About Us

In 1999 a company suggested producing a book of pictures of the area, but each copy would be printed on receipt of order and would be expensive. Councillor Peter Tyzack and Roy and Pat Edwardes were interested in local history, Mike Edwards had a large collection of local postcards and so the idea of a local history group began to take shape. A public meeting was held, Eric Garrett, local historian from Olveston, gave a talk and slide show showing what a history group could achieve and in 2000 the first committee was formed. In 2004 an Open Membership section was started, Membership costs £5 per year and Members received a quarterly Newsletter either by post or email if preferred.

In 2001 the Group collaborated in producing a video/DVD “Return to Severn Beach”, still available from First Take Video and now a nostalgia trip in itself. The book of photographs “Around Severn Beach” published by Tempus (now History Press) is now out of print, a reprint would retail for around £15, and the committee thought this was rather pricey. Over the years the History Group has produced several booklets relating to local history in the parish and the free Heritage Trail leaflets about Severn Beach, New Passage and Pilning are very popular and have been reprinted several times. In 2017, in association with South Gloucestershire Council, the Group produced and erected Waymarker Signs relating to the leaflets, in Severn Beach and New Passage, with signs for Pilning being erected in the near future.

Most years since 2001 the Group has held exhibitions of our photographs and had displays at local events such as Pilning Carnival and Severn Vale Festival. In 2016 our large Exhibition to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Opening of the 1st Severn Bridge was the only exhibition in Gloucestershire. In 2022 – to mark the centenary of the rise of Severn Beach as a holiday resort we celebrated with an exhibition, a Centenary tea towel and a new book “A Century by the Sea”.

The Group archives include copies of St Thomas (Northwick) Church Register 1686-1807, and Burials Register 1813-1988, St Nicholas Church Severn Beach 1928-2001, extracts from the School Log Books for Northwick School and Pilning School, copies of various Deeds and Covenants, transcripts of oral histories, maps and many boxes of photographs. The archives continue to grow – “seems a shame to throw it away, can the Group use it?” is an often heard remark, if it has local connections we will try to keep it – recently we added a local ‘Mothers’ Union’ Registration Card and a file relating to the 2007 Parish Plan.

In this fast changing world, local information is always welcome. In 2001 one of our members made a series of “Then and Now” photos based on old postcards, today some of the 2001 “Now” pictures are themselves part of history.

If you are interested in joining then please visit our Members page.