Stonehouse History Group

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- promoting  interest in the History of Stonehouse & the locality.

Stanley Spencer- click for more about him..

A Portrait of Village Life – Stanley Spencer in Leonard Stanley

At February’s 2015 meeting an appreciative audience of 52 enjoyed Peter Hill’s presentation to Stonehouse History Group about the time spent by the artist, Sir Stanley Spencer, in Leonard Stanley and Stonehouse. The artist lived at the White Hart pub from 1939 to 1941 and used many scenes from Leonard Stanley in his paintings of country life.

Peter Hill with Stonehouse History Group secretary Vicki Walker.


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Mr Leo Blick then presented Sir Stephen with a souvenir key and Lady Marling was presented with a bouquet of flowers by three-year-old master Alan Blick (Valerie Blick’s late husband).


The key was kept at Sir Stephen’s house. When the family moved out of the house, Sir Stephen’s grandson, Jason Pemberton-Pigott (Freddie’s father) discovered the key and gave it to his old friend Mark Heywood, who lives near Stonehouse.


A few weeks ago postman Paul Dicker was talking to Mr Heywood about working at the old Sorting Room. Mr Heywood remembered the key and asked if Stonehouse History Group (SHG) would like to have it. We were delighted to accept the key and invited Mark and Freddie (Sir Stephen Tallents’ great-grandson) to come to our meeting to present it formally. We asked Valerie Blick, whose husband’s family presented the key at the opening in 1933, to receive it on behalf of SHG.


Dr Pemberton-Pigott said that he was delighted that the key had returned to its original home and he was pleased to present it to Mrs Blick. The silver-gilt key is inscribed with Stonehouse Post Office and the date of the opening ceremony.



Mark Heywood, Freddie Pemberton-Pigott, Valerie Blick and Paul Dicker with the key.

Following the presentation, an audience of 50 members enjoyed a talk and display by Val and Eric Winder on the history of Guernsey during World War II. Val dressed in 1940s costume and acted out extracts from her grandmother’s diary during the time she was evacuated from the island as a child.


Christmas refreshments of mulled wine and mince pies made it a special evening for all who attended.



More Photographs of the evening.>>>>>>


Stonehouse History Group special presentation.


Stonehouse History Group welcomed special guests Mark Heywood and Dr Freddie Pemberton-Pigott to their meeting on December 10th 2014 to make a special presentation. The History Group meet in Stonehouse Town Hall which is the former Post Office Sorting Room.

The original Silver Key

Mark Heywood, Freddie Pemberton-Pigott, Valerie Blick and Paul Dicker with the key.

In 1933, builders A R Blick and Son designed and built a new Post Office using local craftsmen and materials including bricks from Stonehouse Brick and Tile Co.

The new building was seen as a credit to both the postal authorities and the contractors and a symbol of the growing prosperity of Stonehouse and its district. As such it warranted a grand opening on 2nd Nov 1933.

2nd November 1933 - Official Opening

The guest of honour was GPO Public Relations Officer Sir Stephen Tallents.  An article in the Stroud Journal featured this quotation from his opening speech:


“Sir Stephen Tallents said that although he was a little doubtful as to how a post office should be opened, he was quite sure that a fine new post office such as the one Stonehouse now possessed should not be allowed to just “slink” into the world, opening its shutters one morning without a word of explanation or warning. It should be opened with an air of distinction!”

He hoped that the growing prosperity of Stonehouse and its district would fill their new office quickly to the brim with business.

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