refit his year after which it was officially re-opened on 28th September. Who knows what the future holds?

The Beauchamp Community - 23rd September 2017
Our group was led into a spacious quadrangle to see the elegant Victorian Almshouses. These were dedicated in 1864 as homes for the retired workers from the Madresfield estate and the poor of the parish.
From the outset the community enjoyed daily Anglo-Catholic worship which continues to the present time. Residency in the community has been expanded to welcome practising Anglicans from anywhere in the country. Many visitors still attend Sunday celebrations of the Mass.

Both the Almshouses and St Leonards Church, a masterpiece of Victorian Gothic architecture, were designed by Philip Charles Hardwick,a member of the Oxford Movement. This was reflected in the Anglo Catholic choir school tradition. The choristers, who boarded within the community, sang in daily services until the choir school closed in 1945.

The church is famous for its frescos, devised by Revd James Skinner, the first vicar-warden. Frescos of saints, (female!) surround the walls of the St Leonards. St Leonards, a grade 1 listed building, continues to benefit from the generous donations of benefactors.

Within the community were the cloisters, reconstructed medieval chapel, theological library and the Grand Hall. It was there that two of the residents plied us with coffee, tea and cake.

Visit to Evesham Vale Growers - 17th July 2017

A party of 14 met outside EVG now know as Springhill Farms (Pershore)Ltd in Blackminster before assembling in reception to be welcomed by John Mathews.

He gave a brief history of the company, owned by the two Sicilian Billie brothers still very much involved after 22 years. The company employs 400 mainly Eastern European workers living in accommodation provided by the company including the converted Victoria Hotel in Pershore.

Tomatoes are planted in January and ready for picking in about 10 weeks without any spraying, don’t think anyone realised until we were shown around the glasshouses that each plant stem is about 30m long and bears up to 43 trusses all hydroponically grown and fertilised by bees brought in specially.

Rainwater harvesting assists the hydroponic growing and water is constantly pumped along each row. Plants finish cropping in November allowing a couple of months for clearing and burning before replanting in January although the waste plants can’t be fed into the anaerobic digester because of the amounts of string around which the stems entwine in the glasshouses.

Many thanks to John and staff for an enjoyable and informative visit and it was good to learn that these very same tomatoes can be bought in our local greengrocers.

Photograph Identification Opportunity - 8th July 2017
Approximately 200 people attended this year’s display of old photos of Pershore in St. Andrews Hall enjoying reminiscing and identifying places, people and dates.
Even more photos were enjoyed via the digital expertise of Chris Ludlow who showed not only photos inherited from his parents but many from his own vast collection via his laptop screen.
The morning also presented an opportunity for chats over a cup of tea and an opportunity for old and new residents to intermingle. The main request of the morning after a cuppa was for a similar exhibition next year – so watch this space!
Visit to Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway - 14th June 2017
Thomas the Tank Engine waiting for his faceTwenty-two members met at Toddington Station and were taken on a tour of the loco sheds where we saw examples of the huge equipment used on these mammoth engines and carriages.
We also saw Thomas the Tank Engine having been brought from its home in Llangollen for this special event day
After the tour came the cream tea served on the 2.45pm train to Cheltenham Racecourse when a couple of our male members were invited to ride on the footplate for part of the journey.
A delightful journey through the beautiful Gloucestershire countryside bathed in sunshine.
Tour of Pershore College of Horticulture - 23rd May 2017
Members were given a tour by Duncan Coombes of Pershore Horticultural College around the various specifically planted gardens and agrotech centre, after which exertion a reviving afternoon tea was gratefully consumed. The visit provided a fascinating insight into modern day horticulture utilising new technology and growing for 21st century markets. The reception area featured a large tank of various goldfish, the waste from which is used to fertilise a crop on the benches above in artificial light, plus a growing wall of plants. Sadly, as all day release students only attend for theoretical training they don’t carry out any outside practical work including maintenance in the gardens although students do get plant knowledge from the garden set up by the Hardy Plant Society – mainly perennials. Nevertheless, the gardens were looking stunning with dark purple irises against a backdrop of yellow leaved shrubs. There was a quick tour of a quick crop in of one of the glasshouses where salads are grown and harvested within 6 weeks, including beetroot, radish and chard, then sold to Claridges restaurant Fera.
Sir Edward Elgar the Man and Woman Behind the Music - 4th April 2017
As a child, Edward studied the music available to him in his father’s shop, taught himself to play several instruments, and started composing at the age of ten. Later, Edward took over from his father as organist at St George’s Church, Worcester. For several years he conducted and composed for local musical organisations, and eventually, in 1889, he married one of his pupils, Alice Roberts, against her family’s wishes. Alice was well connected and proved a great support to Edward.
After Alice’s death in 1920 Edward developed other female friendships including, particularly, another Alice.
Elgar first big success came with ’Variations on an an original theme’(Enigma) in 1899, a masterpiece in form and presentation.
Our speaker, during his research on Sir Edward Elgar, thought he might have cracked the ‘Enigma’ of the variations, written mainly in the key of G major, with some in the minor, but ending in G major; Edu….in….G major becomes E ni Gma. Will we ever know?
The Georgian Walled Garden at Croome - 3rd March 2017
Following a well attended AGM, Chris and Karen Cronin gave a fascinating presentation of their efforts in transforming what was once Croom Court’s overgrown kitchen garden, into a lovely example of how it would have originally looked. Rose beds have been planted, derelict greenhouses replaced and everything is now blooming.
This typically Georgian style walled kitchen garden set in the grounds of Croome Court is now open to the public most weekends during the summer and is well worth a visit. You never know, tea with homemade scones may be on the menu and you will be made very welcome. For more details see: croomewalledgardens.com

2016 Diary Days and Reviews >>>