Petersfield Area Historical Society celebrated their 40th anniversary with a dinner at Uppark on Wednesday 8 May 2013. Sixty members attended including three founder members and five past Chairmen.
Current Chairman, Ann Mattingly, welcomed everyone and said that after forty years the Society was still in good health with over 140 current members. Throughout the years the format for the society has remained unchanged with a guest speaker at monthly meetings from September to April and visits to places of historical interest during the Spring and Summer.
Founder Member, Audrey Platt, told of the Special Study groups that have been set up over the years to assist with the local history projects the Society has undertaken. These included an in-depth study of the buildings in the High Street and the Square and even learning how to read Old English writing to assist them in reading early documents! During this past year an archeological study group had been formed within the society with over thirty of the membership participating. They are currently investigating early roads and tracks that passed through this area.
During the early years the Society collected many artefacts and over 2000 photographs all of which were given to the Museum and formed its core when it was founded fourteen years ago in 1999. The Society still provides great support for the Museum with Volunteers and Guides for the Town Walks.
President, Judy Stephens, closed the evening by thanking all the founders and early members for their huge contribution to the Society and the precious historical records they amassed for Petersfield. Finally, particular mention was made of Mary Ray who through ill health was unable to attend but who through the years had provided immense support to the Society and in 1981 was instrumental in securing the hugely important 1599 Hanbury Letters Patent for the Town.
Facts about the Historical Society
- Society formed: 10th June 1973
- Current number of members: 146
- Chairman: Ann Mattingly (elected April 2013)
- Immediate Past Chairman: Peter Price (served for 3 years)
- President:Judy Stephens (also a past Chairman)
- Meetings: second Wednesday of month at 7:30pm for 8 months from September to April
- Venue: Herne Farm Leisure Centre, Moggs Mead, Petersfield.
- Number of Publications (booklets) produced by the Society: In excess of 12, many available from the Museum or local bookshops. In addition to this they have produced two bulletins a year since 1975, which provide short reports of historical interest to the town. All copies are available to see in the library.