Previous meetings and events 2018

Recollections of Markfield 

At our March meeting we were delighted to welcome a former Markfield resident, Mr. Bill Williamson, who spoke about his memories of growing up in Markfield before and during the war. There was a mix of people in the audience, including recent incomers to the village, together with residents born in the village who remembered many of the things that Bill mentioned in his talk. 

Bill began by introducing his two grandfathers and how they came to be linked to the village. His maternal Great grandfather, Henry Cooper, was senior surgeon at Wellingborough hospital. His son, Bill’s grandfather, at one time held the tenancy of Bardon Hall farm.  He arranged for Bill’s uncle to become the Markfield postmaster. His paternal grandfather, William Williamson, lived to be over 100 years old and at one time owned a smallholding and Monumental Mason’s yard on the Green in Markfield. The yard and fields of this smallholding are now occupied by bungalows but the house can still be seen today. 

Bill brought along some photos, one of which showed him in his mother’s arms in 1930 in front of the old Post Office on Main Street, which originally stood a few doors away from the George Public House.  The post office window has been infilled now and the wall rendered.   Bill’s Uncle George was the Markfield postmaster from the 1920s to 1940.  Bill talked about attending the village school before the war, and helping to carry lunch up to Cliffe Hill quarry in his school lunch hour, a task which many of the boys did as a matter of course so that the quarry workers could have a cooked meal!  He recalled the different ways that he and his friends passed their leisure time, including swimming in a variety of locations which would not be allowed today!

In 1940 Bill went to Coalville Grammar School and his family were very pleased to have support from a local philanthropist who provided a school uniform and a variety of books for the young student. 

There was much interest in Bill’s talk from those attending, and some even joined in with their own memories. It was a great opportunity for friends to reunite and reminisce and we hope that Bill will be able to attend some of our meeting in the future. 

Annual General Meeting, January 2018

We held our AGM at the Library in Markfield, where we reviewed the successes of last year’s programme and looked forward to the coming year. Speakers in 2017 gave us fascinating insights into Stoneywell Cottage gardens, the history of women’s suffrage, occupations of Markfield and the Ashby canal. We had a very informative visit to Leicester Cathedral where those who felt able climbed the bell tower and listened to a talk on the bells and their history. This was followed by a look around St. Nicholas’s Church opposite the Holiday Inn, where we marvelled at the Saxon and later features and heard about the part that the church played in the reinterment  of King Richard III. 

The village walk proved very popular again – it is great to attract new visitors to Markfield from around the county and beyond as part of the national Archaeology Festival.  We will be running the walk again in 2018.

Part of the work of the group involves research on a range of projects and this includes looking at the archive of photos and documents relating to the village and surrounding area which we hold. 

This year marks the one hundredth anniversary of the end of World War I.  There will be a number of events across Britain and we discussed what we might do in Markfield to commemorate this. The annual service at the new War Memorial on The Green is always well attended, but there may be other ways in which we can observe the anniversary. The former Institute which for many years was the village war memorial has now sadly been demolished.  Members recalled memorials on the walls of the institute, although their present whereabouts are not known. If anyone has any information about this or any photos or other memorabilia which they would like to share with the group, please do not hesitate to contact us.