The Earlsdon Society and Earlsdon Research Group

The present Earlsdon Research Group has, over time, been known by three different titles . . .  its first being the Earlsdon History Society.

In the autumn of 1977 Graham Partridge, then branch Librarian at Earlsdon Library calculated, as a result of local research he had been undertaking, that Earlsdon  ‘village’  most probably began to rise up from local fields  around the year 1853 and that, consequently,  the following year (1978) would be Earlsdon Village’s 125th Anniversary. He suggested that, perhaps, local people might be interested in organising an event the following summer to celebrate the occasion.

What followed was extraordinary, with all Earlsdon’s then, many, charitable, sports and social groups, as well as the majority of local residents coming together to plan organise and participate in the two-week long, life-enhancing community festivity in the summer of 1978 that was to be known as‘Earlsdon 125’ . It is enough perhaps to remember that the membership of the  weekly committee meetings which co-ordinated the many Festival events was made up of the chairmen/women of the various event subcommittees and that this co-ordinating committee alone had a final membership of 27 people.

At the initial planning meeting I volunteered to draw together a small group to research the background, building and development of the ‘village’ and to uncover as many personal memories and photographs  as we could of the years since the 1850’s.

‘Earlsdon 125’ was a huge success and, after it had passed, and at the time that its various planning groups were tidying everything up and closing their Minute Books, the History Sub-Committee came to the conclusion that its work was still on-going. So (in the autumn of 1978) new and existing members of the Group formed The Earlsdon History Society to continue uncovering, cataloguing and recording the history and life of these few streets on the south-west edge of the City of Coventry.

In 1983 I and my family left Earlsdon and in 1984 the Earlsdon History Society was disbanded but not before valuable historical data, photographs and artifacts had begun to be rescued, catalogued and preserved.

In 1998 an exploratory meeting initiated by Mary Montes and others was held to explore the setting up of a society which would have a particular interest in local history whilst also carrying a more general brief for Earlsdon matters. Thus was born ‘The Earlsdon Society’ which for nine years, until it disbanded in 2007,  held regular monthly meetings on matters of both local and a more broad historical interest. At the same time the Society’s committee continued the valuable work of the original group by researching, collating, preserving and exhibiting the history and on -going changes of the area. No  other community recognising the importance of honouring its history and development can owe a greater debt to any member of that community than Earlsdon does to the late Mary Montes and William Dunn who have between them, and for more than thirty years, compiled in both word and picture one of the most comprehensive of neighbourhood archives to be found anywhere in the whole of this country. Work which William (Bill) still now sustains following the sad death of Mary in 2007.

I returned to live in Earlsdon in 2001 and was delighted to be invited to assist ‘The Earlsdon Society', through its third metamorphis and become the convener of the Earlsdon History Research Group. Time and age move us all on and whilst continuing our watching brief and our exhibition presentations we group members are now focusing on the task of making certain that Earlsdon’s historical records and artifacts (we hold street maps and directories, some house and business deeds and plans and a photographic record covering 150 years)  are preserved for posterity whilst, at the same time taking pains to guarantee their continuing  local accessibility. . .  . 

and, in addition,  if any member of present-day Earlsdon can invisage a developing or new role for our group we would be delighted to hear from you.

‘Community’ is by its very nature intangible and Earlsdon’s is certainly very different from the nature of that one that still existed here as late as the 1970’s. Yet, on a dark evening it is still possible to walk down Earlsdon Avenue South or along Mayfield Road and be greeted by a cheery ‘Good-night!’ Earlsdon is a special place, built as a village in rural Warwickshire for political purposes and to provide accommodation for Master watch-makers and their in and out workers and, even after becoming attached to Coventry at the beginning of the 20th century and almost 160 years of life, still  retaining a sense or rural character and ‘difference’.  We can prove it - we have the photographs!

Avril Newey
The Earlsdon Research Group
              

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The Earlsdon Society   |  Email: a.newey.123@btinternet.com   |   This page updated: Oct 2008