Category Archives: Club event

175th Anniversary of Didcot to Oxford railway line

There were events on Saturday 15 June 2019 at all five stations along the line to celebrate the event – with the excitement and added bonus of two steam engines (Clun Castle and Flying Scotsman) passing through on excursions.

The celebrations at Radley began with the unveiling of a permanent board with a timeline of the history of Radley Station on the railings at Radley Station (on platform 1 for trains to Oxford and beyond). Radley History Club is very grateful for the grants from the Greening Lamborn Trust, Radley Village ShopRadley Parish Council and GWR to cover the cost of the board. Entikera Limited provided extensive and indispensable support in kind.

Information board featuring a timeline of Radley Stationory of Radley Station
Information board featuring a timeline of Radley Station

Events then moved to the garden of the Bowyer Arms where there was:

  • a display of railway pictures and artefacts by Radley History Club, Friends of Radley Station and former railwayman and Radley resident Vic Gackowski, and the reminiscences of Harold Gasson, a former GWR fireman
  • storytellers Polly Mountain and Ed Blagrove in costume relating tales about Radley and the railway line
  • a display of work by children from Radley Primary School about the railway
  • copies of Radley People and the Railway 1843-2013 and other Club books for sale

More details and photos of the celebrations at Radley

Presentation of new list of vicars to Radley Church

Presentation by Richard Dudding of Radley History Club of a new list of Radley's vicars to Rob Genny, vicar of Radley
Presentation by Richard Dudding of Radley History Club of a new list of Radley’s vicars to Rob Genny, vicar of Radley

Before the 11 am service on Sunday 18th February 2019, Club chairman Richard Dudding presented the Revd Rob Glenny with a framed list of the known incumbents of St James the Great from the middle of the 16th century to the present day. The new list replaces one that has hung near the church door since it was presented to the Church by the Club in October 2005. The replacement list adds some new names and corrects some minor errors found during research for the Club’s book, The Story of a Village Church: St James the Great, Radley published in October 2016. The book contains details about all the names on the list bar the last one, that of Rob Glenny who was appointed after the book’s publication.

The new list is in memory of Stanley Baker, the Club’s long-serving archivist who did much research into Radley vicars and was a committed attender at the Church. The Club is very pleased to have been able to use a bequest from Stan towards the cost of the replacement list.

Club celebrates its 20th birthday

The first meeting of Radley History Club was held on 14 May 1997. Before the main meeting on 8 May 2017, some 55 members and guests enjoyed a glass of bubbly and a piece of specially commissioned birthday cake to celebrate 20 years of Radley History Club. Chairman Richard Dudding called on Barbara Wootton, one of two of the founder members who is still a member today, to cut the cake which featured various aspects of Radley and Radley History Club. Barbara was assisted in this task by Rita Ford, who while not present at the first meeting, joined what was then a small group of enthusiasts in September 1997 and has been a stalwart of the Club ever since.

20th birthday cake enjoyed by members on 8 May 2017
20th birthday cake enjoyed by members on 8 May 2017
Cake by Mandy Collingwood, Photo by Ian Collingwood
Barbara Wootton, on the left in the pink jumper, and Rita Ford cut the cake
Barbara Wootton, on the left in the pink jumper, and Rita Ford cut the cake

There was also a display, put together by Rita and Brian Ford, about the Club’s founding and events over the years. Copies of the Club’s many publications were also on show for members to look at while they enjoyed their drink and piece of cake.

Display about the Club's history
Display about the Club’s history at the celebrations

Read about the exhibition to celebrate the Club’s 10th Anniversary

Club visit to Radley Church

On Monday 8th August 2016, around 50 members and guests enjoyed an evening tour of St James the Great, Radley, on a pleasant summer’s evening, followed by refreshments in the vicarage garden. The Church is probably the oldest building in the village and Radley Vicarage is possibly the oldest building in the country to have been in continuous use as the home of a church’s incumbent.

After a short introduction to the Church building by Club chairman, Richard Dudding, people split into two groups for separate tours of the churchyard with Rita and Brian Ford or the interior of the Church with Felicity Henderson and Revd Pam McKellen (vicar of the benefice of Radley, Sunningwell and Kennington). The groups swapped tours before everyone moved to the front garden of the vicarage to listen to a short introduction to the vicarage exterior by Richard Dudding. Cheese and wine or an elderflower cup in the back garden of the vicarage rounded off the evening.

All the tour leaders had contributed chapters to Radley History Club’s forthcoming book, The Story of a Village Church St James the Great, Radley. The visit acted as a ‘taster’ for the book, which will go on sale, price £12.00, at an exhibition in the Church on 1–2 October.

Start of the tour with the church and the vicarage in the background
Start of the tour with the church and the vicarage in the background
Felicity Henderson talks about the interior of the Church
Felicity Henderson talks about the interior of the Church
Brian and Rita Ford lead the tour of the churchyard, pausing by the Cavalier's Tomb
Brian and Rita Ford lead the tour of the churchyard, pausing by the Cavalier’s Tomb
Richard Dudding tallks about the exterior of Radley Vicarage
Richard Dudding talks about the exterior of Radley Vicarage

Exhibition to celebrate the Club’s 10th anniversary

The Club celebrated its tenth anniversary with a major exhibition in Radley Village Hall on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th May 2007. The exhibition featured all aspects of village life through the ages – the wedding dress seen in the photo below was worn at a Radley wedding in May 1957. The happy couple still lived in Radley and celebrated their Golden Wedding a few weeks after the exhibition.

Photograph from the exhibition with the wedding dress in the centre

Farming was a major part of Radley’s history. The exhibition featured just a few of the many items of equipment from Brian Ford’s collection.

The exhibition made extensive use of material from the Club’s archives with displays on well-known Radley families, Radley Church, Radley Vicarage, Radley Primary School, Radley Station, local businesses, archaeology, sports clubs, village organisations, Radley entries in the National Monuments Record, thatched cottages, farming life, the River Thames and the Wild Rose pattern of china.

A slide show of photographs of Radley (mostly by Les Hemsworth and compiled by Stanley Baker) ran continuously throughout the course of the exhibition, attracting a ‘full house’ with standing room only at the back. 

The exhibition would not have been possible without the ideas, planning and tremendous amount of work by Brian and Rita Ford. Special thanks must also go to Brian and his family for the loan of the farming exhibits for the exhibition.

The effort and enthusiasm of the project committee and Club members were also vital for the exhibition’s success. As well as Brian and Rita Ford, the Club particularly wishes to thank John Homewood, Christine Wootton, Malcolm Grieve, Stanley Baker and Marian Orchard. And all the ladies who served refreshments!