Introducing Ian Chard

Photo: Ian Chard

Following the sad death of Bob Lawrence, Ian Chard has stepped up to fulfil the role of Chair pending a vote at our next AGM.  We asked Ian to tell us a little about himself to introduce himself to members.

In his own words…..

Now a retired Civil Servant, history has always been a passion since my childhood; probably inspired by family holidays to the countless castles that dot the British Isles. While I have never worked in the subject area, I have always taken the opportunity to visit historical places or the local archives whenever on ‘detached duty’ or on family holidays.  My historical interest ranges across time, place and subject – social, political, landscape, architectural, military to choose a few – and I am rarely able to concentrate for too long on any particular subject, for life is short and there is so much to enjoy!

After graduating with a BA in History from London University in 1981, I was inspired to see the places that I had studied and so took to the road, back-packing around Africa, Asia and later North America. I probably only then began to appreciate that different cultures have their own perspectives on their histories and that the Empire and Commonwealth history that I had imbibed was only one of them.

On returning to Bristol, I decided that I knew too little of my own region of the globe and so enrolled in a Workers Educational Authority evening class on the history of East Bristol. This started a long-standing friendship with the lecturer, John Moore, who I deem to be my mentor in the field of local history – John opened up my eyes to the joys of the local records offices and inspired my field walking. John was the first Chair of ALHA and I am both humbled, and not a little embarrassed, to follow him in this role.

I always have at least one research project on the go, and a disappointingly long list of unfinished ones. It would be tedious to list them though some of relevance here include the social history of Westerleigh parish, the impact of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms (aka the British Civil Wars) on the people of South Gloucestershire, the experiences of some soldiers from East Bristol during the Napoleonic Wars and a collaborative research project on 17th Century Barton Regis and Kingswood Chase. That still leaves time for real life, just about!

I have been a member of the Frampton Cotterell & District LHS for forty years and an ALHA committee member since 2010, for some years as the titular archivist and now in this august position. I hope that I can do justice to memories of both Bob and John.

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