Chairman’s Letter: October 2016

Hi Everyone,

This is the final magazine for 2016. May I take the opportunity to thank Chris our editor and our contributors for their help in making it a success. Please keep sending your articles and photographs to Chris, for without them we would not have such an interesting magazine and remember, monies from magazine members is the only regular source of income we can rely on to fund our museum.
By the time you receive your magazine we will have launched our re designed new web site. Our new website has been designed by Richard Williamson who is David Bryant’s grandson. I am sure you will find it easy to use and if preferred you can pay your membership fee on line or buy books, we have on sale. There will be a regular update on our news and forthcoming events.
We have been extremely lucky to be awarded more lottery money for the second time in a short period. The money will be used for a second book which will continue the theme of WW1. The subject will be about the Smethwickians who died in World War1 and the many memorials that were made after the war. It will be called ”Where Memories Remain” and will be launched next year. To assist our research team we would love to hear from anybody who had relatives who died during WW1, and especially if their names are on memorials in the Borough.
Recently we have added to our programme“ Face Book Friends Day” when our Face book friends get together for a chat and cup of tea. These have been so successful that we plan to have regular meetings next year. We have also had a very successful “ Schools Day” again so successful that more are planned for the future , so keep an eye on our Face book page or web site for more information of forthcoming events.
It is true as with all volunteer organisations, we are always looking out for new volunteers. Chris our historian and manager of our museum, coordinates the volunteers and is on duty when we are open. A rota is prepared for regular volunteers who perhaps volunteer one day, two days or even 4 days per month. However, we still require extra help when we have exhibitions or Road Shows. If you have a few hours to spare, please contact Chris Sutton at the museum. If you cannot commit to a regular day, we are always grateful for any help in tea making, cleaning and taking care of our collection, gardening or hanging pictures. Every contribution helps to keep our museum up to standard in the 21st century.
At our Board Meeting in August I welcomed two new Board members, both have been part of our volunteer team for many years. Miriam Nori is our archivist and Ewart Johnson controls our sales. May I take the opportunity to inform everyone
that I will be stepping down as Chair, in 2017 at the next AGM. In the face of increasing family commitments following the birth of three delightful grand-children during the last two years I feel I cannot give as much time to the museum. I have very much enjoyed my time as chairman over the last 5 years and as a founder member I hope I have kept David Bryant’s enthusiasm for keeping Smethwick’s industrial and social history alive with the continuation of the museum. I will leave the chair in the capable hands of my Vice Chairman, Peter Allen, who has already shown his capabilities and enthusiasm to keep our museum going for future generations. After 19 years being part of SHC, my passion for Smethwick’s industrial history will continue, so I will remain a volunteer and help Chris with education days and the research team with our new book “Where Memories Remain”.
You can come along and renew your membership at our final Roadshow of the year on 12th November at Dorothy Parkes Centre. There will be the usual mince pies, tombola and raffle. We will be selling our 2017 calendar of Les Childs water colours of old Smethwick and new Christmas cards. The theme of the Roadshow will be the “The Lost Industries of Smethwick” come along and perhaps you may find a colleague who you used to work with at a company, that have now closed down or even meet an old school friend.Or you can even meet our special guest for the day, Smethwick’s champion boxer Pat Cowdell! My thanks to Derek Spires (Estate Agents) who sponsored the Roadshow advert for Dorothy Parkes. Derek has retired after many years service in Smethwick and we wish him a happy retirement.
I am sure many of you are wondering about the progress of The Lightwoods Project. I have received news that the renovators/ builders will be completing their work and handing over the keys of the house before the end of the year. We anticipate that the house and grounds will be fully opened next year, too early to give an actual date, but exciting prospects ahead.
We “sign off” our year on Saturday 17th December with mince pies and refreshments at the Heritage Centre; I hope many of you will be able to join us for this. Thank you again for all your support. With your help, the museum continues in a stable and healthy situation and we look forward to a bright future. Meanwhile, I wish you all an early very Happy Christmas and Healthy New year.
– Mary Lee

Mary Lee
mary@smethwick.org.uk