A VITAL STORY to be told – YOURS

Write YOUR Life Story.. for future Packington Residents to read – and to be amazed..?

In March 2020, while confined to his home in our village, Adrian Mongredien writes:

At Hay Literary Festival, I heard a historian talk on how to write the story of our lives.

She told us that nothing is more valuable to historians than first hand experiences. The only way these can be discovered and cross-checked is if a number of people can be persuaded to write about their own individual experiences.

In the next few years the number of people who can remember living just after or through the Second World War will rapidly diminish. Every one of us has a unique story to tell. Events that we may see as mundane and ordinary may be fascinating to our great grandchildren. Consider – if you are over 70, then:

  • you probably grew up in a house with no central heating;
  • with coal fires which you were taught how to light and keep going.
  • you may remember what life was like before television.
  • you may have had no shower, but one bath a week if there was enough hot water.

How can we write our own life story? A good way to start is to find your birth certificate. In my case I was able to find, from mine, the building that I was born in on google maps – a nursing home in Weston Favell Northamptonshire in 1942- and discover that it is still there although it is now an old people’s home. Can you remember

  • the house, or area, in which you were born?
  • Where you first went to school?
  • How near were you to your local shops?
  • Was food and sweets rationed?
  • How many people lived there in the city, town, or village where you lived as a child?
  • Where was the nearest Park?
  • What sort of games did you play with other children living on your street?
  • Did you have a birthday party when you were a child?
  • What sort of presents did you receive at Christmas?
  • What was your favourite radio programme?
  • How many times did you go to the cinema every month?

Answers to all these questions will be of interest to future generations who will almost certainly be living very different lifestyles, as indeed are we today already.

I started writing the story of my early life a couple of years ago. Along the way I have found myself searching the internet for photos of New Brighton Pier (now demolished) and my secondary school (also demolished), and recently discovering on the net, the value of the house where I lived in a bedsit for ten months, during my few years in London in the “swinging sixties”. I was amazed to discover that it sold a couple of years ago for over £27,000,000. That is twenty seven million!!

You have no idea what will turn up until you sit down at your lap top and begin to remember your beginnings.

Over two decades ago, our Village History Group produced some fascinating reminiscences in the form of this “Where were you in the War?” booklet. Please will you NOW help us write YOUR history, for future village residents to enjoy? PVHG hope to publish YOUR story in a similar booklet when our current enforced home isolation comes to an end ..

PVHG suspends 24th March 2020 meet

A message from our Chairman

Hello all:

Normally at this point of the month I would be sending you a reminder that our next meeting will take place in a week’s time (Tuesday 24th March).

However, like most or all of you, I have listened carefully to the Government’s guidance concerning the corona virus. It is clear that the over-70’s and those who have  underlying health conditions are seen as vulnerable groups – both these categories are relevant to our Group. The advice is to adopt social distancing from the coming weekend.

With regret we cannot say that the History Group is an essential service! I therefore believe it is appropriate to suspend our meetings for the time being. I have learned that the Memorial Hall Committee has taken the decision to close the Hall for the time being, which rather takes things out of our hands anyway.

The Goverrnment advice is that measures will be in place for the next twelve weeks, which has implications for our April and May dates – I will however take one month at a time and will confirm about these dates nearer the appropriate times.

I look forward to our meeting again when it is considered safe to do so, and wish good health to you all in the meantime.

With best wishes – Robin Boucher  

Minutes of our Meeting on 28 January 2020 (After our AGM)

At Venue 35 – the Memorial Hall Meeting Room – on Tuesday 28th January 2020 at about 8 pm

Present: Chairman Robin Boucher, Secretary & Treasurer Yvonne Eaton, 10 members, and 4 visitors

  • Robin had been approached by Peter Last to see if the History Group were interested in having the hand-written minute book of Packington WI during the period March 1994 through to September 2011 for the archive. The thick bound A4 book was produced, and members agreed it would be a useful addition.
  • Visitor Janice Sumnall described a problem she and Andrew Sumnall were having with the Shire Horse Society in registering their stud in the name of “Packington”, the reason being the Packington Blind Horse. She asked for the groups help in this matter. Sue told Janice she thought the farmer’s name where the Blind horse stood was Hood, but this needed to be researched.   After further discussion Robin read a letter he had drafted to give to Janice to forward to the Shire Horse Society before their AGM  in April, members agreed the letter should be sent.
  • Janice also mentioned  that it will be the 10th year they have opened their farm to the general public for “Farms Open Day“, a national event.  They have had as many as 2,000 visitors  at the event, and this year they want to make it special by displaying agricultural equipment past and present. Many other activities were planned, and she invited the history group to put on a display – the event takes place on Sunday 7th June.
  • The Parish Council have asked the history group to take part in VE Day 75th anniversary celebrations on 8th May, however details of the councils plans have yet to be decided.  Members agreed the group should take part but we need to search the archives to see if any Packington men were in the forces at that time.  The book the history group had previously produced entitled “Where were you in the war” may be of use.
  • Adrian’s history is progressing and now covers the period 0-1100 CE .  He is now almost ready to place this on the website in order that more can be added as time goes by and more historical evidence may emerge.
  • Digitising the oral histories was discussed. An estimate of the cost of this process needs to be acquired, an application to the Solar Fund could then be made.
  • Robin proposed he leads a walk down Mill Street and he has much information to hand – members agreed this should take place at the end of June, weather permitting.
  • Sue put in a request for any pottery pieces anyone finds on their premises.  On a similar quest, visitor Stephen Plummer asked whether PVHG could use metal-detecting equipment to scan the village environment, especially near footpaths, for historic artifacts, perhaps a “Packington Hoard” – he had discovered items dating back to early 1800s this way.
  • Sue also suggested encouraging members to transcribe wills and inventories from the 1600s onwards. Our members agreed this could begin at our March meeting as these documents give a clear insight as to how people lived.
  • Visitor Stephen Plummer encouraged the group to advertise, especially by putting a piece in the Packington Communications Group’s “Welcome Pack“, which is given to all newcomers in the village when they first arrive. Members were in agreement and Robin will proceed with this.  
  • The meeting ended at 9.40pm.
  • Our next PVHG meeting is Tuesday, 25th February at 7.30pm.

Minutes of our PVHG Annual General Meeting AGM on 28 January 2020

At Venue 35 – the Memorial Hall Meeting Room – on Tuesday 28th January 2020 at 7:30 pm

Present: Chairman Robin Boucher, Secretary & Treasurer Yvonne Eaton, 10 members, and 4 visitors

Apologies: No apologies received

Robin welcomed our four visitors. The minutes of the previous AGM were read, approved and signed. Matters arising:–   The hall insurance policy has not 2been checked with regard to key holding members entering the venue to withdraw any archive material at any time, this to be looked into.

Chairman’s report:- 

“2019 began on a positive note with the provision of a cupboard in Venue 35, the Memorial Hall Meeting Room, which was large enough to contain the group’s archive material.  During the year we have begun to sort through the material, though there is much more work to be done on this.  Group members have become more familiar with the size and scope of what we have.   

  • In February we heard from village resident Paula Dring about her researches into the life of Rev. Joseph Goadby who played a major part in the establishment of the Baptist denomination, both in Packington  and in the wider locality.   
  • In April we took part in an open evening at which Memorial Hall user groups displayed information about their activities to local residents.  This was valuable publicity for the group and led to prospective new members joining us. 
  • One of these, David Oakley, told us about soldiers of Packington who had fought in the wars against Napoleon. 
  • David also agreed to co-ordinate a project to collate a photographic record of Packington in 2019 – all group members contributed and the results are available on our website.   
  • In June I led a walk up Packington High Street, which was reasonably well attended despite the weather making its best efforts to frustrate us.  The walk was complemented with a display of photographs of the High Street over the last hundred years and more.   
  • Although we did not meet formally over the summer, we completed publication of the booklet “Gems from the Gilwiskaw” which Laura Cooper had drafted shortly before her death in 2017,.  From a print run of 100 copies, around a quarter have been sold at the time of compiling this report. 
  • We also put on a display of photographs and other relevant items as part of the village Open Gardens at the end of August.
  • In the autumn group member Sue Brown told us about her work on medieval Packington
  • Also in Autumn, Adrian Mongredien produced a draft document on the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings.  This led to wider discussion both at our meetings and via email about the origins and early history of our village.  

I believe this summary of activities reflects a Group which has become more firmly established over the year – it has been pleasing to see new faces at our meetings and we will continue to present an open and welcoming face to the village and the wider world. My personal thanks to everyone who has contributed to the Group’s work over the year – roll on 2020! “

Adoption of the chairman’s report proposed by Sue and seconded by Pam. All agreed.

Treasurer’s report:-

  • The group is in funds with the sum of £515.19 in the new Lloyds current account.
  • As members are aware we were forced to close the Nationwide Building Society account as they are no longer providing a savings service for small groups.
  • I must thank Robin for his help in opening the Lloyds account especially as 2 lots of applications needed in hard copy were not received by Lloyds head office, fortunately the third application was, it took from the beginning of December to 24th January to have a valid current account.
  • We still have books on hand, for sale and so far, 29 copies of “Gems from the Gilwiskaw” have been sold.

Adoption of treasurer’s report proposed by Sue and seconded by David. All agreed.

Election of Officers:

  • Chairman – Robin Boucher, proposed by Yvonne, seconded by Adrian. Carried
  • Vice Chair – Again to be left in abeyance.
  • Secretary/treasurer – Yvonne Eaton, proposed by Nev, seconded by Sue. Carried.
  • Committee members appointed –
    • Robin,
    • David Oakley,
    • Robert,
    • Yvonne, and
    • Diane (not present) if she agrees.

Any Other Business:-

The question of membership fees was agreed at £10 each and £15 per couple, as last year. Anyone attending 3 meetings is expected to pay, but any new members attending from September onwards, their membership fee would also cover the following year.

The meetings to be as previously, every fourth Tuesday of the month with the exception of July, August and December. Members agreed that these AGM Minutes be circulated again prior to the 2021 AGM. AGM closed!

PVHG Publishes new Packington History Booklet – “Gems from the Gilwiskaw”

Packington Village History Group PVHG is delighted to welcome publication of “Gems from the Gilwiskaw”, which author Laura Cooper completed shortly before her death.

Gems” represents a lasting tribute to Laura’s participation in Packington life, and illustrates her commitment to recording the village’s history.

Laura was born in Packington in 1931, but lived for her first four years in Ravenstone. (Laura said that her parents decided to move back to Packington so that she could attend the Packington School). She remained in Packington for the rest of her life.

In “Gems” she paints vivid pictures from her childhood in the village (and Ravenstone) in the 1930’s and 40’s. Laura completed the manuscript shortly before her death in 2016.

Copies are available from:

  • Robin Boucher tel 411638 email: randbboucher@googlemail.com
  • Yvonne Eaton tel 412269 email: yvonne.eat@outlook.com
  • at a cost of £3.50 each copy
Robin Boucher
Packington Village History Group 
August 2019      

Guided Tour – High Street History Walk – 7pm Tuesday 25th June 2019, led by PVHG

Packington Village History Group PVHG offers a FREE guided history walk of our village High Street, taking place at 7 pm on Tuesday 25th June 2019 (weather permitting!).

Meeting point: just across the road from the Bull and Lion.

The guided walk will be led by PVHG chair Robin Boucher, whose reputation as a fount of knowledge of Packington History is well -deserved.

The meeting point is the location a century ago of Packington’s Reading Room building, now the service road of Heather Lane

Robin will describe historic features of our High Street, some of which are more evident than others:

Perhaps you have seen this odd-shaped stone at the High Street entrance to Hall Lane – do you know what it is called, or what it is for?

There is a story behind many of the historic buildings and features of our High Street, and we who can walk blithely past today may never have realised the way things were in times of yore.

Do come along and join us for this informative event, (did we mention it is FREE?) which leads at its end to refreshments in our Memorial Hall Venue 35, where a display of High Street information will be available.

The Packington Blind Horse 1755-1770

Packington Post magazine Issue 68 September 2014

The following paragraphs appeared in Packington Post Issues 67 and 68, describing a famous blind horse from our village that is believed to have effectively founded the Shire Horse breed. At the end of our extract below, you can download FREE the source text from the printed book of 1899.

Foundation Stallion for the Shire Breed

The term “Shire horse” was first used in the mid-17th century, and incomplete records begin to appear near the end of the 18th century.

The “Packington Blind Horse”, from Leicestershire, is one of the best- known horses of the era, with direct descendants being recorded from 1755 to 1832.

Continue reading “The Packington Blind Horse 1755-1770”

Minutes of our PVHG March 2019 Meeting

At Venue 35 – the Memorial Hall Meeting Room – on Tuesday 26th March 2019 at 7:30 pm

Present: Chairman Robin Boucher, 8 members, one new member

  • The minutes of the previous meeting were approved and signed.
  • Robin welcomed David Oakley to the group as a new member.
  • Robin reported the latest regarding the Thomas Pestell film production. Wendy Freer has applied for a grant, the result of which should be known within approximately 4 weeks.
  • The June 25th PVHG High Street guided walk is on track.
  • We have not heard from Paula Dring confirming her permission to photograph the graves in her garden. Yvonne will call and ask if she is agreeable.
  • The Memorial Hall committee have invited ALL village associations and groups to an Open Evening on Friday 26th April 2019. Members agreed PVHG should attend. Sue will provide display stands. This will be an opportunity to sell ourselves, and hopefully encourage more membership. Members are to meet at 10am on Monday, 15th April to plan and prepare for the evening.

The main item of the evening was how best to record the continual changes in the village. A drone could take aerial photographs periodically, but might be too expensive. Sue suggested the National Monuments Record at Swindon may already have aerial photos of Packington, and will investigate. The Historic England Archive apparently has 4 million aerial photographs, of which 95,000 are available online at Britain From Above

Adrian proposed that a photo be taken of every house for sale in the village as new occupants invariably change the property. Members agreed photographs of each street be taken and recorded; David agreed to co-ordinate the placing of photos on the website and the following members agreed to be responsible for recording their street:-

  • David Oakley – Hall Lane
  • David Fill – Brook Close and Babelake
  • Sue / Di – Mill Street
  • Robin – Normanton Road
  • Yvonne – Ashby Road
  • Adrian – Spring Lane
  • Nev – Homecroft

The meeting closed at 9.10pm

The next meeting is Tuesday, 30th April at 7.30pm

An Extraordinary Man – PVHG Meeting Tuesday 26th February 2019

At our February meeting in Venue 35 we will welcome Paula Dring to talk to us about Rev. Joseph Goadby, who was a leading figure in the former Baptist Chapel in the village. We will be pleased to welcome any non-members who would like to hear about him at this meeting.

Joseph Goadby labelled “dissenter” by an “intolerant aristocrat..”

So, who was Joseph Goadby? Why was he Extraordinary? Why was he labelled as “.. a Dissenter“? Perhaps the answer lies in this quote ascribed to a more modern sage:

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Do come and hear about this Extraordinary Man of Packington.

Archive Exploitation Meeting

Seven members of Packington Village History Group PVHG met on Monday 11th February 2019 at Venue 35 in our village Memorial Hall Venues.

PVHG has recently been privileged to have an offer from the Memorial Hall Venues committee of dedicated space for storage of the archive in Venue 35, and members have paid for a new lockable storage cabinet to house the materials.

Treasurer and Secretary, Yvonne Eaton, who has stored the archive contents in rooms of her home and outbuildings for two years, was able to bring in nearly all the items. After some trial-and-error attempts by Chair Robin Boucher, who is clearly good at 3-D puzzles, we were able to fit all of the archive materials into the new cabinet. and start to exploit the PVHG archive materials.

PVHG Members making an initial assessment of the village archive

Much work needs to be done to examine and rationalise the archive, much of which is paper text about Packington, either cuttings or typed copies taken from local newspapers, in particular from early editions of the Burton Chronicle, and more recently from the Ashby Times and Leicester Mercury. Here’s one such item from the Burton Chronicle:

PVHG Archive Item from 1926, about an item from 1823

PVHG seeks to publicise the archive content using this pvhg.uk website, but digitising the content is a challenging task. Please could YOU help?

Meanwhile, PVHG are keen to continue adding current information to the archive, for future generations to be able to see how THEIR village has evolved over time. There’s a new commercial site on Measham Road being built NOW. Hall Farm is being rebuilt, NOW. The Grove is being built, NOW. Century Drive was built only last year. We want to record images of how the village is now, before the depredations of HS2 start to take place, and are hoping to start this project in 2019.

Would you please help us? Please contact one of our members, or our chair Robin Boucher on tel: 411638