Roade Local History Society. Established 2005
Projects Update for 2019


Here's your chance to learn about, enjoy and
make a lasting contribution to our local history.


Active & Ongoing Research Projects:

1. Pianoforte Supplies Limited (PSL): Established in London in 1919 and moved to Roade in 1923. Our objective is to collect as much history, memorabilia and memories as we can of this company which had such a major impact on the social and economic development of our village and community. This will hopefully form the basis of a centenary exhibition in 2023. Past employees would be welcome to help and contribute. Project Leader - Ron Johnson

2. Oral History Archive: We continue our programme of interviews recording residents’ lives and memories of life in Roade in the past. Details of these recollections are available on our Home page. We would welcome a volunteer to assist with selecting material for a compilation CD.  We would also welcome suggestions of, or from, potential candidates, particularly anyone who has lived in the village for many years. We are very grateful to our enthusiastic interviewers Pat Brittle & Denise Calder. Project Leader - Vivian Blyth

3. Photographic Archive:  A long term project started by Bill Hudson and taken on by Peter Mawby.We need a long term plan for continuing this and would request someone younger to get involved to ensure the long term security of the Photos and Data. It involves:
  • Receiving photos and data about the photos
  • Maintenance of an Excel spreadsheet to record search criteria and details about the photos and their source.
  • Electronic storage of the photo images based on the Search Criteria in the spreadsheet
  • Many photos are of poor quality and can be improved; we need help with this aspect immediately as our current expertise is limited.
Eventually the photos that are not subject to copyright restrictions will be linked to our revised web site.  Project Leader - Peter Mawby

4. Physical Archives: We need help with cataloguing, researching and preserving our growing collection of interesting documents and memorabilia.  Project Leader - Ron Johnson
5. Moving Images Archive: We have a small archive of films relating to Roade that have been professionally converted to DVD. We have access to this free source of conversion for any further material we may acquire. We need assistance to review and document the current archive and publicise this facility. Project Leader - TBA

6. Society Website: We are conscious that our website needs to develop in order to be a valued resource to both local residents and historians from further afield. To that end, we are exploring opportunities of engaging with more multi media outlets. Your committee is somewhat staid in embracing these, however, we are fortunate that the local Facebook site – Roade Remembered – is well supported, and its correspondents, perhaps unwittingly, are providing priceless information of significant interest and value to our community’s historical portfolio. Project Leader – Website Sub Committee & Volunteers. (Can you help or advise?).  Email:
7. World War 1 Anniversary/Roll of Honour: The culmination of the Society’s research on Roade men who lost their lives while in the forces in WWI was exhibited at the Methodist Hall in November. We now have a comprehensive list of those who served in and survived the conflict and intend to research further these individuals, numbering 50+. We would welcome help with this project as well as the loan of photographs of, or information about, those concerned, and be especially delighted if any of their descendants participated in this project. Project leader - Vivian Blyth.

8. Red Wheel plaque/ Roade Cutting 180: Following the award of the Transport Trust Red Wheel and the successful180 Exhibition in September, the Cutting model is now in store at Elizabeth Woodville School. The model has been entered into a national competition and we are awaiting the judging panel’s decision regarding its possible exhibition at Stafford in February. Long term two options are being considered for permanent public display. Prior to this it is intended to procure/produce a protective glass cover. In addition, following interest in the research undertaken into the rich history of the Cutting, we are contemplating publication of the wealth of historical information on this Site of Special Scientific Interest & National Heritage Structure. Project Leader – Chris Hillyard.

9. John Gwilt Memorial Display Cabinet in Roade Library:  This contains changing displays relating to Roade and its history.  If you belong to a group or organisation which would like to have a display in the cabinet please contact Vivian Blyth.
10. World’s First Night Navigation Flight: Claude Grahame-White made history when he took off from Roade in the early hours of 28th April 1910 during an air race from London to Manchester.  Following an exhibition in 2016 it is our intention to commemorate this with a community art structure. Project leader - Alastair Inglis

Future & Embryo Research Projects:

1. History of Roade Methodism: the Society has obtained a copy of an unpublished document which traces the history of Wesleyan Methodism in Roade from 1837 to 1924. This, together with the Church’s1975 centenary publication, and articles from the National Newspaper Archive could form the basis of a comprehensive history to coincide with the 150th Anniversary in 2025. A volunteer is required to undertake the transcription and compilation. Project Leader – TBA.

2. The History of 72 MU RAF Roade: The former RAF spares and maintenance depot situated in Salcey Forest was active between 1942 & 1957. The Society is considering compiling a history of this establishment and seeks information, photographic images and former employee’s memories. Are you able to help? Project Leader – Ron Johnson.

3. Family History:  It is the Society’s objective to expand this area of reference on the website. Project Leader - TBA

Media and Publications
– Details and availability of the Society’s publications are available on

We recognise that everyone’s time is limited, but just a little help is better than none at all. Potential volunteers, researchers or correspondents to assist with any of the above, please contact the appropriate Project Leader by telephone or email.

Vivian Blyth

Tel: 864498


Chris Hillyard

Tel: 863538



Alastair Inglis

Tel: 862369



Ron Johnson

Tel: 947934



Peter Mawby

Tel: 862735