The 2019 A.G.M.
27 March 2019 at The Dudley Canal Portal
It has been my privilege to serve as President for a second term. Whilst not quite as demanding as the first term with its high profile fiftieth anniversary celebrations, it has been a rewarding experience.
In addition to representing the Society at various civic events the position has allowed me to participate, over both years, in the work of the Society`s Committee, and in the past year with the recently formed Development Group. This group is exploring ways of improving the efficiency of managing the Society and making it as relevant and effective as possible in our rapidly changing world.
I have been gently pushing for an increased emphasis on present and future issues concerning the Black Country to counteract the public perception in recent years of the Society being interested solely in local history. The stated aim of the Society from its inception was always to promote interest in not just the past, but the present and future of our area.
This is starting to come to fruition with this year`s lecture programme and in a collaboration with the West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust. The Trust has achieved considerable success with its work on the refurbishment and creative reuse of local historic buildings to ensure their active survival in the future. In addition to sharing information on our respective activities we have identified a project on which we can work together. This is to carry out a survey of building stock in Sandwell Borough with a view to persuading the Council to finalise its incomplete Local List of historic buildings. Local Lists comprise of those buildings which do not qualify for full statutory Listed Building status, but which nevertheless contribute to local distinctiveness and warrant extra consideration when affected by development proposals. Sandwell is the only one of the four Black Country authorities not to have completed this task in recent years.
I also continue to be involved with the Living Memory project which has championed the photographic work of BCS stalwarts Ron Moss and the late Alan Price. I am still liaising with Terence Hyde, the retired Blackcountryman now living in Germany, who is gradually donating his photographic collection of local railways to the Society.
I must pay tribute to all the officers and committee of the Society for their hard work over the past twelve months, especially to our new Chairman, John Woodall, who has taken a firm grasp of some difficult administrative issues. Also, to our retiring Vice Chairman, Doug Winterborn, who has also served as President, walks co-ordinator and lecture programme organiser over the years.
I wish every success to our incoming President, Marlene Watson.