Visitors discover 2,000 years of town history

Children from Brookside Primary School dance in Sheep Street.
Children from Brookside Primary School dance in Sheep Street.
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COSTUMED re-enactors and rare artefacts were among the attractions at Bicester Local History Society’s 25th anniversary exhibition on Saturday.

Held in the Methodist Church Hall in Sheep Street, the day-long event saw a Second World War military encampment set up in the church grounds, while rarely-seen items found at the Alchester Roman town south of Bicester were among the many exhibits.

Pete Chivers, secretary of Bicester Local History Society (BLHS), said: “We were extremely pleased with how it went, it far exceeded our expectations.

“I think we had about 1,500 people through, although that’s only an estimate.

“The highlight of it for me was there was a real buzz – people were asking so many interesting and relevant questions.”

He added: “We’re so grateful to everyone who exhibited or entered into the spirit of it.”

The exhibition was organised as the highlight of Bicester Local History Society’s 25th anniversary year, and was opened by the town’s new mayor Councillor Rose Stratford in one of her first official engagements.

More than 50 exhibitors including a number of history societies took part, as well as the county museum service, local groups and individuals.

Saxon skeletons recently unearthed near The Causeway and Bicester’s restored Georgian fire pump were among the star exhibits. Others included a section of gatepost from the Alchester Roman fort dated to 44AD.

Visitors could also view proposals in Cherwell District Council’s new Bicester town centre conservation report, which was launched at the event.

Information on former residents of the Bicester area was available from Oxfordshire Family History Society, and local authors were present to promote a range of history books.

A new pamphlet detailing some of the town’s historic buildings was also launched on the day.

The Kirtlington Morris Men, the Bletchingdon Silver Band, and schoolchildren from Brookside Primary School’s country dancing group performed in Sheep Street throughout the afternoon. For more information on BLHS, visit www.blhs.org.uk.