Interpretation panels unveiling

Thatcham Town Council are delighted to invite members of the public to the unveiling of its two new heritage interpretation panels exploring the rich history of the town.

The Town Council’s Heritage Working Party launched their commemorative blue plaque scheme in 2018 with the inaugural plaque unveiled on the Kings Head Public House, commemorating its importance in the creation of mail coach runs. When researching potential subjects and locations it became apparent that there was a wealth of history focussed in and around Thatcham Broadway with no where suitable to erect a plaque. It was then that the working party explored the idea of commissioning two interpretation panels exploring in more detail the significant features and events of Thatcham Broadway and the Broadway Green.

The northern panel, located by the toilet block explores 6 subjects, including the story behind the oak tree that proudly stands in that area. The tree was planted in 1900 by the then parish council to celebrate the turn of the century and was donated by Miss Annette Henry- the instigator of Thatcham Parish Hall and first female to be co-opted onto Thatcham Parish Council. The panel includes a photo of when the tree was just a sapling.

The Southern Panel located on the Broadway Green, covers 7 subjects including Thatcham’s quirky custom of Anvil firing- something the town did for most major celebrations as early as 1838 up until 1970 when it was ceased due to health and safety reasons.

Both panels include historical photos and are positioned so that the reader can easily match up the existing building with how it looked in the historical photo. Many of the towns well known families are celebrated on the panels too, such as the Browns Family, the Pinnock family and the Ashman’s and it is hoped that that surviving relatives will be able to attend the unveiling.

The unveiling will take place on Wednesday 17th July at 10am by Councillor Mike Cole, Town Mayor of Thatcham. The northern panel will be unveiled first then a short walk to the southern panel for that unveiling and a talk by Thatcham’s historian and member of the Heritage Working Party Dr Nick Young. A group of history students from Kennet School will be attending and all members of the public are very welcome.

Dr Nick Young, Chairman of Thatcham Historical Society and member of the Heritage Working Party says:

“The interpretation panels will help to educate all, locals and visitors alike, to the rich history that Thatcham has to offer. These panels are unveiled in the historic heart of the town which dates back a thousand years, and then some. I hope that these panels will be the first of many more.”

The Heritage Working Party will unveil its second blue plaque at Thatcham Festival this October.