Thank you, Jenny, for the excellent new edition of our Newsletter.It reminded me of the last one that was produced way back in 1989, and which was followed by two more in the following two years.
These were edited by the then Chairman, Bill Copley-Jones, copies of which can still be seen in our archives which are currently housed with Robert Cleland. Bill produced one in the spring of 1989 and 1991, and one in the Autumn of 1992. Sadly, these are all that he produced and if there were more editions then I do not have any copies and am unaware of them. I suspect that articles were not forthcoming from the membership, indeed Bill pleaded for more support in the final newsletter of October 1992. As Bill wrote, "Regrettably I have only received one article for publication in this current issue. Consequently I have had to write, edit and find articles myself. I can only hope that I have chosen aright. This has however forced me to the conclusion that if further contributions do not come in, this will be the last issue of this publication. My final appeal is for articles or items of interest from members. These need not be academic but can relate any experience connected with natural history, archaeology and historical sites visited descriptions of articles of antiquity or curiosity, family history, etc. If these contributions can be typed so much the better." ! Hopefully our current editor will fare much better than Bill and have lots of articles sent to her and will never have to make this appeal.
Back in the late 1980's, Bill Copley-Jones was our first chairman because prior to this the President had a dual role. lt was often very difficult for Louis Groome, our President then as now, to travel all the way from Clevedon for committee meetings. So the position of Chairman was filled by Bill and the Constitution was rewritten. Having both a President and a Chairman worked very well and has been continued to this day.
In his first edition Bill says, "It is becoming more and more difficult for archaeological societies to become involved in actual excavations." How things have changed! We are now very much encouraged to take part in controlled research under, in or on the ground and Heather gives us full reports of actual findings that have come to light as a result of the research carried out by WESMART and all the other local teams. There are many of these in the North Somerset area and they have been set up with the support, advice and help of Vince Russett, one of our Vice Presidents, and Archaeologist for North Somerset Council. In the past, some members have taken part in activities involving bone washing at Bristol University, and digging for salterns on the River Brue. Again there are photographs and reports of these activities in the archives.
There are some more archives in the Family Room at the main Library in the Boulevard. They await further sorting, cataloging and readjusting. They all make fascinating reading.