A Little Historical Background


 The Formation of the Yapton & Ford Local History Group

The Yapton & Ford Local History Group was formed in 1992, from a research group organized by Tim Hudson, Sussex editor of the Victoria County History whose purpose was to publish histories of all the Parishes of England. To help with the research Tim, who was based in the West Sussex Records Office in Chichester, advertised for local people to enrol in an evening class to be held in the village that he was currently researching. His interest in Yapton arose in 1991 and following his request, published in the local press, a group of about 15 interested people met with him in the Yapton & Ford Village Hall. Over the course of the next year, under his guidance, the group studied and collated information about the history of Yapton from documents acquired by Tim from The West Sussex Records Office.

Following the termination of the evening class in 1992, many of the members wished to continue the studies and so, under the chairmanship of Allen Misselbrook, the Group was formed. It was decided that the area of interest should be widened to include the village of Ford as the two villages had many existing links. Membership increased following the circulation of a pamphlet inviting new members to join and help discover the history of Yapton and Fords.

The purpose of the Group was to hold workshops once a month in the Village Hall to continue research along the same lines as those under Tim Hudson but interest slowly waned. To counter this it was decided to invite guest speakers to give talks on local topics of interest. This stopped the decline and membership started to increase. The emphasis of the Group started to move away from research to one of entertainment with more of the meetings given over to speakers. Eventually research was confined to a few individuals who undertook projects on their own.

A library was started based on the material accumulated during the days of the evening classes and has continually grown over the years with purchases of relevant items as well as material gathered for various research projects. The Group has organized many successful exhibitions including those for VE Day, The Festival of Local History and the 70th Anniversary of the Bombing of Ford Airfield. Other notable successes have been the production of a series of Village Heritage Trails, a Millennium Parish Map, and a collection of Oral History CD’s featuring the memories of senior villagers, as well as a series of postcards based on water colours of local buildings.

Today the Group continues to be committed to discovering and preserving the history of the villages of Yapton and Ford while arranging a full programme of guest speakers, visits and projects for the entertainment and education of the local community.

Allen Misselbrook
February 2014

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