Meeting Report March 2016

by Phil Rigby

 The society met at Tebay Methodist Church on Thursday 17th March for its Annual General Meeting.

 In the unavoidable absence of Bernard Thornborrow, our chairman, the meeting was presided over by the secretary, Mary Jenkin.

 The chairman’s report was read by Mrs Jenkin, which told of a satisfactory year, though sadly with declining numbers.  Nonetheless, a leaflet drop in the area had produced 5 new members last time, and we are hopeful of more, perhaps.

The financial report, given by Mrs Jenkin, showed that annual and occasional subscriptions are not meeting the ever increasing costs of putting on 12 meetings a year, and it was agreed to hold only 10, leaving the difficult months of December and January without meetings.

At present, Mrs Jenkin is acting both as programme secretary for the society and treasurer, and would dearly like to be relieved of one of these jobs, neither of which is too onerous.  However, no volunteer was forthcoming at the meeting.

Following the formal meeting, we were addressed by Wendy Higgins, of Orton, giving us an update about the Victoria County History project, especially as it applies in Cumbria, and in particular, locally.  The project to record county history across England began in 1899, with the approval of the Queen, who lent her name to it.  Originally done by paid professionals, it quite soon ran into the ground for want both of personnel and resources, but was then resuscitated in 2008, relying on interested and committed volunteers, working county by county.  The Local History Society has just come to the end of giving 100 a year for five years to help with this work, so it was good to have an update. There are three volunteers from our area, of whom Wendy is one, working on the mammoth task of creating an official history of Orton and Tebay parishes and the townships associated with them.  Their work is submitted to the University of Lancaster, where it is edited by voluntary professionals in an ongoing process, with the eventual aim of producing a condensed 5000 word history of each parish.  This requires the acquisition of new skills, such as  reading ancient documents, as it is critical that the work be based on original sources.  It is not surprising that progress is slow, but meaningful: it will be a very long while before there is a definitive history of each county, parish by parish!

 The meeting ended with tea, coffee and biscuits, and it was agreed that it was good to hear of one aspect of the life and work of the local history society which is very worthwhile and not very well known.