Brief History of the Lincolnshire Branch.
- When the branch was founded
There was a successful branch of the Historical Association in Lincolnshire after World War Two, centred in Boston, and run by staff from the schools there. In 1999, when I moved to Lincolnshire, I discovered there was no longer a functioning branch and called a meeting to discuss setting one up. All schools in the county were circulated, and a large meeting resulted in the decision to restart a branch. The rest, as they say, is history!
- Location of meetings and range of activities in the early years
Lincolnshire is such a large county it is difficult to meet somewhere that suits everyone. Luckily, we were offered free use of Little Hale Methodist Chapel to hold our meetings. This is a delightful Grade 2 Primitive Methodist Chapel, dating from 1837, which makes a very welcoming place for both speakers and attendees. The Branch operates a ‘traditional' lecture programme, from September [our AGM] to December, and then from March to June or July. All meetings take place at 4.30, which seems to suit our audience, and allows speakers to get back from the depths of Rural Lincolnshire at a [fairly] civilised time. They are also renowned for their home-made biscuits!
- Any significant dates/events in its history
We have tried to offer wide-ranging talks to interest all, and also, on occasions, to have speakers that might appeal to Sixth Formers too. In the past we have run regular Sixth Form Conferences, as well as occasional sessions for primary and secondary teachers, although these are in abeyance at present, largely through lack of time to organise these events. We are always extremely grateful to all our speakers, many of whom return time after time, to help us continue to develop as a branch.
- What's changed in terms of how the branch operates now: what types of events/activities now take place (if different)
One innovation last year was a Christmas Quiz, which was popular with a proportion of the membership, and we also ran a ‘member's session', where people could spend 10 minutes talking about things they were reading or working on . This went really well. It was surprising what a variety of topics people were working on, and prepared to talk about.
We have built up a good working relationship with the Schools Improvement Service in Lincolnshire, and Lincolnshire libraries, who are always happy to publicise our events, and the local media, both newspapers and radio, who are always approachable. We did have a stall one year at the local village show, Heckington Show, which attracts 25,000 people over a weekend in July, promoting the Branch, which generated a lot of interest and follow up. Good speakers are the lifeblood of a branch, and we seem to be able to persuade them to come to inform and entertain us. When people leave a meeting saying, ‘That was great,' or ‘I really enjoyed that,' you know it is worthwhile.