The 2023 AGM took place on Thursday 23 March at our usual Church House venue. There were forty two members present.
Following the business part of the meeting, the recipient of the annual Reginald Hine award was announced. Simon Walker was unable to attend in person to receive the award, which was in recognition of his editorship of the Hitchin Journal over many years, and for his research into early copies of the Journal, leading to the publication of Hitchin – Glimpses of the Past and More Glimpses of the Past.
Our Chairman, Barry Arends presented a Chairman’s (occasional) Award and a cheque for £200 to local artist James Willis who, together with fellow artist Carl Laubin, had created an exhibition (“Back to the Drawing Board“) of their art works, held at the North Herts Museum from October 2022 to January 2023.
Bridget Howlett gave the first of three presentations on current projects. Bridget has been working with Michael McCartney, archivist for the former St Michael’s RC College in Hitchin, on the Hitchin Roll of Honour 1939-1945 held at St Mary’s Church.
The Old Michaelean Association has paid for Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies to digitise the entire volume, and to produce a conservation report, advising on how it should be preserved and displayed. The Roll of Honour has been returned to St Mary’s where it is once more on display, in the Trinity Chapel. Bridget also spoke about the artist, Beryl Bevis, who was responsible for the beautifully illuminated calligraphy in the book.
Simon Maddison and Mark Hodgson spoke on the subject of Hitchin’s two surviving pillboxes, now over eighty years old. Simon, Mark and a dedicated band of local volunteers have done a considerable amount of work in making these historic structures visible by the removal of a huge amount of invasive vegetation. A separate page on this website will shortly be launched with many more details, including a description of ongoing work.
Finally, before everyone turned to the traditional tea, coffee and biscuits, Dr Gerry Tidy spoke about the planning for this year’s History Day, to take place at Church House on Saturday 15 July, from 10am to 4pm. As on previous occasions, a number of local (and some not-so local) organisations will be represented, each describing their activities. This has been a very well-received event taking place, until Covid, every other year.