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

Embracing Technology | Photograph Archive Scanning

The first action towards embracing technology was to establish a group to begin scanning all the photographs in the Society’s archives (mainly collected by Norman Frost and John Rawlins). By 2014, this group had scanned around 1,000 images. Some of the original group dropped out but other members joined. 

The efforts of each participant are recorded for posterity in the use of their initials in the individual scan files. As of the time of writing (September 2021) the digital photo archives consists of close to 3,000 files.

Contributors have been:
Edwin Wilson (ELW)1070
Alan Vickers (AWV)487
Chris Bailey (CRB)333
Ian Drainer (IMD) 313
Peter Crofts (CPC) 307
Janet Wiltshire (JVW)174
Alan Murphy (AM)162
Chris Trotman (CST)106
See the online photo archive here

This has virtually covered all of the folders which John Rawlins had assembled. There remain less than half a dozen folders still to do. The whole effort has taken eight years. The most important source now for new digital photographs is from articles in the Wychwood Magazine on former local inhabitants or from the Society’s own photographs of buildings in the area undergoing change or even demolition.

The Probate and Wills Group

By 2015 the Probate or Wills Group was nearing the end of transcribing Shipton  parish wills covering the period 1500 to 1732 (ie for the greater Shipton Parish taking in Milton and Ramsden).  Between 80% and 90% had been done. Those for Shipton and Milton had been completed and deposited in the Oxfordshire History Centre with copies held by the Society.

Although the Wills Group was not part of the WLHS, it received funding from the Society and some of the Society’s members actively participated in the group eg Joan Howard Drake and Aelfrith Gittings.

The Society invested in modern technology. This included a digital recorder, a laptop computer and a portable scanner. For the first time, in 2016, the WLHS attended both the Milton and Shipton summer fetes with an invitation to scan any old photographs brought to their stand.

Interviews were carried out with older Wychwood inhabitants although not as many as Janet Wallace had carried out nearly twenty years earlier on 8mm tape.

On one occasion there was a sad and salutary lesson. Doreen Barnes knocked on the door of an elderly resident in Milton to record, as arranged, his memories of sixty to seventy years ago – only to find him dead on his sofa –   clearly it was possible to leave things too late! We were to lose Doreen herself not long afterwards – an excellent example of a member who was prepared to work for the Society although not a member of the Committee.