Thatcham Historical Society in partnership with the Old Bluecoat School held an exhibition from 2nd to 5th June 2022. This was to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, a remarkable achievement. There were three sections to the exhibition; first there was information about the Queen and events that have happened during her reign, next there was information on the history of Thatcham and finally there was information about the Bluecoat School Charity as well as the history of the building.
The opening day saw a visit from Thatcham Town Mayor, Councillor Jeff Brooks, along with an estimated 500 visitors over the four days. The Exhibition had a constant flow of visitors including visits from locals who attended cookery and other school classes at the venue when it had been used as an extra classroom for the local schools. Other visitors took a keen interest in a model of Thatcham Ordnance Depot (on loan from West Berkshire Museum) with some having worked there and/or living on the site, Kennet Heath, today. Others took an interest in how Thatcham got its name, or the soldiers from WWI and the old photos of Thatcham as always stir memories and discussion.
There was also a Queens and Crowns hunt for the younger visitors and a history quiz too – popular with both children and adults! For those that found all the Queens and Crowns or got all the quiz questions correct, there was also a certificate given out.
Exhibition organiser and committee member Nick Young said “I am enthusiastic about educating people about our local history and the last 4 days have been a joy to do that and to celebrate the Queen’s remarkable achievement at the same time.”
It wasn’t just local visitors either, we have seen people from all over Berkshire and further afield. Some came just to see what the “old building” was that they had driven past but then got enthralled by the history on display.
Thatcham Historical Society Chairman, Sue Ellis, noted “everyone who has come through the doors has been delighted with the exhibition, and all have gone away having learnt something new.”
The event wasn’t just educating visitors, many visitors helped educate us with some of their own memories and lent or donated old documents and photographs to the Society. The chairman of the Old Bluecoat School, Mark Thomas, had a visit from a lady whose father attended the Old Bluecoat School as a pupil before it closed in 1914.
Mark Thomas, Chairman of the Old Bluecoat School Charity said “We were very happy to work with Thatcham Historical Society to make our 700 year old building available for this special exhibition and to talk with the many visitors who came to see us.”
The exhibition has only been possible with the support of volunteers from the Old Bluecoat School, Thatcham Town Council, Station Tyres and West Berkshire Museum. Many thanks to them all and to all who visited.