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Meeting Report - May 2017

Fifty people attended the Annual General Meeting of the Romsley and Hunnington History Society on Tuesday 23rd May. Paul Share, the Chairman, thanked Julian Hunt for all his enthusiasm, energy and financial support he has given to the Society. He said that the Society had had a very busy and successful year, the highlight being the Exhibition in the Church Hall, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Society. The Court Rolls Group had held regular meetings and hoped to publish their findings this year. Jean Cockin was thanked for all her hard work recording the reminiscences of the older villagers.

Koviljka Riley, the Secretary, said that they hoped to upgrade the Society's website and Ruth Harper, the Treasurer, said that financially, the Society was healthy and the subscriptions would remain at £6.00. Robert Andrews, who books the speakers, said that they had a very interesting programme of talks for the coming year.

After the formal business, Julian Hunt, our President, gave a fascinating talk on "Romsley and Hunnington in 1939." 78 years ago, at the beginning of the Second World War, the Government ordered that a Register of all the men, women and children should be made, a sort of inventory of the people. This was to help with the war work and the distribution of National Identity Cards.

These records have been preserved and Julian took us on a journey, with the aid of his computer, looking at the 1939 Register for Romsley and Hunnington. He began at the Toll House, going up the hill, around the village, over the hill and as far as the Manchester Inn. The records noted the address, names, members of each household, their ages, date of birth, their occupation, and the place where they worked. In some cases it recorded the dates of marriage of single women and their maiden name.

This is a rich resource for historians and gives us a vivid picture of life in our villages in 1939. Many of the people were born in the late 19th Century. Their occupations and places of work vary, some were near and some further away. In September 1939, many of the married women did not go out to work but stayed at home to look after the children and the house. Their occupations were recorded, rather ambiguously, as having, "Unpaid domestic duties"! The records might have shown a marked difference at the end of the war, when women undertook the men's work, as they were fighting overseas. The Register also showed that people had extra jobs. The Rector was a reserve Ambulance Driver and A.R.P. Wardens were also recorded.

We saw from Julian's photographs that almost all of the houses, known by their names and not their numbers, are still standing today and are now our homes. I wonder if in 78 years time, members of the Society will be looking up in the records, all the details of our lives in 2017! We had a very interesting evening.

There will be a meeting of the Court Rolls Group on Wednesday 14th June at 2.30pm, in the Church Hall. The next meeting of the Society will be on Tuesday, June 27th, at 7.30pm, in the Church Hall, when Tim Bridges will be giving a talk on, "Victorian and Edwardian Buildings of Birmingham and the Black Country." We then have a break until September 26th when Paul Harding and Helen Lee give a talk on, "Medieval Medicine and Surgery." Everyone is welcome.


Pat Evans

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Some contents of this website are taken from the book Romsley and Hunnington, a Millennium History,
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