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 and David Easthope. They decided to form a museum committee. Their first meeting was on 16th June 1989. In 1991 Richard Webber was invited to become the first Secretary and Peter Speak was invited to become the first Chairman of the newly named Thriplow Society.

Thriplow Smithy in the 1930s

The Society aims to promote interest in the local history, the local environment and the conservation of the Thriplow region, and to form a Thriplow Collection.

50 people came to the inaugural meeting on 27th April 1992 in Thriplow Village Hall.  Peter Speak gave a talk entitled “The History of Thriplow over two Million Years”. Needless to say Peter’s specialism was geography!

The Parish Council asked the Society to keep an eye on the Smithy and to advise them if we spot any maintenance works required.

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.

The Society restored an old plough which is now on show outside KWS on Church Street, 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.

In 2009 a successful Barn Dance raised money to buy equipment and this was repeated in 2010. On 31st January 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 2010 the Daffodil Weekend exhibition in the Smithy featured the CCAN website to which we added our pictorial archive. In 2014 research into The Great War resulted in an exhibition “Thriplow at War”.

The Society’s Honorary President is William Russell and the current committee is:

Chairman David Easthope
Vice Chairman Geoffrey Axe
Minutes Secretary Pat Easthope
Treasurer Peter Yates
Assistant Treasurer Judy Murch
Refreshments Angela Rimmer and Jean Tomlinson
Membership Secretary Angela Rimmer
Journal Editors Pat Easthope, Angela Rimmer and Shirley Wittering
Archivist Shirley Wittering
Committee member Alyce Merry


List of publications:

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