September/October 2018

Page 42

South Woodford Village Gazette

42 Visitor exploring the coastline at Heddon Valley, Devon. Visit



Starting with between 20 and 30, membership had increased to 252 by the end of the year, by which time a programme of illustrated lectures – interspersed with coffee mornings in various members’ houses and the occasional afternoon tea – had been established.

We raised well over £100,000 for the Neptune Coastline Campaign… Soon, a junior section was formed, the first meeting of this taking place on 14 November 1969 at Woodford County High School. These events were well attended and consisted of talks given by some of our members and carried on for some time. The various speakers very generously gave their fees to the centre, which initiated our many years of sending a donation to the Neptune Coastline Campaign, enabling the National Trust to purchase sections of the Welsh, English and Northern Irish coastline. By the 1974 AGM membership had climbed to over 500 and in

The National Trust Woodford and District Centre is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. With their new season of monthly talks starting this September, Clive Boon takes a look at the centre’s history, which includes making a substantial contribution to the Neptune Coastline Campaign

May that year an open day was well supported, with £400 sent to National Trust headquarters. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, membership steadily rose to a peak of 1,010 in 1985. Consequently, the centre’s activities became more varied and adventuresome, with up to three holidays a year being customary. At most of the winter meetings, it was not unusual for 400 chairs to be set out in the Hawkey Hall. By 2005, lack of support began to materialise with the consequent fall in membership occurring steadily thereafter. The threatened closure of the Hawkey Hall in 2014 had a disastrous effect, with 80 members not renewing their membership. These days, we rejoice if we have an attendance of 100. Some highlights in our history include hosting the Annual Regional Conference at the Woodford Moat House in 1992, with chairs and secretaries of the centres and associations in the region attending. Memorable speakers include John Julius Norwich, Lord Chorley and Dame

Woodford County High School in the 1970s, the site the centre’s first full meetingof

Jennifer Jenkins. Our May fair became a regular event, beginning in May 1991 and continuing every other year until 2009. As a result of the success of the fairs over the years, we raised well over £100,000 for the Neptune Coastline Campaign. In the course of our 50-year history, the centre has been served by just three secretaries, and in that time has contributed well over £200,000 to various National Trust projects. We now meet at All Saints’ Church hall in Woodford Green and the Woodford Memorial Hall in South Woodford and boast an extensive programme:

© RJ Swain and courtesy of Redbr idge Museum & Heritage Centre

The first meeting took place on 12 February 1968 in the Hawkey Hall with a speaker from central office. With minutes of the 1967 coffee morning being written in shorthand, there is some confusion as to whether the meeting ever took place. However, there is no doubt that the first full meeting of the centre was held on 16 March 1968 at Woodford County High School and subsequent AGMs are numbered from that date.

© National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

he genesis of the Woodford and District Centre of the National Trust was a coffee morning held on 7 December 1967 at Number 30, Snakes Lane, when it was decided that membership of the proposed centre would cost five shillings.

seven monthly winter talks commencing in September, a similar number of London visits to interesting venues, a series of summer day outings and a summer holiday. Above all, the centre prides itself on being very friendly and sociable and a place to meet and enjoy company. In addition, it should not be forgotten that the National Trust is a countrywide organisation dedicated to preserving the nation’s heritage and environment.

The National Trust Woodford and District Centre begins its new season of events with a talk about gardening during the Second World War at All Saints’ Church hall on 12 September (2.30pm). This will be followed by a talk about how sailing barges once transported gunpowder down the Lea Valley at Woodford Memorial Hall on 16 October (10.30am). Visitors are welcome (£3). For more information, call 07774 164 407

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