A Short History of the Thriplow Society

In 1989 a local landowner decided to dispose of the contents of the village museum housed in one of his barns because the building had been rendered unsafe by the great gale of October 1987. Bill Wittering, a member of the Parish Council, met with a number of interested people, Dr Ken Joysey, Arthur Rowe, Geoffrey Axe, David Easthope and Bill Wittering. They decided to form a museum committee. Their first meeting was 16th June 1989 and in 1991 Richard Webber became its first secretary and Peter Speak was invited to become the first Chairman of the newly named Thriplow Society. By the beginning of 1992 Richard Webber resigned as secretary owing to pressure of work and Shirley Wittering took on the job.

Thriplow Smithy in the 1930s

The aims of the Society are:- To promote interest in the Local History, the local environment and the conservation of the Thriplow region, and to promote the formation of a Thriplow Collection.

The Inaugural meeting was held on Monday April 27th 1992 at 8.15pm in Thriplow Village Hall. 50 people came to the first meeting at which Peter Speak our first chairman gave a talk entitled, ‘The History of Thriplow over two Million Years’. Needless to say Peter was a Geographer!

The Parish Council then asked the Society to care for the Smithy on the village green and to give advice on its care and maintenance.

From 1993 the Society put on an exhibition of bygones, photographs and maps during Daffodil Weekend in the Dovecote of the Bury, the home of Sir Patrick and Lady Lena Browne, our first President. Sir Patrick died in 1996 and the Bury passed to his eldest daughter who sold it. So from 1997 the Society’s exhibition was displayed in the Smithy. In 1998 a blacksmith demonstrated the art of shoeing horses and making wrought iron objects and has continued to do so every year.

Over the years the Society has put on several exhibitions in the Village Hall, restored an old plough which is now on show outside a seed development company in the village and had some very successful parties with themes such as Victorian, Edwardian and Party of the Century (in 2000). During the summer there have been 1920s garden parties, barn dances and outings to museums and historic sites. It has built up an impressive collection of old photographs and produced several small publications as well as producing three Journals a year for its members.

On January 31st 2010 the Society produced an exhibition of its archives, old photos, maps and documents. A steady stream of people came through the Village Hall doors and further photos were given to the collection, some were scanned and returned and many names put to pictures. In 2009 a successful Barn Dance raised money to buy equipment and this was repeated in 2010. In 2010 the exhibition in the Smithy at Daffodil Weekend will feature the CCAN website to which we are adding our pictorial archive.

Every year at Daffodil Weekend, the Society puts on an exhibition in the Smithy on the village green. In 2014 they researched The Great War and exhibited their findings at Daffodil Weekend (see Thriplow at War).

Current committee members:

President Chairman William Russell
Chairman Angela Rimmer
Vice Chairman David Easthope
Minutes Secretary Dr Kevin Clarke
Treasurer Peter Yates
Assistant Treasurer Judy Murch
Refreshments Jean Tomllinson
Membership Secretary Dr Shirley Wittering
Journal Editors Shirley Wittering
Angela Rimmer
Archivist Shirley Wittering
Committee members Geoff Axe
Pat Easthope

List of publications:

  • About Thriplow, a short history of the village £1.50
  • Steps Back in Time by Sheila Andrews, Sheila’s account of growing up before the war £3.50
  • Tales of Thriplow, a Child’s memories of the fifties,by Robin Cooper, new, £5.00
  • The Ecology of Enclosure: the Effect on Society, Farming and the Environment in South Cambridgeshire, 1798-1850 – Dr Shirley Wittering. Windgather Press £30 from the author or local bookshops.