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Newsletter 100, Spring 2013 © Hampshire Mills Group


Pamela Moore  Reflects as the Newsletter Celebrates the 100th Edition


As first Editor of the Hampshire Mills Group Newsletter, I can only marvel at how that publication has evolved into the excellent organ it is today. Of course, technology has played a part. When I took it on (at the time, I was editing several Newsletters for organisations in the South of England, including the Twyford Waterworks Trust, The Society for Nautical Research (South) and the Council for British Archaeology Wessex Region) what computing there was tended to be very basic, and so the Newsletters of groups were typed, and then duplicated…with no illustrations.

When Sheila asked me to write this piece, she suggested I give a potted history of myself….Phil said “Goodness, how many pages have you got?” So, here goes!  After growing up in Fareham (born in Petersfield but moved when a toddler), I spent the first part of my working life in Portsmouth Dockyard, which is where I first became interested in what I would come to know as Industrial Archaeology. The adaptive re-use of the buildings fascinated me, and has continued to do so.

After a few more years in the Civil Service, I decided to undertake some further education, and took A Level English and History. My tutor in History was one Peter Singer, who excavated the site of Henry Cort’s iron works at Funtley, and my interest in IA deepened. The process continued when, during my study for my degree in Cultural and Historical Studies,  I  joined an evening class in IA, led by Dr Edwin Course and Dr Ray Riley, both known to many HMG members. 

The Heavy Gang, Southwick Brewery 1985 Representative at the EU in Brussels

So I was hooked! I became involved with IA at all levels – Southampton University Industrial Archaeology Group, Hampshire Mills Group, Twyford Waterworks Trust, The Association for Industrial Archaeology and the Council for British Archaeology, as well as other historical bodies like the Hampshire Field Club, the Society for Nautical Research (South) and Hampshire Archaeological Committee. I held various voluntary posts in most of these, and found myself lecturing, writing and broadcasting on IA related subjects. 

Although from the mid 1990s I moved into other fields for paid work – namely planning (working for the Royal Town Planning Institute) and as a Parish Clerk, my interest in IA and historic buildings has never wavered.  Even when I was travelling extensively in Europe for the ERU (European Rural University) and ECOVAST (European Council for the Village and Small Town) I still found myself searching out whatever IA the place I found myself in had to offer…much to the incredulity of some of my colleagues. As I waxed lyrical about discovering a derelict watermill, they would shake their heads sadly…..a hopeless case….even more shocked were they to discover my keen interest in manhole covers!

Pen at the ready for a book signing of Bygone Fareham Being recorded by Radio Solent at Selborne On a TIMS trip to the Netherlands

Now, having more or less retired, I am Company Secretary for Hampshire Buildings Preservation Trust (which just happens to own three superb industrial sites in Hampshire!) and am still a member of HMG. HIAS (the successor to SUIAG) and on the Board of the Twyford Waterworks Trust.  My active days of practical work are a distant memory, alas, but I still do, on occasions, have to be restrained if I visit for the first time a site…I forget I can no longer climb excitedly up into the cap of the windmill, or scramble around on a mining site.

Sheila also suggested I might make some comments about how industrial heritage has changed in the past 30 years - for better or worse.  Hampshire has always been a remarkable County – unique in its co-operation between Volunteer groups, local authorities such as the County Council, academic bodies like the University of Southampton, and commercial organisations. However, as the economic situation has worsened, this has been less true, which is sad. There have been some pioneering projects – research such as the Hampshire Farm Buildings Survey and the work needed for the recent Mills Guides published by HMG (and the earlier editions), and practical projects like those undertaken by the “heavy gang” which, as well as mills, have included the restoration of Southwick Brewery. That was memorable, as we restored the brewhouse to working order and brewed! We held a great celebration, and as a result, I am one of the few people who can proudly claim to have “organised a booze up in a brewery”!  Other groups, like the Tram 57 project, and Twyford Pumping Station have also seen much achieved by volunteers.

So what is the biggest threat to the care of Hampshire’s industrial heritage? I would say that it is probably the age profile of volunteers. The people involved 30 years ago are now well over retirement age, and young volunteers are few….  So often the young do not see volunteering as part of their lives, as we all did…

But only time will tell…..                                                                                                             Pam Moore

 The Itchen Navigation by Edwin Course assisted by Pam Moore:                    

Two books by Pam Moore:  Bygone Fareham and The Industrial Heritage of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight


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