Welcome to the Forest of Dean Local History Society website

Mary Sullivan colour

Mary Sullivan,
Chair of Forest of Dean Local History Society

 Welcome to the website of the Forest of Dean Local History Society, the oldest society in the County! Last year we celebrated our 70th year with special events and talks and a sumptuous dinner. Our membership is still growing and we are proud of the way we fulfil our mission of helping people to enjoy and know more about the rich local history of our area.

Our members enjoy a regular programme of talks and historical walks as well as outings both within the Forest and further afield, with one or two events happening every month of the year. Members also receive a quarterly hard copy newsletter with short historical articles as well as news of the Society. Our newsletter won an award from the British Association for Local History in 2016 as the best newsletter in the country. We also regularly email members who have requested it with information about activities by neighbouring societies and county-wide groups.

Our annual journal, The New Regard, is highly thought of and we are proud of the fact that over the years four contributors have been short listed for the British Association for Local History award for a published article with two outright winners. This year we published the 33rd volume of research by our members. The journal is an ever increasing source of fascinating information for researchers and casual readers alike. You can buy copies of the journal and downloads of single articles here. You can find an index of all the volumes here. Members can buy all publications at discounted prices.

Conservation is a big part of the society. One of the society’s key objectives is to promote, encourage and further the preservation of artefacts, archaeological and historical sites, and archives. The society has developed, and maintains a Sites and Monuments Database, available to members, which includes records of more than 120 sites and monuments, 20 associated people, 250 photographs and 450 bibliographic references.

Many of our members are active researchers and we offer help to those who would like to do their own research but are unsure where to get started. The website also provides links to many useful resources. Here is a link to the contents of our library. Group projects form an important part of our activities, such as the work that has been done on the impact of WW1 on the Forest community. This work resulted in a book called The Forest at War that is now for sale on our website and at meetings.

Over the years the Society has undertaken a number of historically based projects in the Forest. One project arose as a result of many years of research by a member into fatal accidents in Forest of Dean coalmines and quarries. This culminated in 2005 with the erection of the Miners’ Memorial sculpture, with kind permission of the Forestry Commission, at the New Fancy Colliery site. A CD containing details of the fatal accidents, mines and mine owners was produced. You can buy a copy. Four leather bound Roll of Honour books, recording all the fatalities, were produced and presented to local libraries. We have now added Dave Tuffley's 'Miners Glossary of Terms' to our heritage section, where it is available as a free download.

Adjacent to the Miners' Memorial is the Geomap. This innovative project involved the creation of a Geology Map made of the actual stone that the Forest sits on. The Geomap was awarded the 11th ENI Geological Challenge award for 2008.

Non-members are always welcome to our indoor talks for a small entrance fee, but to get the most out of the Society we do encourage you to become a member. Details of how to join us can be found here.