Whitwick's Big Dig
Enthusiastic volunteers helped to make Whitwick’s Big Dig a wonderful community event. Over the weekend of 25th and 26th July, over 150 local people gave their time, energy and their gardens to support the project.
The event was organised by Charnwood Roots guided by project manager, Julie Attard. It was a positive collaboration between her team from the University of Leicester, professional archaeologists and groups such as the Young Archaeologists, Whitwick Scouts, Whitwick & District U3A, homeowners and their families and Whitwick Historical Group. Members of the Historical Group had supported the project during the planning stage and participated in all aspects of the Big Dig from allowing use of their gardens to washing the finds.
A spokesperson from the Historical Group stated, “All the volunteers were given some training before work began. Over the weekend, they were digging test pits, sieving soil, recording finds, cleaning objects and, eventually, backfilling the holes. Everyone learnt new skills whilst enjoying doing something completely different and helping to make it all a great success.
Whitwick had been chosen for the Big Dig because it is an ancient parish with a fascinating history. The village is mentioned in Domesday as Witewic, meaning either The White Farm or Hwita’s Farm. Whitwick was one of four early manors of Charnwood Forest. It is hoped that the finds from the Big Dig will answer questions about the early history of the village.”
During the weekend, the village was visited by The High Sheriff of Leicestershire, Gordon Arthur, and his wife and The Squire De Lisle who saw some of the test pits for themselves.
After all the activity and buzz of the two days, a social event was held at The Hare and Hounds pub in Whitwick where all the volunteers, homeowners and the team from Charnwood Roots enjoyed a hearty BBQ and the opportunity to relax.
On behalf of Charnwood Roots, Julie Attard expressed her gratitude to all the local people who had helped in so many ways. She announced that there will be an event in Whitwick in the autumn when the results of the Big Dig will be shared with everyone.
Signing of Lease Secures Group’s Future
The Chairmen of Whitwick Parish Council and Whitwick Historical Group met in Whitwick’s Old Station to sign copies of the lease of the unique building which has been the home of the Group since 1987. The ten-year lease became effective on 1st January 2015.
Marlene Pearson, Chair of Whitwick Historical Group, stated, “Our Parish Council has been very supportive and helpful during the few months it has taken to arrange and formalise the lease. The Group now has security of tenure which is wonderful and will enable us to plan ahead with confidence.”
Chairman of the Parish Council, Ray Woodward, added, “Whitwick Historical Group is a great example of what can be achieved by enthusiastic local volunteers. With their commitment to documenting and celebrating our heritage, they are an asset to the village and the Parish Council is pleased to support them in their endeavours.”
The legal costs were met by Whitwick Historical Group aided by a generous donation from East Midlands Housing Group. The EMHG has a long association with Whitwick through its housing developments in the village. This contribution helps to preserve Whitwick’s history and support the local community.
Chan Kataria, Group Chief Executive of EMH Group stated: “We are delighted to be able to support this valuable community project. We have a long and proud history here and anything we can do to preserve the heritage of this community is good news.”
The Old Station is open to visitors on a regular basis. The volunteers who run Whitwick Historical Group are always keen to welcome new members and assist with research.
Ray Woodward, Chair of Whitwick Parish Council, and Marlene Pearson, Chair of Whitwick Historical Group, pictured inside the Old Station Building at the formal signing of the lease.
Join us for a guided walk around Whitwick
Whitwick Historical Group has introduced a new feature to their programme: a guided walk entitled “A Walk Around Whitwick”.
The walk includes ten significant sites in Whitwick and lasts approximately two hours. It is easily adapted to suit the needs of different groups.
Beginning and ending at the Old Station in North Street, the walk includes such locations as the Parish Church, the Old Convent, the route of the Charnwood Forest Railway and the Market Place.
Afterwards, light refreshments are served in the Station Building and visitors have the opportunity to look around our unique home.
Members of Thurcaston and Cropston Local History Society were our guests for the launch of the walk. Peter Smith commented, “I knew that Whitwick had historic roots so I hoped there would be more to it than meets the eye when driving through. Your carefully planned walk proved that was true and we were very impressed with what you have achieved in your base at the Old Station.”
Members of Thurcaston and Cropston Local History Society on a guided walk in July 2014
To book a guided walk, call in at the Old Station or email: email@example.com.
Whitwick Historical Group wins Leicestershire and Rutland Heritage Award
'Best Event/Exhibition on a Shoe String'
A History of Whitwick in Thirty Objects
The exhibition was a celebration of Whitwick Historical Group’s 30th anniversary. Held on one day in Whitwick Methodist Church Hall, thirty diverse objects were chosen to represent Whitwick’s unique history. Each artefact was displayed with accompanying information. Thirteen other local heritage and community groups added exhibitions and provided stands at the exhibition. Over 450 visitors attended the exhibition. The exhibition cost only £300 to deliver. The group deployed a wide range of marketing activities to publicise the exhibition.
Secure Home for Whitwick Historical Group
Whitwick Historical Group is celebrating a more secure future thanks to Whitwick Parish Council.
The Old Station in North Street, Whitwick has been the home of Whitwick Historical Group since 1987. Ownership of this unique Victorian building in the village’s traditional centre recently passed from NWLDC to Whitwick Parish Council. At a recent Parish Council Meeting, it was decided to grant the Historical Group a ten-year lease which will be formalised over the next few months.
Chair of Whitwick Historical Group, Marlene Pearson, stated, “For many local people, Whitwick Historical Group and the Old Station are naturally linked together. This link is stronger following positive action by Whitwick Parish Council.”
She added, “There are several benefits for the Historical Group but most important are continuity and security of tenure which allows us to apply for accreditation as a group and thereby access more funding.”
Ray Woodward, Chairman of Whitwick parish Council, said “Whitwick Historical Group is a great example of what can be achieved by enthusiastic local volunteers. With their commitment to documenting and celebrating our heritage, they are a great asset to the village and the Parish Council is pleased to be able to support them in their endeavours.”