West Dereham Sign Gary Trouton

West Dereham Heritage Group

March 2010

A report on the Group's first meeting of 2010

The group held its first meeting of 2010 on January the 21st at the village hall. It was a round table type event which gives members a chance to discuss meetings and outings planned for the year ahead.

There was a great deal of interest from the 25 members present to the recent purchase of a W.H.Goss, china cup, saucer& plate, know as a trio, depicting the arms of West Dereham Abbey. The item was noticed on the e-Bay auction site by a friend of Pam Bullas who contacted other members with the idea of purchasing it for the village archives. Richard French took up the purchase, he is a very frequent user of e-Bay, and was able to secure the items by bidding on the groups behalf. It was located in Sleaford so it had not gone very far.

Many of our readers will remember these little souvenirs of holidays when crested ware, as it is now known, was a cheap gift to bring home to remember the event.

W.H. Goss started his factory at Stoke on Trent in the mid 19th. Century and it continued under the family name until 1929. Small domestic items were added to the range in 1886 and curtailed in 1916. It consisted of mainly nursery ware, small mugs, cups plates and bowls and trios. These were all on a slightly larger scale than the normal items being intended for the occasional use. The items we have purchased come from this period and carry the hall mark used during that time. The range of the crests fired on to the china was vast, every seaside town had its crest adorned on little urns and vases. Abbeys and Fonts were also produced, Towns and Cities and during WWI, Tanks, Battleships, Balloons and Aeroplanes. Some of the rarest pieces are Animals and in particular the Tiger. Over 500 agents were listed in 1909 who would have supplied the china to retailers. Goss collecting has become worldwide reaching a peak in the 1980s,prices have declined in recent years.

The programme for 2010 was finalised and there will be two events that will be open to the general public who might like to attend.

The first is a visit to the Sutton Hoo burial site in Suffolk which will consist of a small coach party on either 17th or 24th. April. More information will be published in March.

In May the very popular Norfolk writer and broadcaster, Keith Skipper will be at the village hall for 7.30pm with a talk entitled "Squit", that will be on the 20th May.

Seats will be available so for an evening of Norfolk humour, book now on 500030.

A large package of 19th. Century documents which were lent to the group last year by a West Dereham family have been examined by Liz & Paddy Murfitt, Richard French and Cyril Masters and the information obtained which is relevant to the history of the village recorded and some of it stored on CD for future reference. A large map made in 1873 was of particular interest because it recorded many of the old field names and covered most of the village. Thanks to Liz and Paddy who had to work with a very difficult material to record the main items of historical value. The principle landowner at that time was Huge Aylmer who resided at Abbey Farm. The building you see there today was erected on the order of Mr Aylmer in 1892-3 just a year before he died.

Richard French.

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