On Saturday 17 October, a few members of the Society joined with a large number of other interested people for a day of learning about the history of Tidenham and surrounds. We started with geology, carried through prehistory, the Romans and Anglo Saxon times to the 20th century, learning about lead fonts along the way. And that was just the morning.
After lunch we broke into three groups – one to Tidenham Church and its lead font; one to Lancaut and the Church of St James; and the third to Beachley to see the remains of what happened there over a short period towards the end of and following WW1.
I was with the Beachley group, so here, in a nutshell, is what we learned from the talk by Carol Clammer and the tour: In 1917 the government evacuated the small village and hastily threw together a vast shipbuilding site, complete with numerous railways, POW huts and labourers houses (some 10,000 people on site), all within a few months. No ship was ever built and it took many years for the villagers to get their homes back and some sort of compensation.
Many thanks due to Ian Standing and the Dean Buildings Preservation Trust for organising an excellent speaker list, and to Tidenham Local History Society for their organisation and for sharing their current research.