Stretton on Dunsmore History Society


Talks offered

About us

Brief History

Meetings & Events

Research Projects


Talks offered


Photo Gallery

Useful Links

Contact us

Stretton History Society Members are prepared to offer illustrated 'Talks'.


Talks other than those listed here may be available from members of the society; please ask for details.

Anne Langley

Local historian Anne Langley is secretary of the Stretton History Society; she has published booklets on 'Victorian Village Life', 'Brandon Silk Mill' and 'Warwick County Asylum' and edited a collection of Joseph Ashby's writing. She offers illustrated talks on the following. No fee, but a modest donation to 'Cruse Bereavement Care' is requested. Contact her at 12 Squires Road, Stretton on Dunsmore, Rugby CV23 9HF or telephone 02476 542703 for further details.

  • Early photographs of Rugby and surrounding villages (NEW)

  • My great-grandfather built railways in Japan (NEW)

  • The Rev. EN Dew's trip down the River Avon around 1900 (NEW)

  • History is all around us (look at your locality with new eyes) (NEW)

  • The sinking of the Titanic (from contemporary accounts) (NEW)

  • Tithe maps and documents for family and local historians

  • Victorian Village Life

  • The Victorian Village School

  • Joseph Ashby's Victorian Warwickshire

  • Warwick County Asylum: the first reformatory in Warwickshire

  • Brandon Silk Mill and child labour

  • Local almshouses (within Warwickshire)

  • Early Allotments in Warwickshire

  • Joseph Elkington, 18 th century agricultural drainage pioneer

  • Bertie Greatheed's 18 th century grand tour of Europe

  • Researching and/or writing the history of your community


Chris Holland

Local Historian Chris Holland is a member of the Society and has published books on 'Joseph Elkington: Warwickshire's Land Drainage Pioneer'. and 'The Story behind the Monument'. He offers the following illustrated talks:

  • Joseph Elkington, Warwickshire's drainage pioneer

  • Armistice Day in Warwickshire 1918-25

  • When the Spanish 'flu came to Warwickshire 1918-19

  • The Story behind the Monument (the local mustering and review of troops before they set off for Gallipoli in the First World War)

Detailed information about his current talks is shown below:


LOCAL HISTORY TALKS - by Chris Holland


1. The Story Behind The Monument

The unusual and moving story of the time spent by the 'Incomparable' 29 th Division in Warwickshire, in the early months of 1915, before their departure for Gallipoli. The monument in question is at the intersection of the A45 and Fosse Way near Stretton on Dunsmore; it commemorates not just the Division's war record but also their stay in the Warwickshire area.

Based on "The Story Behind The Monument" by Chris Holland and Tony Jordan.


2. The "Amazing Adventures" of Godfrey Herbert, 1914-18

The remarkable and controversial Great War career, in submarines and Q-Ships, of Commander Godfrey Herbert RN - a hero to his country, a war criminal to his enemies. Godfrey Herbert's home town was Kenilworth .

Based on research undertaken for "Doing Its Part Nobly: Coventry's King Henry VIII School and the Great War" by Chris Holland and Rob Phillips.


3. When the Spanish 'flu Came to Coventry and Warwickshire,

The local impact of the world's most lethal influenza virus (to date). The talk also considers why an event that killed more than 200,000 Britons seems largely to have been forgotten.


4. A Coventry School at War

Some of the stories of the 250 old boys of King Henry VIII School who served in the Great War: sad, stirring and occasionally bizarre. Those who served ranged from First Sea Lord to humble privates.

Based on "Doing Its Part Nobly: Coventry's King Henry VIII School and the Great War" by Chris Holland and Rob Phillips.


5. Armistice Day and Remembrance in Warwickshire, 1918-25

The talk looks at how news of the Armistice in 1918 arrived in the area and at the way local people responded; at the Peace Celebrations of July 1919; at the way in which Armistice Day was subsequently observed locally (in the period to 1925) and, finally, at some of the local debates on the form which permanent memorials to 'The Fallen' should take.

6. Roland's War

A Coventry soldier's war - as recounted in letters written by Roland Mountfort whilst serving on the Western Front and in East Africa between March 1915 and January 1918. The letters are now regarded as one of the finest collections held by the Imperial War Museum. Mountfort was a shrewd and literate observer who looked at the war from the perspective of the ranks.

Based on "The Great War Letters of Roland Mountfort"; transcription and commentary by Chris Holland and Rob Phillips.


7 . Forgotten Hero: The Story of Joseph Elkington, Agricultural Pioneer, 1739-1806

He farmed at Princethorpe, was rewarded by Parliament and is commemorated in Stretton on Dunsmore. If you thought agricultural drainage was simply a question of digging ditches, think again! A true pioneer, now celebrated as a founding father of hydrogeology. The talk sets Elkington's work into its contemporary context - the 'Agricultural Revolution', growing interest in geology etc.

Based on "Joseph Elkington: Warwickshire's Land Drainage Pioneer" by Chris Holland, Anne Langley and Adam Moore.


From the autumn of 2009:


8. A War's Shadow: Dunchurch and the Great War

Some of the stories behind over one hundred names of men who fell in the Great War and who are commemorated in St Peter's Church, Dunchurch. These are not only local villagers (including the Vicar) but also former pupils of Dunchurch Hall School .


9. 'For Valour': Warwickshire's VC Winners from the Great War



The Speaker : Chris Holland read Modern History at Oxford University and is a former Head of History at King Henry VIII School, Coventry. An early retirement has enabled him to combine his long-standing fascination with the Great War with his interest in local history. Chris is currently Chairman of the Heart of England Branch of the Western Front Association and a member of Stretton on Dunsmore History Society. All of his talks are based on research in which he has been involved.


The Talks : last approximately 1 hour each and are fully illustrated using a data projector. Lap top and projector provided - a screen and extension lead are required. (However, if there is a problem, these can be brought). Apart from the second Wednesday of the month, all evenings are possible; daytime talks can also be arranged.


Fee/expenses : A donation of £25 would be appreciated. This covers travel expenses within a 20 mile radius of Stretton on Dunsmore and contributes towards research expenses and the (not insignificant) costs of the afore-mentioned data projector! The opportunity might also be welcomed to sell some of the publications mentioned above.


Contact Chris Holland by telephone 02476 542493
Or click here to email (add Subject: Local History Talks) for more information.

Or by letter to: Plott Bungalow, Plott Lane, Stretton on Dunsmore, Rugby CV23 9HR.


Back to the top >>