Bream Heritage Walk

Yesterday was a perfect day for a walk in the woods around Bream and some 20 of our members (and three dogs) made the most of this, guided by the extremely knowledgeable Geoff Davis. We didn’t do the whole walk (some 6 miles) but rambled for about 2 miles looking at old mine workings and some very large and interesting holes in the ground.

One thing Geoff mentioned was that he’s pretty sure the white cottage you can see in the picture below is the one referred to by John Bellows in his original 1880 A Week’s Holiday in the Forest of Dean. For those of you who haven’t read this charming and often amusing book, you can buy the replica edition with an Introduction by Vice President Ian Standing on Amazon.

Harry Beddington Sun 21 July – from Reading the Forest

In 1938 F.W. Harvey made a pioneering broadcast at the BBC in Whiteladies Road, introducing the Forest dialect. The slightly pompous BBC, tethered to public schools and received pronunciation (PR) were shaken to hear the voices of ordinary people on the airwaves. The Forest dialect has been a thing of fascination ever since.

75 years ago, Harry Beddington, proud of the dialect tradition and friend of F.W. Harvey, wrote about a character called Jolter using dialect. He also wrote several plays, one of which was awarded a prize at the very early Gloucestershire Festival of Music and Drama.

An ensemble cast of Darren Hoskins, Andy Scarf, Louise Bullen and Lynn Teague will be assembling at Jolter Press, The Mews, Mitcheldean at 6.00pm on Sunday 21st July, to perform a revival of 'Footing the Bill' Harry's one act farce. It is free of charge and a BBC film crew (camera & producer) will be coming along to film for the final scenes of an Inside Out West TV feature on Harry & dialect due for broadcast in the autumn.

Darren, Andy, Louise and Lynn need a good audience to make this a successful production and you don't have to speak in dialect to get what this play is all about. Please support the play and share this opportunity with friends.

(Thanks to Andrew Maliphant and Colleagues from the Mitcheldean Festival for supporting this event)

Lydbrook mural

Was with our Chair Mary Sullivan, and committee member/Foresters Forest Project Manager Sue Middleton at Lydbrook School this morning, talking with the students and the teachers about their local history work which has been embedded in their history curriculum the last three years. We are working on ways to encourage other schools to follow this wonderful lead. Impressive work, impressive students who are interested and engaged by understanding their roots – and for many this is literally true given their forebears are from the village. Future local historians! This is part of the mural they have created in their assembly hall with a local artist – the children did the coal mines you can see in one of the photos. Excellent.

Commemoration of 1949 Waterloo mine flooding

One of our members, Steven Carter, is holding an exhibition on Sunday June 30th, exactly seventy years to the day after the 1949 Waterloo Flooding. Steven’s grandfather was involved in the Flooding (nearly the Forest’s biggest mining disaster) and he has been collecting photos and information for about seven years.

Remembering the Waterloo Colliery
(aka the Arthur and Edward, Upper Lydbrook)
Sunday 30th June 2019

at Hopewell Colliery – a free exhibition of old photographs and maps of the Waterloo Colliery, one the Forest’s deep mines. The photographs show the colliery buildings, the Waterloo Creeper, workers, scenes from the 1949 rescue, some underground maps and a detailed site plan.

Drop by at any time from 10.30 am until 4.00 pm. Memories or old photos especially welcome.

Entrance to the exhibition is free. Refreshments available at the Hopewell Café.

For directions and amenities, see Hopewell’s website:

The sun came out for Westbury

The timing was perfect for our visit to Westbury Gardens this afternoon and a guided tour by Jerry Green, Head Gardener (and only paid member of staff) who shared his eighteen years' experience and passion for the garden with us. Many thanks to our Meetings Secretaries, Caroline Prosser and Liz Rudge for organising this. Interestingly, Dyrham Park came up – apparently the gardens are of similar vintage… how's that for planning? And did you know you can have tea and homemade cake in Westbury church over the summer months? Most pleasant.
Here's a mini-album for those who missed the reality.

Scarr Bandstand Roof

Currently  the largest project at Scarr Bandstand is the reinstatement of the roof, which was burnt down during the 1980s. Friends of Scarr Bandstand secretary Alison Collison explains; “This is complex; we need engineering drawings of the new roof before seeking planning permission. This will be undertaken by architects and engineering specialists. We have applied for a grant to cover these costs from Calor Gas Community Fund.  We only get the grant, however, if we get enough votes from the public for our project.  So please vote for ‘RAISING THE ROOF, SCARR BANDSTAND’ by going to   and clicking on ‘register to vote’.  You get 10 votes…please give them all to the Scarr Bandstand, your local, historic and precious brass band venue!”  

Dr Mark Lewis and Roman Chepstow

Chepstow Archaeological Society is hosting a talk by Dr Mark Lewis at the Drill Hall Chepstow on Thursday 20th June 2019.  Dr Lewis is Curator of the National Roman Legionary Museum in Caerleon and has a new talk based on' Roman' Chepstow and the surrounding landscape and seascape. He last spoke to the History Society in September 2017, and is a most interesting speaker. Details in the poster attached.

pdf icon Mark-Lewis-Talk-Poster.pdf