Wednesday, 4 November 2015

The Eltham Society ............... happy birthday

This month is the birthday of the Eltham Society which has been looking after Eltham since 1965.

The aims of the Society are enshrined in its motto of “Preserving the past, Conserving the present, and Protecting the future” which sums up neatly what it does.

It has a wide ranging set of publications on Eltham’s history, keeps a careful watch on new developments and just celebrates a place I love.

At this point I have to own up to being a later comer.

I only joined a few years ago but in my defence I was only 14 when the society was established, had moved up to Manchester four years later and by 1974 was a home owner here in the north.

And that pretty much is the story of the next forty-one years.

But I do get back occasionally and in the meantime avidly read the society’s newsletter which mixes articles of Eltham’s past with a regular update on the on the changes in the area.

And for any of us who no longer live in Eltham that regular update on what is going on is both fascinating and a continued link to where I grew up.

It is compiled by Mr John Kennet who regularly writes for SENine on the history of the area and has a number of books and pamphlets recording Eltham’s past.

Not that he is alone in writing about how the place has changed.  The newsletter always has at least one article on some aspect of Eltham’s past which are all the more powerful because they are by people who write from firsthand experience.

So the November newsletter contains an account by Patricia Sharman of her memories of living in Jubilee Cottages between 1941 and 1951 which is complimented by an account of how the High Street has changed in half a century.

Not that everyone who lives in Eltham has the same sense of civic pride evidenced by the wanton vandalism to one of the notice boards up by Eltham Palace.

Our Elizabeth and Colin had wandered off towards the Palace last Sunday and having recoded some fine pictures of the High Street recoded this less than pleasant one.

And that neatly brings me back to the Society and its continuing role in helping preserve the place I grew up in, which just leaves me to wander off in the rain and post my subscription which is just 315 which is a modest price for what I get in return.

Pictures; around Eltham Palace, October 2015, from the collection of Elizabeth and Colin Fitzpatrick

* The Eltham Society,

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