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The Isleham Society


PROGRAM OF VISITS & LECTURES 2017


Dates can also be found on the Events Calendar

What is the Isleham Society?


The society is a group of friends interested in our village, it's history, traditions, it's preservation and development.

The society is a charity “excepted from the requirement to register”


We meet regularly throughout the year, generally this is on the third Thursday of the month, in the The Beeches community centre

meetings are at 7.15 for a 7.30 start.

All members are welcome and may bring a friend. There is always a Guest Speaker. Subjects range widely, often with special emphasis on topics of local or general East Anglian interest. The society also organises outings each summer.


Though primarily a group of Isleham residents, the Society welcomes members from all over. It will flourish for as long as sufficient residents and friends of Isleham – young as well as old – continue to care about all aspects of our village and become active Members.


Annual subscriptions for

 2015 ~ 2016

£10 per person or £15 per couple

Visitors are welcome to attend all meetings @ £2.00 per session

April 2015

David Fitt (our speaker)and his business partner Dr John Salters set up a small village industry using the ancient craft of distilling with a small batch copper pot distillery at The Old Salt Depot, Brinkley Road, Dullingham. It is a small independent company entitled the ‘English Spirit Distillery’.

When they were setting up the distillery some six years ago their aim was to produce the best spirits possible. They make a diverse range of spirits: vodka from local sugar beet, gins, the only rum made in the UK, fine English Single malt, apple brandy

and seasonal eau de vie, grappa and liqueurs; the rum created in Dullingham called’ Old Salt Rum’ won first place in an international competition called Rumfest held in Hong Kong.

David described how they train local employees to work in the Distillery, and as their business has achieved such good results

and sales they plan to expand the business using even more local labour if possible and continue to use the small batch copper to distil their unique range of spirits.

He finished off the evening with an opportunity to taste the various spirits they distil. You can book a free tour and tasting at their facilities for groups of up to 25, this can take between 90 minutes to two hours.

Future talks:

April 16: The AGM we will also have a speaker (to be arranged) and finish the evening with refreshments brought by the members.

Visitors are welcome to attend any of our meetings – the cost to non-members is £2 per person.

 Vernon Place, Chairman

(reproduced from the Isleham Informer)


AGM 2012


19th April AGM The new committee elected was as follows:

Chairman:    Vernon Place,

Vice Chairman:   Peter Flatt,

Secretary:   Rosemarie Evans,

Treasurer:   Bryan Wynn,

Programme Secretary:   Betty Ashley,

plus Committee Members:   Barbara Brown, Ann Cant, Beryl Powys and Ian Powys.


The Chairman reviewed the year’s activities. This review is not included in this report as all meetings have been fully reported in each edition of the Informer. He also spoke of the following: The calibre of the speakers during the past year ensured good attendance at the meetings by members and visitors; it was encouraging to welcome new members too. In January, the President, Arthur Houghton died in his 101st year. A founder member of the Isleham Society, he played a significant role in its inception and formation. One of his lasting legacies was the gift of his albums, writings and memorabilia to the Society for safekeeping. Also remembered were the lives of two of our former members, Deidre Deller and Maureen Aves. Condolences were sent to all the bereaved families. Best wishes, with a gift of a camellia for their garden, were sent to Brian and Janice Pope as they move to their new home in Sheringham – they will be missed in our village.

Vernon thanked the members and the committee for their support throughout the year, making special mention of the ladies who provide the refreshments following the meetings also to Clive Patterson and Vera and John Johnstone for their help and work. A special thanks to those with specific tasks such as Secretary Rosie Evans, Treasurer Bryan Wynne and Programme Secretary Betty Ashley for booking all the speakers and arranging the outings.

The chairman outlined the programme for the coming year including the visit, next January, of Dr Carenza Lewis (Time Team) to report on the results of the archaeological digs carried out in our village (made possible by those who kindly allowed digs on their properties).After the business meeting, Dr Ann Noble, of Isleham, gave an excellent and thought provoking talk entitled “Food for the Future” prompting many questions, discussions and comments from a very interested audience. The meeting finished with refreshments provided by the members.

Next Meeting 17th may “Poaching” An illustrated talk

by Peter Carter. A return visit by the last commercial Eel Catcher in the Fens. His mother is a member of the Wells family of Isleham.


We extend a warm welcome to all visitors to any of our meetings. The cost for non-members is £2.

If we are unable able to use our Village Hall for all our meetings next year, we will inform you of any change of venue.


Vernon Place, Chairman of The Isleham Society

(reproduced from the Isleham Informer)


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AGM 2011


17th March – At short notice, one of our village residents, Architect David Alberry-King gave an illustrated slide show entitled “East Meets West” in which he compared the two communities of Isleham with St. Kilda which is the name given to group of three main islands located in the Atlantic Ocean in the middle of the Gulf Stream. The Isle of Hirta was the only one of the group that was inhabited – the last inhabitants were evacuated in August 1930. It became a National Trust property in 1956 and a world-wide heritage institute in 1987. It is now home to thousands of puffins, fulmars and gannets.


21st April – The AGM The chairman, Vernon Place reported on the activities and meetings over the last year and thanked all who had given their support in making our year a successful and interesting one. Our membership is being maintained and we have many non-members who are always welcome additions to our meetings.

There had been little activity on the CCAN website, however, we do have material we can include and would value support from anyone who is interested in preserving the history of our village on the World Wide Web. Several photos relating to our village have been received by the Society, all of which were allowed to be copied, with the originals being returned.

We have also dealt with enquiries regarding people’s past relatives or friends. Michael Kelly and Vernon Place have been involved with the project regarding evacuees and the Jews coming to this area – Mike Rouse has written a play about the evacuation for Viva (Soham) to perform plus there will be a display of photos etc. (hopefully coming to Isleham and other venues).

Vernon Place attended the Annual Parish Meeting to report on the Society’s activities during the past year.

Appreciation was expressed for the help given by Clive Patterson for entries of our activities into the village website.


The committee was elected as follows :

President – Arthur Houghton,

Chairman – Vernon Place,

Vice Chairman – Peter Flatt,

Secretary - Mrs Rosemarie Evans,

Treasurer – Bryan Wynn,

Programme Secretary – Mrs Betty Ashley,

plus Committee members Mrs Barbara Brown, Mrs Pam Martin, Mrs Beryl Powys and Ian Powys.

A special mention was made regarding the 100th Birthday of our President Arthur Houghton later this year.


After the AGM an interesting talk was give by Editor Ed Mayall on “Producing and Publishing the Informer”. He illustrated the progress of the publication since its inception and emphasised how it much relied upon support of the sponsors and the contributions of reports from the various village organisations plus those who helped in the production and distribution of the magazine. He was thanked by the Chairman for his talk and his work as Editor.

The evening was rounded off with refreshments provided by the members.


19th May: This talk was the one planned for 17th March, which had to be postponed. “Isleham Air Crash - 13th October 1949” An illustrated talk by Stewart Evans and Guy Bettley-Cook. They described how a USAF B50 Superfortress (similar to the pictured above) on a training mission to Heligoland in the Baltic Sea took off from a foggy Lakenheath at 0930 and shortly later came down in a field to the north of Beck Road.

The crash resulted in the detonation of the aircraft’s payload of sixteen 500 lb bombs, killing all 12 crew and shattering windows and cracking plaster throughout Isleham. Fortuitously, the blast was directed away from the village and no-one on the ground was injured, despite the crash site being barely half a mile from the village centre. Stewart and Guy speculated, from (often contradictory) eye-witness accounts and research into the safety records of B50s, that the crash followed an engine fire.

The evening concluded with memories of villagers, from the horror and excitement of those in the school at the time, to the relief of the Ave's twins that the explosion they heard was not a tyre bursting on the tractor-load of sugar beet they were taking to the station!


We welcome all visitors to our meetings – you don’t have to be a member.

Vernon Place, Chairman of The Isleham Society

(reproduced from the Isleham Informer)


Chairman:  Vernon Place

6, Bowers Lane

Isleham CB7 5SS

01638780449

vernonplace@gmail.com


Vice Chairman:  Clive Patterson

21, West Street

Isleham CB7 5SD

01638780669

patterson.clive@gmail.com


President:  Ian Powys


Secretary:  Glenda Preece

94 The Causeway, Isleham

01638780734

gjpreece@aol.com


Treasurer:  Bryan Wynne

43, Mill Street,

Isleham. CB7 5RY

01638780802

bryanwynne@aol.com


Programme Secretary

Mrs Ann Cant

6 St Andrews Close

Isleham  CB7 5TB

01638780703

cant@alan-ann.fsnet.co.uk


Book Sales

Mrs Betty Ashley

14 St Andrews Close

Isleham CB7 5TB

01638 780742

betal.ashley@gmail.com


Committee Members:


Mr Peter Flatt

Mrs Pat Houghton

Mrs Beryl Powys

Ian Powys