MENU THE ARTS SOCIETY WREKIN

MEMBERSHIP AND MEETINGS

Membership is closed at present, having reached the maximum number we can accept, given the size of our lecture theatre. Anyone wishing to join should contact the membership secretaries and ask to be placed on the waiting list.

We meet at 2.00pm on the third Monday of each month, except December and August, in the Lecture Theatre at RAF Museum, Cosford, Shifnal, Shropshire, TF11 8UP. Visitors are welcome at all our lectures, subject to limitations of space. Non-members are also welcome to participate in all visits, tours and days of special interest. For more information, click ‘Joining Us’.

We are keen to support the wider aims of The Arts Society by promoting involvement in volunteering projects involving Church Recording, Church Trails, Heritage Conservation and Young Arts.

THE SOCIETY'S HISTORY

Thanks to Rosemary Maitland, Kathy Watson and Elizabeth Mason, there is an extensive archive of materials spanning the first 40 years of the Society. Some of these materials were displayed at the 40th Anniversary celebration held in June 2014 at Weston Park along with a personal recollection by Kathy Watson. This article offers a short synopsis of the main events in the Society's early history.

In 1968, Patricia Fay established the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts (NADFAS). When a work colleague of hers from Knebworth, Michael Tebbutt, moved to Weston Park as Administrator, she persuaded him to establish a Society in the area. He conferred with Mary, Countess of Bradford, and in 1974 Wrekin DFAS was born, with The Countess as its President. It was the 59th society and the second, after Stratford-upon-Avon, in the Midlands.

Prompted by Patricia Fay, a lady chairman was appointed. The role fell to an army General's wife, Jane Britten. She was assisted by David Brown from the National Trust at Attingham Park and Ann Trevor-Jones. Meetings were held in the stable block at Weston Park. Committee meetings were held in the dining room with tea served by a liveried maid. Day visits were popular as were three-day visits further afield to York, Salisbury, Cambridge, Bath, Glasgow and elsewhere. After 16 years based at Weston Park, the waiting list had become almost as long as the membership list and a larger meeting room was needed. The Society moved to The Park House in Shifnal and then briefly to Lea Manor before finally settling at Cosford in 2002 at what was then called the Aerospace Museum.

Volunteering was an important part of Wrekin DFAS. The Heritage Volunteers were formed with a view to helping with the conservation of textiles. They soon had projects at many venues, including Attingham Park and Chillington. Help was also given to the Ironbridge Gorge Museum in 1992 with the conservation and storage of historic clothing. Kneelers in front of the altar in Patshull Church were rescued from the mice and moths and were refurbished. The group then undertook the major conservation and renovation of altar frontals in the church at Battlefield in time to be displayed at the 600th anniversary celebration of the battle of Shrewsbury. Considerable work was undertaken on the altar frontals in St Leonard's Church, Bridgnorth. The Church Recorders, who worked together with members of the Wolverhampton DFAS, started in 1992. The first record – of St Andrew’s in Weston Park was presented in March 1996. This was followed by Tong and then St John’s in the Square, Wolverhampton where a massive three piece silver altar set was unearthed in an unlocked rug box.

Click the 'Volunteers' link to find out more.