The BHA at 50 not out
The Boars Hill Association was officially constituted at a community meeting on Saturday 30th March 1974. So 2024 marks our 50th anniversary.
The idea of a residents’ association for Boars Hill was first mooted in 1973 and an initial proposal was circulated to all households on the Hill in November that year. Dorothy Mathews, Dallas & Marion Stevens, Albi & Maud Rosenthal, Leslie & Gladys Woods and Michael & Phyllis Fogarty put their names at the end of what became “Circular 1” and were thus the founders of the BHA.
On 15th December 1973, no less than 60 residents descended on Red Copse, the home of Michael and Phyllis Fogarty to hold the first community discussion. At this stage the somewhat ambitious idea was to establish a community centre on the Hill where residents could meet. Three more circulars followed, the fourth of which was titled “The Boars Hill Association” and called for a public meeting to establish the Association. The Boars Hill Association was formally constituted on 30th March 1974 at this meeting held at Ripon Hall (later Foxcombe Hall). The initial family subscription was set at £1 pa which in today’s money was slightly more than the current, still very modest, £10 sub.
In May 1974 a fifth circular was distributed which became the first BHA Newsletter with the heading: “The Boars Hill Association Newsletter No. 1 May 1974”.
All five of these early documents have been scanned and may be viewed below. The quality of course is not up to modern standards but nevertheless is rather indicative of the early days of the BHA. The original Newsletters were printed on foolscap writing paper of 8 in x 13 in. The 100th edition (also scanned) was the last to use this size. From No. 101 onwards the present standard A4 size (210 mm x 197 mm) has been used. Maud Rosenthal and her secretary used a Gestetner duplicating machine to produce the first 113 editions the last of which appeared in May 1995. Michael Edwards pioneered a new look Newsletter using his desktop publishing package for No. 114 in summer 1995. It allowed various fonts to be used and this was the first edition which carried advertisements. Black & white photos slowly started to appear from this point on. In February 1998, edition No. 127 was the first to use coloured paper for the front page – the colours being varied with each edition. This format, still stapled at the top left corner, continued for many years until, in Feb 2014, edition 195 introduced colour printing on plain paper and the Newsletter then took on the appearance of a magazine – being saddle stitched, ie double stapled along the spine. The penultimate change took place with No. 206, in November 2016 when the practice of having the Diary of Events on the front page ceased. The BHA Newsletter thus finally followed the example of The Times which had abandoned personal ads and public notices on its front page as long ago as 1966 – 50 years earlier! The current full colour format on glossy paper first appeared in Spring 2021 with edition No. 223.
The principal officers of the BHA have been as follows:
Michael Fogarty 1974 – 1993
John Simms 1993 – 2004
Sue Reynolds 2004 – 2012
Digby Mackworth 2012 – 2016
Rosemary Maund 2016 – 2018
Kate O’Donovan 2018 – date
Joyce Robinson 1974 – 1975
Brenda Cameron 1975 – 1977
Maud Rosenthal 1977 – 2004
Colin Weyer 2004 – 2012
Jenny Wooldridge 2012 – 2016
Digby Mackworth 2016 – 2018
Nigel Jones 2018 – date
Hugh Pusey 1974 – 1980
Douglas Henchley 1980 – 1993
Michael Jones 1993 – 2008
Digby Mackworth 2008 – 2012
Colin Weyer 2012 – date
Edition No. 100 contained thumbnail cartoons of the trio who “have borne the lions’ share in guiding the fortunes of the BHA” which at that time (in reverse order below) were, Michael Fogarty (Chairman), Maud Rosenthal (Secretary) and Brigadier Douglas Henchley (Treasurer).
It was also noted that the principal element that has welded the burghers of Boars Hill into a thriving community was the Newsletter. The BHA constitution states that “The Association shall publish a Newsletter at least twice a year which will be distributed free of charge to all households on Boars Hill”. The Newsletter was prepared and edited by the Chairman and Secretary until 1999. Following the introduction of Michael Edwards’ then novel desktop publishing software, he joined the Committee in the new role of Newsletter Editor which he held until 2021 when our current editor, Nicola Park, took over.
At present the print edition is published and distributed four times a year. In addition, although not required by the constitution, the BHA has introduced up to date electronic methods of communication which are available to those who pay a subscription. These include email news and reminders and more recently, and notably, the BHA Chat and BHA Kids groups which have introduced a popular means of two-way communication on the Hill.
The BHA archive contains a complete run of all the Newsletters. If there is a particular edition you would like to see, please use the Contact form and we will endeavour to have it scanned and posted on this page.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the BHA established a support hub for the Boars Hill community which was officially recognised as such by the Vale of White Horse District Council (VoWH DC). Here is the relevant Newsletter which, at a single sheet, is the shortest ever.