History Group Archive


John Hall contacted us through the website with the offer of a variety of fascinating documents from the late 19th/early 20th century. John is the son of (Captain) Eric Hall, who was headmaster of Brightwell School from 1946 until the family left for Somerset in 1949.

Below is a list of the material donated by John:



Surveyed by the chairman and clerk of the Sotwell Parish Council 1942. Published by Edward Stanford, 12-14 Long Acre, London WC2. A faded ink inscription on the cover reads: Eric Hall from Leslie Scott, 12/X1/48






  • Typed copy of the advertisement placed by Berkshire Education Committee on 10 January 1946. This lists the number on roll on 1st October as 78.
  • Letter from the chairman of Brightwell School managers to the secretary of the Education Committee, Berkshire County Council, announcing Eric Hallís appointment in succession to Mr R.J.Rowe, due to leave on 31 March 1946.
  • References for Eric Hall from W.R.Inge of Brightwell Manor (6/1/49) and Leslie Scott of the Red House (7/1/49).


4. BRIGHTWELL NATIONAL SCHOOL TIMETABLE, 1892.. Interesting to note the two hour lunch-break, and the amount of time devoted to Bible reading and catechism. Handwritten annotations in ink on separate sheets at the back note the abolition of grants or the 3 Rs in 1890 and a new aim the same year: ĎGreater happiness in their work for both teachers and childrení.

5. VICTORY MESSAGE FROM KING GEORGE, dated 8 June 1946, with a list of important war dates on the reverse.



The History Group archive has files on big events in the village, such as the Millennium and Jubilee celebrations, and a huge variety of miscellaneous photographs and documents that have been given to the group.

 A few years ago, everyone was asked to send in photographs of themselves and their families, to provide a record of who lived where, and what they looked like. The History Group Diary project built on that. We asked people to keep a diary just one day a month for a year, starting in April and finishing in March 2006. A wide range of villagers took part in the project, including the top two classes at Brightwell School.

Diaries that were submitted in electronic format have been printed out on acid-free paper to aid preservation; text and pictures have also been backed up on CD where possible. We asked people to include photographs of themselves and their house interiors, and were delighted when they provided this and a lot more besides.

Individual diaries will not be made public; these are messages for the future, not for now. The diaries are now stored in the History Group archive, and are closed for a minimum of 30 years.

Sally Dugan

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