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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.

Society President George Lewis receives the Civic Award from

Pembroke Town Council for our contribution to the community

A SOCIETY WHICH CONTINUES TO DEVELOP

IT ALL BEGAN WITH THE LAUNCH OF OUR MONKTON PROJECT

It had been the wish of many in Monkton to set up a Local History Society as Monkton is very much a 'hidden history' - there is so little published. So we launched the Monkton History Project by organising a walk through Monkton with Pauline Waters, Vera John and Dot Lloyd who were able to tell us about the old community, who lived there and where the shops and businesses were. Many people responded to our appeal for information, photos and memories of old Monkton and we combined the event with a coffee morning and exhibition in the Priory Church Hall. 

The History Walk photo by Gwen Griffiths Coffee Morning in the Priory Church Hall by Gwen Griffiths

We were delighted with the response as so many people came and it was a wonderful community affair.  We made the Church Hall our base for future events,  establishing a pattern of monthly talks accompanied by coffee mornings, accompanied by an exhibition on differing topics to encourage community participation:  reminiscing over coffee in a friendly atmosphere is a great way to bring people together!  We also hold larger events in Pembroke Town Hall which usually attract a big audience.

We are completely voluntary and noone makes monetary gain - every penny of funding goes into the organisation for the benefit of the community.  To cover running costs we fundraise ourselves in our coffee mornings and Quiz Nights.

We have now been going eight years and it is amazing how we have progressed since then and what a great impact we have made.   We have received awards for our volunteering work and a Civic Award from Pembroke Town Council.  We are now a registered charity.

PROGRAMME OF TALKS AND VISITS

We have an annual programme of events, which is available to download.  We organise Local History Coffee Mornings in Pembroke Town Hall, evening talks and fundraising events in Monkton Church Hall and organise visits. 

We have to raise money in order to run events and put on our exhibitions - we do this with our regular Coffee Mornings and Quiz Nights and the odd Murder Mystery Night as well.  Our events are free (financed through sale of coffees and raffle tickets) but we do supply a rather superb buffet at the Quiz Nights for which we make a charge of £4.  Organised by Pauline Waters, they are a thoroughly enjoyable social evening and continue to be very popular.

Quiz Night at Monkton Church Hall Winners of the P&M Quiiz A great buffet

CREATING A MUSEUM

We never thought when we formed the P & M that we would actually get the opportunity to set up a museum!  A museum for Pembroke has long been an aspiration and it is amazing that for a town such as Pembroke, one of the oldest towns in Wales, that this has never happened.  Recent attempts through Pembroke 21C failed despite them receiving a large HLF grant.

The Museum finally came about through Pembroke Town Council's initiative to set up a Regeneration Committee and sponsoring projects to enhance the town and thereby increase visitor footfall.

  

Pembroke Town Council offered the disused Courtroom in the Town Hall for the Museum and with a £5,000 grant, working also with Pembroke Civic Trust and West Wales Maritime Heritage Society, we were able to put together a fledgling museum which has continued to grow:  Now in its 4th year, it is amazing how much we have been able to achieve: it just goes to show what can be achieved with very little funding when people pull together voluntarily for the good of the community.  We act as a Friends of the Museum to help fundraise and this is written into our charitable aims.

Pembroke Museum

RESEARCHING and RECORDING OUR PAST - AND PUBLISHING

Research is important and we welcome anyone who would join in - there is much work to be done.   We began by publishing 2 heritage leaflets: Monkton: a Sense of Place and Pembroke: a Sense of Place with funding from PLANED (see our Publications Page where they are available to download).

Then our recording of memories led to an interest in digital storytelling which the resultant publication of our DVD and book 'Through My Eyes: a Community History of Pembroke and Monkton'.  This is a great achievement and has given Pembroke a sound oral archive which is available to all who wish to purchase or obtain through the public library.  Working with the National Library of Wales this project can also be accessed on the People's Collection website.

PARTICIPATING IN LOCAL EVENTS

We seek to make ourselves known in the community and hold stalls to support local events and give talks to other organisations.

ANNUAL REPORT

Presented at the AGM on Friday, February 16th 2018 at Monkton Priory Church Hall

  

This year has been a very satisfying one. My job as Chairman has been very busy as the Society is involved in so much, but we do not work alone – cross community cooperation and an active part on the Town Council’s Regeneration Committee has brought great benefits. So first, I will report on the projects we have been involved in.

 

The Henry VII statue

The big event of the year was the unveiling of the Henry VII statue, a great outcome and we, as a Society can feel proud to the part we played in this most successful project. The statue was a project of PTC but I, as town councillor and project leader, relied greatly on the support of the Society in the organisation of the public consultation and other events as well as taking an active part in the fundraising.  I should like to extend a big thank you therefore to a most supportive Committee.  The statue was very much a community affair, supported by Town Council, County Council, Valero, many voluntary groups within the town – the Pembroke Civic Trust, the Rotary, Lions, the Gild of Freemen. And to the great many personal contributions with a great personal donation from Mr Richard Evans.  Above all, Henry’s sculptor Harriet Addyman who did us proud.  Town and CC took this opportunity to enhance the whole of the Mill Bridge area, bringing about a transformation this from a dead area to a busy public space. There always seems to be someone there taking photos of Henry – and it just goes to show the power of heritage. 

 

Henry VII Centre

As I reported in my last annual report, I would like to see a Henry VII Visitor Centre in Pembroke to equal that of Richard III in Leicester.  Pauline Waters, Rose Blackburn and Daphne Bush have supported me in this vision and I am pleased to report some advance, although not as much as I would have liked.  Working with our Town Clerk, Suzie Thomas, we applied for a grant from the Planed Leader programme to fund a feasibility study for a Henry Tudor Centre.  This is the first step in what could be a multi million pound project to regenerate Pembroke. The bid was successful and PCC match funded it.  Amion Consultancy was appointed and a cross community Steering Committee formed with Stephen Thornton (Valero and Pembroke Chamber of Trade) as Chairman. The feasibility study has just been completed and a presentation by the consultants was made to a meeting of Steering Committee and PCC officers last week with the following conclusions:

  • There is national market for a Henry Tudor centre;
  • the market size is such that that it could cover its running cost, but not initial start-up costs;
  • true value is measured in its catalyst value to generate regional impact;
  • the castle would wholeheartedly support this enterprise for its synergy benefit;
  • South Quay is the preferred location;
  • The Henry Tudor Centre would work best as part of a portfolio of mixed uses for the site – incorporating library, TIC etc

No assurances or proposals have yet been made by PCC – we wait in anticipation!

 

Projects - Digital Town Trail

Last year I reported on the new Town Trail, a project which I undertook on behalf of PTC Regeneration and Pembroke Civic Trust, the organisation responsible for the original trail and of which I am a committee member.  30 bronze plaques were installed throughout the town and a very nice booklet produced which George Lewis illustrated and which is sold for a small sum.  Book sales are donated to the Museum.  Building on this I applied for a heritage lottery grant through the History Society to make a digital trail which was completed last summer.  Plaques bearing QR codes enable you to follow the trail with a mobile device instead of a book. Ron Rees, George Palmer and Peter Thomas did a great job in fixing the plaques.  This project again is an example of organisations working together for the benefit of Pembroke. 

 

 

WWI Centenary Project

I am pleased to announce the successful bid for a grant for our WW1 project: Pembroke commemorates the centenary of WW1: in words, pictures, art and film.  It is based around the Cenotaph and will involve researching the identities of the men who are named there. Outcomes will be a Book of Remembrance to be placed in both churches; an exhibition in the Church together with an art installation to be made by school children and a book which will describe the events of the year together with the stories we uncover. The project will be delivered by artist Pauline Le Britton and community film maker Sharron Harries who are experienced in working with schools. 

 

Pembroke Museum

A decision was made by the Museums Committee to hold joint meetings with the P&M Committee as we share membership and aims.  It is one of the History Society’s charitable aims that we support the museum and we have developed as Friends of the Museum, not only organising it but helping raise funds. In this as well we have input from Pembroke Civic Trust and WWMHS.

The Museum has been closed throughout the winter as the Committee has been busy with reorganisation and assembling new exhibits.  A big thank you here to George Palmer, Ron Rees, Peter Thomas for their DIY skills, to Gaynor Thomas who, besides being our secretary, has taken on the mammoth task of cataloguing the artefacts and to Rachel Norman our volunteer coordination who keeps us all in order.  When the museum opens next week, you will find a big difference.  Also, I have just gone live with a website.

 

Programme of Events

Important in the year of the Society is our Programme of Events - Saturday morning Local History Coffee Mornings as well as evening talks are held both in the Town Hall and Monkton Church Hall.

Evening talks alternate with Quiz Nights which continue to be popular.  A lot of work goes into the events and our committee has gained a good reputation for the quality of its catering:  I should like to point out that all the food is given voluntarily by the committee. Fundraising is an important part of what we do: we like to keep our heritage events free at entry and rely on the sale of raffle tickets and coffees etc to cover costs

 

Taking Part in community Events

Working in the community and supporting local events is important.  We have organised displays and participated in many community events: with St Mary’s Church, Planed, PCNP Archaeology days at Carew Castle and Pembs College, Pembroke Show, Stackpole Flower Festival, Pembroke River Rally, RNLI’s Cider with Henry, Dyfed Family History Society Fair, Pembroke Castle’s Christmas Market as well as changing displays in Brown’s Fish&Chip Café’s window.  Further afield, Stuart and  I assembled an exhibition at Bosworth Heritage Centre for the annual Bosworth Re-enactment where we also gave a talk ‘On the Trail of Henry Tudor through Wales’.

 

Stuart and I regularly give talks to local community groups including PD Townswomen’s Guild, Pensioners Club, Friends of the National Trust, Tenby Historical Society, Saundersfoot History Society, Tenby Arts Festival, Lamphey WI and Lamphey History Society.

 

I should like to finish by sending our best wishes to George Lewis, our President, who is undergoing hospital treatment – his contribution to the work of this society has been immense and I hope he will be able to return to us soon.  I should also like to thank a hard working committee for their support and for giving so much of their time and for their generosity.  And if anyone wishes to volunteer to join us they will be welcomed.

 

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2017-18 Programme

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