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ABOUT OUR SOCIETY

AIMS

Pembroke and Monkton Local History Society  was founded in October 2009 with the following aims:

  • To raise public awareness of the heritage of our communities

  • To research, record and disseminate the history of Pembroke and Monkton

  • To encourage community participation

  • To support Pembroke Museum

To achieve these aims we have a programme of speakers, events and exhibitions. We organise visits and carry out research, scan photographs and record memories. We are now a registered charity.

 

ANNUAL REPORT

Presented at the AGM on Friday, February 19th 2021 by Zoom

Peter Hurlow-Jones

This has been a year like no other. Like all organisations we have been greatly affected by lockdown – unable to meet, unable to fundraise.  This meeting is taking place by zoom. Change is being forced upon us – historic times!

First,it is sadness that we heard of the passing of Peter Hurlow-Jones in December.  Peter’s contribution to the work of the Society has been invaluable – his family story of the Stephens' and Jones’ is of great importance to story of Pembroke.  He inspired me to start researching the history of Pembroke and has been a great supporter of our work;  giving us so much information, written and oral, and donating many photographs and artefacts, which are held for posterity in the museum. He is sadly missed.

Programme of Events

Following our previous AGM on 21st February 2020, we were able to hold only one event prior to the first lockdown on 23rd March.

On Saturday 7th March, we held a coffee morning and talk in Monkton Church Hall.  Lynne Houston of Pembrokeshire Coast National Parks gave a presentation of her DVD entitled ‘1939 – Reflections from Castlemartin’.  The event was well attended: the requisition of the farms for the tank range was a traumatic period in our local history and is still remembered. The History Society has collected much information and made 2 digital stories– published in our community history 'Through My Eyes'. Lynne presented us with a copy of her DVD and this will form an important addition to our archive.

President Frank Harries with Lynne Houston

After this, all events were necessarily cancelled and, at the time of writing, we are unable to predict when we will next be able to hold a public event.  However, our work has continued in other areas.

Statue Trail

An aspiration to develop an arts/statue trail began a few years ago with the campaign for a Henry VII statue.  A regeneration project of Pembroke Town Council, it was led by myself, Rose Blackburn and Pauline Waters and the History Society carried out a successful fundraising campaign with great community support.

It is also gratifying to see that Pembrokeshire County Council has now commenced work on the Henry Tudor Centre, a project that I along with Rose and Pauline had long campaigned for. Rose and I are members of the newly formed Henry Tudor Trust, which will be developing the exhibition for the Centre.

PCC is developing the Centre into a community hub to include TIC, Library, café and community rooms – a really exciting prospect for Pembroke. 

The new Henry Tudor Centre under construction.

i)William Marshal Statue

An unexpected outcome of the Henry VII statue campaign was the award of £30,000 from Wales Community CIC to continue with another statue. After Henry Tudor, the next great figure in our history to honour with a statue had to be William Marshal, who was not only Earl of Pembroke but Regent of England and hero of Magna Carta.

 At our last AGM I was pleased to report that the additional funding for the William Marshal statue had been raised thanks largely to PCC’s Enhancing Pembrokeshire Grant. As with the Henry VII statue, we are working closely with Pembroke Town Council, which has adopted the project and holds all monies in a town heritage fund.  We are particularly grateful to our Town Clerk Suzie Thomas for her invaluable help and support. 

Although Covid-19 has slowed everything down, our talented sculptor Harriet Addyman, is making wonderful progress and the statue of William Marshal astride his warhorse is promising to be spectacular.  We are hoping that the project will be completed by late summer/September by which time we hope the worse of the pandemic will be over to enable us to have an unveiling celebration.

ii) Inspirational Dragons Project

The aim of our project is to build a fountain in Pembroke Millpond:  the vision is to develop a fountain in the form of a dragon, inspired by Llandrindod Wells ‘Fabulous Water Beast’. Having obtained £13,587.00 from LEADER (which is administered by Planed), Joanna Burton and Paris Rouse took the project into the junior schools, Golden Grove and Monkton Priory Community School, to involve children in the design and technology involved.  Unfortunately, lockdown meant that we were unable to complete the project with Ysgol Harri Tudur Henry Tudor School.  The project was to have formed part of coursework for GCSE, but closure of the schools put this on hold, although the school offered the work to pupils on its online portal during shut down.

 

However, I am pleased to report that the maquette has been constructed.  It needed to be constructed in stainless steel and it is fortunate that we have a fine local sculptor in Gideon Petersen who works in this medium.  Gideon was responsible for the acclaimed statue of Welsh resistance hero Llywelyn ap Gruffydd in Llandovery and the popular Bertie the Sea Bass created for the Turn the Tide on Plastic project led by Amroth and Saundersfoot community councils. The intended public consultation and exhibition in Pembroke Town Hall has had to be put on hold until restrictions on public gatherings allow.  However, the project received prominent reporting in the local press and the maquette was put on public view in the shop window next to Brown’s Café, accompanied by a small display.

Gideon Petersen with his dragon maquette

History Projects

It is an important function of a history society that we carry out research and record memories, to preserve aspects of our local history that would otherwise be lost.

Earmarked last year were 3 projects

i) National Service

National service is a period in our history, which has tended to get overlooked:  we have nothing in the way of a local archive. Although this project has had to be put on hold, shortly before lockdown we engaged the services of community filmmaker Sharron Harris to film interviews with veterans. We managed to carry out one filming session with Frank Harris, who saw active service in Malaya. 

Sharron Harris filming Frank Harries

ii) World War 2 Fallen

It was the intention, following our WW1 project completed in November 2019, that we continue to the work of identifying and telling the stories of the Fallen on the Cenotaph.  It was the intention to add these to the WW1 fallen and print a Book of Remembrance to place in our churches (the WW1 Book of Remembrance can be accessed online). Some preliminary work has been done but, again, this is work that we will hope to complete when restrictions ease.

iii) Monkton History

It has long been the intention to produce a history of Monkton and I am hoping that this will be accomplished this year.  Keith Johnson and myself are leading the project and we will be asking for contributions from Society members and the Monkton community.

Pembroke Museum

Supported by Pembroke Town Council, the Museum has continued to go from strength to strength thanks to a dedicated band of volunteers. The Museum has its own Committee headed by Chairman, Jill Ensom; Vice Chair, Ron Rees; Treasurer, Marcia Whitehead; Secretary, Mary Floyd and Hon. Curator, Linda Asman.

Throughout the year, the Museum has been closed.  It was not possible to admit visitors, as there is not enough space to socially distance.  This was a shame as we had prepared new exhibits for the new season.

A big thank you to Ron Rees, Roy Smith and George Palmer who have made such a great job of the 19th Century Cottage exhibit. This features a Welsh down hearth fireplace, the artefacts for which were donated by StJohn and Judy Stimson.  Rose’s miniatures are a great addition, along with her Fabergé eggs which were to have been an Easter Eggshibition – but Covid intervened and we were unable to open for Easter. I, with help from Rita and Mary, have been ensuring that all artefacts have been listed and photographed – we have been sorting out some really amazing collections including Victorian/Edwardian underwear and a valuable collection of 18th and 19th Century prints! There remains much to be done and I do hope that we can continue our work when restrictions allow.

To conclude, Pembroke and Monkton Local History Society continues in its work with a great group of volunteers and strong community support. What we do, we cannot do alone so a big thank you to all our supporters and the organisations with which we network.

Linda Asman

Chairman, February 2021

 

  IN REMEMBRANCE

Former Society President, the late George Lewis receiving the Civic Award from

Pembroke Town Council for the Society's contribution to the community

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