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Social events

We had rather a mixed lot this year!  The first outing to Wightwick Manor did not happen – lack of interest from members, but the second to Morville Hall near Bridgnorth was brilliant!  To start with we had an ideal summer day, and Hannah and I arrived early in time for a picnic lunch, sitting under a really old tree, looking at the ancient Church of St Gregory, which was built by the Benedictine monks of Shrewsbury Abbey in 1118, and the south doorway is remarkable for the 12th century ironwork.  The Church itself is well worth a visit, and is always open to visitors.

Dr and Mrs Douglas met us outside the Hall and gave us an interesting short history of the house, and how they came to be its custodians.  They are only “keepers” of the Hall, as it was handed over to the National Trust, and the tenants are responsible for its well-being – which includes the garden.  Dr and Mrs Douglas love the House, and said the only reason they may have to leave is the upkeep of the garden.  We were shown the downstairs rooms, and learned that they moved into empty rooms and all the furniture, pictures etc were their own.  On a later visit to Waterstones in Birmingham, I saw “The Morville Hours” by Katherine Swift, and now am re-living our visit of the July summer day.

The weather was against us on the visit to Leek, dull, turning to rain – we managed to find All Saints in Church Street, but Leek in September was being re-vamped – road works everywhere – quite depressing.  We sheltered inside the wide porch of the Church and waited – unfortunately no-one came to meet us and let us in!  Mr Ash, armed with umbrella, made several visits to the Churchwarden’s and Vicar’s houses but - to no avail.  Inside we had hoped to look at the work done by Pugin, but it was not to be.  After a friendly chat, during which we learned that Mr Ash was christened at All Saints in the 1920s, we had to return home.  It was nice to meet old CPRE friends, but a disappointing visit.

However our visit to J W Evans Silverware Museum, in the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham, was a wonderful visit.  The Factory was taken over – rescued – by English Heritage and now it is saved for posterity – thank goodness!  In stark contrast to our July visit, we just got colder and colder inside the Museum.  Everything had been left on the last working day in 2008, and the weights, chains and pulleys were still there and covered with dust.  Tony Evans and his helpers met us and gave us a wonderful guided tour.  His great-grandfather, Jenkins Evans, started the business in 1881 and all his drawings, tools and accounts were still there.  It must have been a very noisy, hot 10-hour day for everyone.  Jenkins Evans was a wonderful Engineering Artist and a good businessman, but unfortunately the 21st century caught up on the family, but they are still very proud of him and his achievements; they love taking visitors round and telling the story of the Silverware Museum.  If you go, do not expect to see masses of shining silverware – this Factory made and manufactured the basic moulds of nearly all our present day ornate family silverware.  Before our tour we ate at the famous old Roseville Pub and admired the wonderful late-Victorian tiling and windows for which it is famous.

To sum it up the year’s visits were very different – but good.  Please join us for a least one of the visits arranged for 2013.  It is good to meet up with fellow Campaigners.

Anne Clendon Social Secretary

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