History of Thatcham and Newbury

Today’s (28th May) talk has seen a history of Thatcham and Newbury through photographs.  Over 60 people attended to hear Dr Nick Young talk about the history of Thatcham through photographs. Nick walked along the A4 from the old Toll Houses, which is toughly the location of the garden centre today, to the Council School, now known as Francis Baily School. 

The trip showed some common sights such as Wallnut House, also known as The Poplars and The Cedars, Brown’s, the Tomlin Shelter and much more. The audience joined in asking questions, but also Nick engaged the audience by asking them questions. Various locations around the Broadway and High Street were pointed out including the workhouse, the National School and both Browns and Fullers shops. Both audience and presenter went away learning more about Thatcham.

Graeme Stewart supplied a display of postcards of Thatcham and Newbury for guests to browse during the break.

Graeme Stewart and Nick Young

After a short break, which included refreshments supplied by Tesco’s, and homemade cake made by Nick’s nephew, Bradley, the second talk, a history of Newbury in photographs, got underway. Unfortunately due to illness Tony Higgott who was due to present the Newbury section as unable to be present and this was also presented by Nick Young.

Nick started this trip from the old Toll house on the junction of the Oxford Road and Bath Road, where the Job Centre is today, progressing into the Broadway and Northbrook Street where the Jubilee Clock is, as well as showing the old Russian Gun that was once placed there. The tour then progressed into Bartholomew Street passing the Regal Cinema and turning into Market Street. It was shown that besides holding a cattle market nearby, this street was also residential at one point.  Turning out of Market Street the audience then looked at Cheap Street where the statue of Queen Victoria once stood.

Nick ended the talk thanking everyone for their support and also thanked the the sponsors and supporters (Newbury Building Society, Business Training Solutions, Thatcham Vision, DevZen, Thatcham Town Council), as well as the speakers.

Nick noted

“This has been a tremendous event, support has far exceeded our expectations which shows there is a genuine interest in local history and keeping Peter’s memory alive. I am extremely grateful to all those involved, from the committee, without whom none of this would be possible, to the attendees. All of the committee and speakers have given their time and expertise for free, which I think reflects the inspiration Peter gave to us.”