Richmond & Twickenham Branch History 1964-2011

Branch History

By Miss Christine Barlett, published 6th June 2011

Richmond & Twickenham Branch History 1964-2011

In 1964 some members of the historical Association, mostly from the West London branch, met at Maria Grey Training College in Isleworth to set up a new branch for the Richmond & Twickenham area. A Provisional Committee was formed with George Bartle, a college lecturer, as Secretary. Backing & advice was given by Central Office.

A programme of lectures was drawn up & the first meeting took place on 9th October in Richmond in what became later the Adult College, with the full support of its Principal. About 50 people attended & heard Miss Honeybourne, Vice president of the Association, speak on "the Plague of London in 1665." The formal setting up of the Branch & election of its first Committee was also approved at this meeting. Professor R.F. Leslie, from Queen Mary College London, became Chairman in 1965 & later President & provided advice & help over the years.

The branch held its first 6th Form Conference in 1967 at a local grammar school on a Saturday in October & students paid a small fee to attend. There were 2 lectures on the "French Revolution". 208 students & 23 staff came & the branch was so pleased with the result that further similar conferences were held in 1969 & 1971 on topics associated with A.L. syllabuses.

In the early years local visits were made to places of historic interest, mostly with an expert guide, but when member attending dwindled the branch dropped the idea.

In 1973 George Bartle resigned as Secretary, but remained a committee member until 1994, when he retired owing to ill health. He deserves our grateful thanks for all that he did for the branch over the years.

Branch meetings were held at the Adult College until 1979, when the room no longer became available. We found a new meeting place at another building in Richmond, run by the Richmond Council for Voluntary Service where we met until 1996 when we moved into their new building which was more central & remained there until 2006. Since then the branch has moved to the vestry hall, run by the Richmond Parish Lands Charity where we are very comfortable.

Through the years we have maintained a lecture programme of 6-8 talks a season, with coffee provided. There have always been more members belonging to the association than attending meetings. They do provide an income but sometimes numbers have been so small at meetings that it is dispiriting for the efforts of the committee in making the arrangements & for the speaker attending.

From the 1990s the number of members being prepared to serve on the Committee dwindled for various reasons until only 2 were left, who were Christine Bartlett, who had been on the Committee since 1968 & Programme Secretary since 1976 & Terence Rickson, on the Committee since 1970 & Treasurer since 1974. Other members assisted on the day of the meeting by looking after the speaker & chairing the meetings but not formally joining the Committee.

Christine and Terence finally resigned from the Committee in 2009 & were thanked for keeping the branch in existence at a difficult time. Since then the Branch has been rejuvenated by Professor Michael Lee & a new Committee formed. Some fresh ideas are being developed & although we would still like to see more members as well as visitors attending meetings we hope that the branch is strong enough to survive into the future.

Report by Miss Christine Barlett, 12 Arnold Crescent, Isleworth, TW7 7NT

Phone: 020 8898 5016

3 March 2011