The Logo of the Charley Heritage Group

Charley Heritage Group

The Charley Heritage Group was formed in 1999 expressly for the purpose of celebrating the Millennium in a way that would be specific to this beautiful part of North West Leicestershire. There were twelve persons present at the initial meeting and even from that first get-together it was apparent that there was a fund of local knowledge to be tapped. For the Millennium venture it was agreed that a Parish Map would be made which would record places and events in Charley in a pictorial fashion with a brief written account of the area. A small amount of funding was obtained from Awards For All. The project was enthusiastically received and the finished hand-drawn and hand-painted map, measuring five and a half feet by four and a half feet is visually excellent and a smaller version was presented to each family within the Parish. The original map is displayed in the Guest House of Mount St Bernard Abbey and a large copy hangs in the Parish Rooms at Oaks in Charnwood.

After the success of this effort, the group agreed that it was essential to continue to meet, as there was still much to discover and record about Charley, both in the past and in the present time. All admitted that the name of Charley was rarely recognised by the public and that one of the aims of the group should be to address this issue as well as collecting an archive specific to Charley. All references to events in the parish in local newspapers were clipped and collated; records in local and national Record Offices were copied; local and university libraries were combed and local people interviewed and tape-recorded about their memories and life in Charley. The group also participated in the National Forest initiative called ‘LANDshapes’ and added material to their on-line archive (www.landshapes.org) .

During the Spring and Summer months the group enjoys walks in Charley Parish, often led by someone who knows the area well and general knowledge increases as we learn about the wealth of geological areas in the parish, rare flora and the several sites of special scientific interest on our doorstep. In winter indoor meetings we plan future events, invite speakers who have a particular knowledge about Charley, and meet with other organisations and groups with like interests. For several years the group has had a stand at the Oaks Country Fair with displays of significant places or events in Charley and Charley Passports, designed and printed by the group, are always very popular with visitors to the Fair.

An Awards for All grant of £4885 in 2008 will enable the group to tackle extensive projects; it is planned to design and make live a web-site; to stage an exhibition of 200 Years of Enclosure in Charley; to make a DVD entitled One Year in Charley and to write a book about World Ward Two in Charley – all of which must be completed before August 2009. A smaller grant of £161 from the Loughborough Building Society means that the group’s growing archive can be properly indexed and filed. These grants are greatly appreciated by the members of the group.

The group has retained most of its original members, recruited some more and welcomes any person who lives in Charley, has an interest in the parish or would just enjoy an occasional convivial evening out.

 

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