The Wychwoods Local History Society – The First 40 Years 1981-2021

The Initial Vision | 1981: The First Meetings of the Society | 1984/5: Meeting Patterns Established – First Publications | The 1990s: Highlights of the Decade | The New Millennium| Looking Ahead – Members’ Survey | Towards Digitalisation | Embracing Technology – Photograph Archive Scanning | 2016/18: Website Re-launched | The 2020s: Moving Forward

Looking Ahead | Members’ Survey

Sue Jourdan served as chairman for twenty years before she returned to her home roots of Norwich in 2012. She had a great skill of being able to attract new committee members and then get them to take on “small tasks” which tended to last for many years!

The Society held a celebration lunch in appreciation of her service at the Chequers Inn in Churchill and presented her with a water colour painting of the Lime Tree Walkway by local artist Vernon Dean. She had successfully taken the Society well into the new Century but it became clear that the Society was facing a significant junction in its journey.

Alan Vickers took over from Sue as Chairman and decided to carry out a survey of members in 2012 to establish the character of the Society and its wishes at that time. There were 81 replies to the questionnaire.

2012 Members’ Survey

The results of this survey can be seen here.

The survey did indeed reveal a membership which was split between those who mainly wanted to attend speaker evenings and read a printed annual journal and those who were prepared to embrace new, digital technology.

More worrying, the membership was about 75 years old on average and had been in the Society for 14 years.  

  • 87% strongly agreed that the WLHS should broadly continue as it was ie with the emphasis on speaker evenings and a printed journal.
  • However, 64% thought that the Society should embrace new technology.
  • 69% agreed that more specialist subgroups were needed but only 10% were prepared to participate.
  • 84% gave no answer to the question as to whether they would like to be more involved
  • 72% had never visited the Society’s website.

Many committee members had served for at least ten years and were keen to hand on the baton to younger members.

We had a core of members who could see the need to change but not enough existing members prepared to do the work to make it happen and, following the passing of John Rawlins, we had just lost one of the strongest members the Society had ever had.

Clearly the WLHS was going through a difficult and challenging period. We had an excellent record of achievements in local history going back thirty years but all of these achievements had been largely based on traditional technology – pen and paper, photographic film, video and audio tape, printed journals, physical exhibitions.  

We had yet to exploit the very exciting possibilities offered by the new digital technologies – digital photography, internet publishing, digital sound and video recording, the low cost transmission of written and visual information to or from any part of the World instantly.