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Blue plaque plan for Thatcham

Markers to show town's links to the past

New chapter for Thatcham's Old Bluecoat School

BLUE plaques noting Thatcham’s history could be dotted around the town.

The town is believed to be the oldest in Britain, with evidence pointing to Mesolithic hunters settling in around 10,000 years ago. 

The town also lays claim to three Victoria Cross winners and four-time president of the Royal Astronomical Society Francis Baily. Although born in Newbury, Baily is buried in the family vault in Thatcham’s St Mary’s Church.

Now, as a way to highlight Thatcham’s links to the past, a series of historical markers is being proposed.

Nick Young, of Thatcham Historical Society and Thatcham Vision, had previously explored such a scheme and had access to research, but it never took off.

The idea resurfaced through Thatcham Town Council’s First World War working party as a way of recording notable historic information about people and places in Thatcham.

Sheila Ellison (Con, Thatcham North), who attended the unveiling of Francis Baily’s plaque in Newbury, requested that Thatcham Town Council look at introducing the scheme.

Dr Young said it was a good idea as Thatcham needed to do more to promote its history.

However, he said that there would be a lot to sort out, including guidelines as to who should receive a plaque, where it should be placed, and how the scheme would be funded. Planning permission would also be required.

Dr Young added that his research had identified 10 people and places, including the Poplars and the Grange, as potential sites for plaques.

Thatcham Town Council will be inviting people to a meeting to discuss the scheme, including
representatives from local history and social organisations. The meeting will also be publicised in order for residents to become involved.

Councillors noted that the group would need to be independent from the town council in order to access a wider range of grant funding.

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