Last week was the AGM of NSHS when the secretary stood down and, as nobody else had been put forward, I agreed to take over. There was a bit of a debate, as I am one of the trustees, but everyone agreed. I had a hand over meeting with the outgoing secretary, Darren Rudd, last night. So I am next in a long line of secretaries, and I do believe that I am the first woman.
According to the early newspaper reports Mr Thomas Fairhurst, School Master, was secretary when the society first began and his signature is on the 1883 balance sheet. Whoever wrote the detailed minutes of the show committee 1912-1914 did not record his name (I assume he was a man). John Gibson was secretary throughout the 1920s, and kept quite detailed minutes. In 1932 Mr Gibson had given up his garden and Jeff Newton was elected secretary pro-tem. 1933 was the year of 3 secretaries. A special meeting was called in March to elect Alex Parr because Mr Newton had resigned and left the district. In June Mr Parr resigned on account of his fathers` illness and Fred Beech was appointed (Fred Beech was also a trustee, so I am not the first to hold both positions). The following month Mr Parr`s dad had died and the society bought a wreath costing 7/6. His dad had been a member of the society since 1912.
Fred Beech does not appear to have taken his role very seriously and only kept a few sketchy minutes – there were none at all for 1934 and 1935. In 1936 Richard Croston was elected secretary and he kept some even more sketchy minutes during the second world war. At the AGM in 1945 he had died and members stood in silence as a tribute to his memory. Mr J W Armstrong was elected secretary (he was also a trustee and never recorded his first name), and the standard of the minutes improves and he continued until the 1950s.
I have not looked into the more recent history of NSHS – by that I mean after 1950. For one thing the minutes are much longer and more detailed and the other is that we are getting into events within living memory and experience. Maybe I shall get around to it in the future, but for the moment I am concentrating on the more distant past.