Our latest strategic plan: 2019-2020
1. Our object/aim
The object of the Langport & District History Society is to advance education for the public benefit into the history of Langport and the surrounding areas.
2. How we achieve our aim
We achieve our aim by:
a. Working with partners, such as the Battlefields Trust, Langport Library, community groups and other local history societies
b. Undertaking activities that highlight, illustrate or promote the history of the area
c. Researching and collecting information and material of local historical interest
d. Exhibiting and publishing information and material of local interest
3. What we do to achieve our aim
a. We organise a programme of talks given by visiting speakers
b. We arrange visits to sites or attractions of local historical interest
c. We create displays and exhibitions
d. We publish printed leaflets, pamphlets and books
e. We maintain our own website and use social media
4. Our plans for the coming year (2019 – 20)
a. Install an information board about Bagehot in All Saints’ Churchyard
b. Install an information board about Huish Episcopi and the Battle of Langport in the car park at St Mary’s Church
c. Continue to develop our research into Langport Carnivals
Trustees' Report to Members 2018-2019
Strategic plan 2018-19
In November 2018 the Trustees approved a strategic plan, which was circulated to all Members. Progress towards the objectives set out for 2018-19 was as follows:
4a. Achieve a smooth integration of the Bagehot Memorial Fund into the activities of the Society (Achieved, see below)
4b. Agree how best to commemorate the Battle of Langport, in consultation with the Battlefields Trust (Achieved, see below)
4c. Launch and promote our Not Just Names publication (Achieved, see below)
4d. Continue to develop our research into Langport Carnivals (no progress)
4e. Improve the audio equipment for our speakers (Achieved by facilities in the new venue)
Bagehot Memorial Fund
Our request to assume responsibility for the Bagehot Memorial Fund was agreed by the Langport Town Trust at their meeting on 18 September 2018. The formal agreement to the transfer of the Fund and its assets to the History Society was signed in June 2019. This process was completed on 13 August with the transfer of the final bank balances and the administrative files relating to the Fund. A ‘faculty’ application to the diocese for permission to erect an information board about Walter Bagehot in All Saints’ Churchyard is in progress.
Our proposal to create a mezzanine study area in the Library where some of the Bagehot material might be displayed was investigated by the Library Service’s County Council surveyor, who advised that it was not achievable. Although we could have sought a second opinion, at a cost, we decided not to pursue the idea. It also became obvious that the operation of the Langport Information Centre would be installed in the Library, and that this would almost certainly make it more difficult for us to clear the necessary floor area for our monthly talks. We therefore resolved, reluctantly, that we would have to move our venue. After considering several alternatives, we decided to move to the Sixth Form Auditorium at Huish Episcopi Academy in April. With its huge screen, built-in projector and sound system, the new venue is working well for us. The additional ability to offer refreshments before the talk from the adjacent cafeteria has also proved popular.
Battle of Langport
We approached Huish Episcopi Parish Council for permission to erect an information board in the car park at St Mary’s Church (which they own). This was granted on 13 May 2019. The Battlefields Trust has agreed to grant us £500 towards the cost, and further fund-raising will be necessary. We arranged another guided walk of the Battle of Langport site on 6 July, led by Julian Humphrys of the Battlefields Trust, which was well attended and well received.
At the end of August we had 52 members, an increase of 6 over last year.
This year’s talks covered subjects including Birnbeck Pier, the SS Great Britain, and Thomas Hardy. Audience figures remain at around 40 per talk, but speakers’ fees are increasing. This is partly offset by an increase in visitor numbers, despite the doubling of the cost, to 57.
This year’s visit to the SS Great Britain was a great success. In addition to the ship and the new Being Brunel exhibition, a visit to the archives revealed some items of interest, including the fact that Brunel visited Langport during the planning of the new Bow Bridge.
The 2018 Christmas social event was held at the Black Swan pub in North Street. A display of newly acquired images, a quiz and a well-organised raffle added to the interest of the evening. Attendance was disappointing at around 20, but everyone greatly enjoyed it.
During the year we had a further 20 copies printed of Not just names, our commemoration of the lives of those who are remembered on our war memorials. Like our other publications, they are advertised for sale on our website and at our talks. This year we instituted an occasional electronic newsletter to keep members up to date in between meetings and to advertise forthcoming events. Those few members not on email are sent a printed copy.
This year I have received more enquiries than ever, mostly via the general email address ([email protected]), indicating that the enquirers found it on our website. They were evenly split between queries about family history and queries about individual buildings. We continue to develop the website, which includes local historical resources and details about our Society (https://sites.google.com/site/langportheritage/home).
The Society thanks the Library staff for providing space and facilities for our regular meetings, and now also thanks the staff of Huish Episcopi Academy for their help and co-operation in our new venue. I am also very grateful to the Officers and Committee of the Society for all their efforts and support throughout the year.
Feedback of any kind from Members, or indeed anyone else, is always encouraged and very welcome. It’s YOUR Society!
Janet Seaton, Chair. September 2019