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Page history last edited by R H Johnston 16 years ago


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!The Yateley Society & Local History

This page, and those linked to it have been derived from the Yateley Society's annual exhibition in Yateley Library in 2003. The exhibition, coinciding with National Local History Month for which the 2004 theme was learning and skills, was mounted jointly with Yateley WEA (Workers' Educational Association) now (2008) sadly defunct


The Yateley Society is registered with the Civic Trust as the civic amenity society for Yateley. Formed in January 1981 by the students and lecturers of a Hampshire County Council adult education class in the academic year 1979-1980. The Yateley Society adopted the model Civic Trust constitution and became registered charity no 282397.


The 1979 adult education course, entitled The Study of Yateley, was the brainchild of the Yateley Centre Warden, Luath Grant Ferguson. Covering every aspect of Yateley from geology, through local history to zoology, the course tutors who Luath drew together were chiefly local people with expert knowledge or passionate hobbies. Most of the students became 'hooked' and, together with many of the lecturers, formed The Yateley Study Group in order to continue to meet together in the summer of 1980. The Study Group then itself ran a condensed 6-week induction course at the Frogmore Centre in September 1980. By November the group had decided to adopt the model Civic Trust constitution and, on 15 January 1981, The Yateley Society came into being. The Society immediately applied to the Charity Commissioners to become a registered charity, with one of its charitable objects:

To educate the public in the geography, history, natural history and architecture of the area of benefit.

An article in the Yateley Centre 'Mag' in January 1981, promoting the inaugural meeting of the Yateley Society, explained in detail its origins and its objectives.


The newly formed Executive Committee knew that to win the impending major planning inquiries the Society had to research all aspects of Yateley, past present and future. It was felt that rigorous local history research had to be carried out using the methods promoted, among others, by HPR Finberg and VHT Skipp in Local History: Objective and Pursuit. Research studies completed for other villages were studied. Good research would enable the Society better to defend its five listed buildings and the single Conservation Area -- which had dramatically been extended as a result of letter of objection from the Yateley Study Group to a planning application. The enlarged area includes the whole of Yateley Green and Yateley Hall.


MICHAEL HOLROYD was the instigator and coordinator of the Yateley History Project. Michael joined the Yateley Society by attending the Society's first Induction Course. He became the first Chairman of the Walks, Visits & Events Sub-Commitee. A keen local historian Michael set up a Landscape History Group, organising a parish boundary walk, a walk to Festaen Dic, and a survey of the extension of Lomer's Lane across the common.


Soon after the Society's formation in 1981 Michael suggested asking the WEA to run a joint course on Landscape History. Dr John Porter was engaged by the WEA for a 10 lecture course in the Spring Term of 1982 entitled Landscape History: Sources and Methods. From this course sprang the tutorial group: The Yateley History Project. The WEA co-opted Michael onto its Committee for the duration of the Project. In 1983 Michael took over the role of History Group Leader for the next four years. He subsequently enrolled on a diploma course in Local History Studies.


The Yateley History Project produced two booklets and, among other several projects, transcribed most or the wills of Yateley people from 1558 to 1700. This data was typed onto early personal computers. In 1991 the Executive decided to launch Yateley History Project Phase II with the objective of issuing existing digital archives in a form readable by the several different operating systems then in used by members. The core historical material issued on four 3.5 inch discs (Version 1) was the data from YHP phase I, plus the survey and history of Yateley Hall carried out by Dr Richard Johnston and plus various research done by Peter Tipton before the Yateley Study Group existed. The second objective for Phase II was to digitise Yateley documents in the Hampshire Record Office and in particular the surrenders and admissions in the Crondall Manorial Court books from 1729 to the 1950s. This was completed by Richard Johnston, who then digitised the records of the Manor of Hall Place.At the same time a variety of documents already held by the Yateley Society in paper form were being transcribed, and so made computer searchable


Richard Johnston acquired a scanner and CD-writer in 1996 and issued a first CD-ROM including the beginnings of the Society's picture archive. A single CD-ROM became too small to copeCorrection by R H Johnston: this was not the reason for abandoning CDROM distribution the change. The CDROm used bespoke software which was becoming difficult to maintain because of changes in the Windows operating system, and by 2004 use of the internet and web browsers was becoming the normal and easily understood method for people to access data, so it was now far better to use this method for distributing the material to users, even though this presented some difficulties with tabulated data so Richard recoded the ASCII files into HTML and, in 2004, placed most of the material on the Society's website.


Back to 2003 Exhibition Main Page


Notes and References (click on number to return to text):

(c) The Yateley Society, 2008

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