AGM 16th May 2016

AGM 16th May 2016: Chairman’s Annual Report

I am delighted to be giving this, the first Annual Report of the Broadway History Society.

At a meeting held in The Court, Russell Square, on the 15th June 2015, the Broadway History Society was formed and today has 52 members. Following that inaugural meeting our first meeting and talk of the 2015/16 year was held in September when Gordon Franks gave members an interesting talk on the history of the Lifford Hall in what was the hall’s centenary year. This was followed in October by a fabulous illustrated talk on the Arts & Crafts Movement by Sarah McCormick Healy, curator of the Court Barn Museum Chipping Campden, and in November members enjoyed an entertaining evening of music at The Court with Jon Goldswain’s talk on Elgar who was a frequent visitor to Broadway. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the residents of The Court for allowing the Society to use their Community Room free of charge and for serving refreshments. In December the Society met at Court Farm. The meeting was well attended and kindly hosted by Michael de Navarro. During the evening Michael gave us a short talk on his grandmother Mary Anderson de Navarro, the American stage actress who made Broadway her home.

2016 saw talks on the Fairground Calendar and the fascinating story of the showman’s year by ex-showman Graham Downie in January, and in February Ray Leigh shared with us his deep and personal knowledge of Gordon Russell, Broadway’s furniture designer. In March our meeting was held in conjunction with the Broadway Arts Festival in the Torrington Room at the Lygon Arms. Dr Martin Wiggins from the Shakespeare Institute gave a detailed talk on references to the Cotswolds in Shakespeare’s plays. Last month we met again at the hotel for Liz Eyre’s interesting talk on her research into the history of the Lygon Arms – our thanks to the Lygon Arms for allowing us to use the Torrington Room free of charge on both occasions.

In March, aged 92, Maurice Andrews MBE passed away.  Some of our members will have known Maurice and his love of Broadway. He was born in Broadway in 1923 and lived in Broadway for 40 years. Maurice and his family moved away from the village returning to live in Willersey in the 1970s. Maurice served on Broadway and Willersey Parish Councils and was a keen member of Broadway Cricket Club. Maurice gave a number of talks on Broadway, he wrote a book ‘A Village Remembered’ recording his memories of Broadway whilst he was a boy, and kept an assortment of photos, newspapers cuttings, articles and books on the village. I am delighted to announce that his daughter, Mrs Christine Dalton, has donated Maurice’s Broadway archive to the Broadway History Society. The Committee hope that Maurice’s papers will be the foundation of a Broadway archive that will be accessible to all and initial discussions have taken place with the Ashmolean Museum Broadway (shortly to be relaunched as The Broadway Museum and Art Gallery) about storing the archive in a dedicated room at the Museum as the Museum intends to have a permanent Broadway exhibition.

I would like to thank the Committee and all of the members for their support and hope that the membership and resources of the Society continues to grow during the forthcoming years.

Debbie Williamson
16th May 2016