The 2001 Family Society Gathering was held at Royal Holloway College near Egham in Surrey on Friday 14th to Sunday 16th September.
The theme for this year’s Gathering was “Balchins in the Victorian Age”, exploring any connection with family life etc. during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837 – 1901).
After the Welcome by Sir Robert Balchin, Jenny Dixon had a whole hour to brief us all on new discoveries and information gathered since last year. My interest was with the Traveller’s Journal by the Mann family to Oxford via Windsor and the Castle. There was a young 21-year-old Balchin in the party hoping to learn more in the future. Jenny also displayed a fascinating record of Education by a young Balchin Lady dating from the early last century. The Slides showed the brilliantly engraved certificates awarded for her prowess. A valuable record of education in those long gone days. This enjoyable session by Jenny was followed by more coffee and browsing, after which came the irrepressible Leslie Grout with illustrated Slides and his talk on Victorian Windsor. Quite how he condensed his usual one hour into half of that I know not but he managed to convey the Victorian times to us in a clear and concise way. His knowledge on Windsor seems endless.
Dr.Nigel followed with his usual factual and accurate description of the history concerning Registration and the census. The lively question time that followed certainly showed how Nigel set up our interest in what could be a dusty subject.
Next the AGM got off to a cracking pace under the direction of our Chairman, Sir Robert. All the usual reports were received well by the members. Our Hon: Treasurer Colin Balchin displayed his usual efficiency in looking after our finances, a difficult job to take on and all were pleased that Colin, and indeed the existing committee members, were willing to stand for another term. We all recorded our thanks to our retiring Committee member Mr Michael Balchin who felt that his advancing years prevented him from carrying on his Committee work. Michael is a valuable member who has contributed much to the Society. Our best wishes go to him. Iris Balchin was then volunteered by Roy to stand as Michael’s replacement.
It was now the turn of our President Prof: William to present his talk on Thomas Holloway and his College. We next came to our final item by Sir Robert “Our Connections with the Royals”, a fascinating talk, put over in Sir Robert’s confident and very amusing style.
That was about it and at just after 5.p.m. Sir Robert closed our 2001 Gathering and our Clan dispersed to all corners of the Globe. It was a great pleasure to meet and greet everyone who came, a special mention for the 16 year old Claire Balchin, soon off to Charterhouse with a Double scholarship! Congratulations Claire. It was also a pleasure to have the company of Claire’s aunt, Jane Harvey. Yet another visitor from afar was Steven Taebring from Australia
Roy Balchin. Rutland September.18th 2001.