Newsletter No. 42 June 2010


The Next 50 years

The Stokesley Society was founded in 1962, so our 50th anniversary is approaching, making it appropriate to consider how best we can adapt to change and ensure success in the next 50 years. We continue to aim at greater involvement of younger people in the Society to ensure its future. High standards in the Conservation Area will only be maintained if residents appreciate its character and take a lively interest in protecting it. Last year’s report mentioned that we planned more talks relating to Stokesley, as a way of encouraging interest. November’s talk on the History of Stokesley attracted a capacity audience (fortunately we booked the larger upstairs room), indicating that there is a widespread interest in our local heritage. This is encouraging and suggests that we should be able to attract more people to be actively involved in the society. We believe that history provides a way of engaging interest in the character of the town, so this talk will be given to three other local groups this year. Another Stokesley related talk is planned for the Autumn, showing changes over the years. It is a revision of a Before and After talk given some years back by Tom Berry.

It’s become apparent that many people are not aware of our activities, perhaps a reflection on the decline of newspapers and attention to posters. Personal contact is probably the most effective way of promoting the society, so we ask you as members to help.

Projects, the Involvement of Members and other news

We realise that projects are needed to engage those who show interest. Current projects are:

These three projects will contribute to a plan to mark our 50th anniversary. This is to publish some pocket size leaflets, describing walks around areas of the town covering the history, buildings and people associated with them. We believe that these will have a wide appeal, providing an introduction to our heritage. Members interested are welcome to participate in these projects.

We work with the Conservation Area Advisory Group, which advises Hambleton Planning on planning applications in the Conservation Area and other issues. The main application over the past year was for 50 new dwellings behind the Union Mill. A major concern was the impact of extra traffic on Levenside and Bridge Road: it was refused by HDC.

In July there was a visit by the North East Vernacular Architecture Association, who were given a talk on the History of Stokesley in the morning and a guided walk around the Conservation Area in the afternoon.

Our public meetings with talks on topics of local interest continue to be popular, prompting us to hold them in the larger room upstairs in the Town Hall, to avoid problems arising from the limited capacity of the downstairs Brunton room. We would welcome any comments on this change or any other matters: these can be passed on to any committee member, listed on the back page. Concerning the Committee, sadly we have to report that Stanley Garbutt died last year. He was involved in many aspects of the town’s life and is greatly missed. He did a great job keeping the Mill Wheel area looking smart: this has now been taken on by Stokesley Pride in our Town. At the AGM in January this year, Chris Taylor was voted on to the Committee

Civic Voice

The Society has been a member of the Civic Trust up to last year when the Trust went into administration. A new national charity, Civic Voice, has been formed, aiming to help local amenity Societies to work together, to provide advice and support and to campaign nationally on their behalf.

The Society’s committee has agreed to join Civic Voice, recognising that it will add to our authority in matters such as grant applications, and will help us to exchange ideas with other amenity Societies and learn from their experience.

Civic societies never paid for the full cost of the Civic Trust, so that it became dependent on others for its resources; this contributed to its focus being spread over other matters as well as local societies and finally led to its closure. Much of the content of their magazine was of marginal interest to our society. Civic Voice will be funded by local societies, and will be dedicated to their interests. This change of focus has already become apparent in their communications, which are primarily via the internet, and structured so that it is easy to refer to relevant topics. A consequence is that the cost to Societies has gone up: while we paid the Civic Trust £50 per year, the membership fee for Civic Voice is £1.50 per member. This excludes life members, though they do ask for a donation of £1.50 per life member in the first year of joining.


The increase in cost arising from Civic Voice membership has prompted a review of our subscriptions, perhaps overdue, since they were last set in 1994! The Committee has decided to increase the subs to the levels shown at the end of this newsletter. Our aspiration, to adapt to change so as to thrive in the future, makes this an appropriate time to face this issue. We have cash reserves, but we feel that it would be irresponsible to use these to cover running costs rather than for projects that will benefit the town. We would welcome any comments on this issue.

The Committee

Our President is Tom Berry. Committee representatives are:

Hugh CharmanChairman, Conservation710507
Eric LeeTreasurer, Membership711112
Fiona FlowerMinute Secretary710724
Frank Robinson Conservation711356
Heather AtkinsonConservation700625
Richard ThomasPublicity, Photos711213
David MaudsleyMeetings712760
Chris Taylor710680

The Society's aims are:

see newsletter no. 41

see newsletter no. 40