Friendship, expertise and enthusiasm were all in evidence in good measure at our conference last weekend. For the first time, we arranged a visit on the Friday afternoon. This was to the Historic England Archive, a popular choice that was appreciated by all who attended. If you have an English place you really have to see what they hold that might be relevant. This can easily be done by visiting their website. The staff are incredibly helpful and keen to help you access any material that they may have, even if you are unable to visit the archive for yourself.
Much of what they have is photographic, a medium that is particularly sensitive to temperature change and needs to be kept as cool as possible. We had been warned to dress warmly and we were led in to the strong room area, which is held at a temperature of six degrees. Photographs spend hours acclimatising in a special chamber before being taken from the storage area to be worked on in other parts of the building. I am sure that we will all be using this archive in the future.
Friday night saw a last minute change of venue, as the original restaurant decided that they did not want to take a party of more than twelve; their loss. We repaired instead to a well known chain, noted for its Italian themed menu and chatted things one-place.
The main event of the weekend was Saturday’s conference. For reasons best known to themselves, the venue had set the thermostat of our room at thirty degrees. We did manage to cool it down to something more comfortable before the proceedings began. The welcome however was warm and there was a palpable positive atmosphere. Peter Cooper enthused us all with his explanation of our mapping project. Do check out the September issue of Destinations for more details. This was followed by Janet Barrie with a thought provoking presentation about how the landscape shapes our communities. Simon Last shared his passion for postcards and used some of his collection to illustrate how, with research, stories can be woven from the messages on the back. Pam Smith struggled with a technical hitch that was not of her, or our, making. It was a tribute to her presentation skills that, despite this, we were all fascinated by her story of the benefits of working as a group in a one-place context. The day ended in style, with our webmaster, Steve Pickthall, walking in his onesie round his place. There was some debate as to whether or not it was a disappointment or a relief that he was not actually wearing a onesie.
In the midst of all these inspiring presentations was the AGM, which passed swiftly. Details of that will be sent to members separately.
There were many positive comments about the content of the weekend and we are all looking forward to next year. If you want to save the date, it will be 28 October and it is likely that we will be moving further north.