Eastcombe WI with Stroud Museum and The Cotswolds Canal Trust

SADLY at the January meeting, the first item was to advise that Ricky Brock, a long-standing, well-loved and respected member of our group had passed away.

Our sincere condolences were extended to the family.

There were some half dozen or so county and national events for consideration/involvement, and dates/venues for craft, lunch, and book clubs were confirmed.

Denman Bursaries were won by Jean and Olive.

Our first event for 2019 was a Soup Lunch at Eastcombe Village Hall – so enjoyed by everyone on both sides of the counter, and a most respectable £172 was raised towards Institute funds.

Plans for a similar event for the autumn will be explored.

An outing to Clarke’s Outlet Village at Street is in the pipeline for early April, and no doubt, there will be more to come.

Our speaker for January was Ken Wood from Stroud Museum and Gardens.

Ken gave a resumé of the history and developments from the early 1800s when the Museum was housed within Stroud College of Art and Science.

Initially it was to house collections, and preserve artefacts, and access to these exhibits was given to the local community for their entertainment and enlightenment.

Many aspects of local history, along with the changes in location and various developments by different owners over the years led to its present format and site in Stratford Park when it was opened in 2001 to the public, and in 2016 the badly neglected walled garden, having undergone a total transformation, was also opened.

We were able to advise we had experienced the delights of the gardens in 2018 when our Group Meeting was staged there by Brimscombe and Thrupp WI.

At which attendees were treated to uplifting songs from the Rock Choir on a most glorious summer evening.

At the February meeting we were enlightened on the work of The Cotswold Canals Trust by Clive Field and his wife Jill, ably assisted by one of our past members, Betty.

He explained the logo which is a Severn Trow, a boat suited for the river and canal.

We heard of the first locks installed in 1792 and their number – 41 rising, and 16 descending towards the Thames.

We saw his slide archive showing the old waterways and bridges in old paintings and photographs, and the new canal restorations thus far.

Jill showed us finds from the dig at Dudbridge Lock including an old helmet and fascinating bottles from the old Stroud brewery.

We were sorry to hear that Clive and Jill were retiring, but wished them happy days in their own boat.

A visit to one or other of the Visitors’ Centres will no doubt appear in the diaries of many of our members.