The HISTORIC FARM BUILDINGS GROUP is organising its 30th Autumn Conference and Annual General Meeting in the CHILTERNS this year, on the usual third weekend in September between Friday 18th and Sunday 20th.  We will be staying at the Lane End Conference Centre so that most of us can be together for the weekend to more easily exchange views and experiences with others who share our interest in historic farm buildings.  The Conference Centre is located 5 miles south-west of High Wycombe Station, Buckinghamshire, and to the south of the M40, midway between Junctions 4 and 5.  It is set in attractive grounds with a newly opened private leisure facility and bar.  The accommodation is mainly in single, study-style bedrooms – all are en suite and lockable (www.lane-end-conferences.co.uk).
 The Conference will start with an optional visit on the Friday afternoon to Lacey Green Windmill, near Princes Risborough which will be opened especially for us.  The former corn mill was restored from near dereliction under the auspices of the Chiltern Society by Christopher Wallis, Barbara’s late husband, and his team of volunteers.  It is a smock mill which is believed to contain the oldest windmill machinery in the country, c.1650. (www.laceygreenwindmill.org.uk

The evening session of introductory talks on Friday will begin with registration and a 3-course meal at 19.00hrs for all, even if you prefer to be non-residential.

Saturday’s morning talks will be from local experts before visiting farms in the south Buckinghamshire and south-east Oxfordshire part of the Chilterns, returning for the evening meal, AGM and reports from members who would like to share details of their latest work or findings in relation to historic farm buildings.  Sunday’s visits to farms will be further north in the Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire Chilterns. 

The farm buildings to be visited include those still in agricultural use, converted to non-agricultural uses on working farms, those converted to non-agricultural uses and severed from the surrounding farmland, those which are unused and a whole farm threatened with redundancy by the HS2 rail proposal.  The main building materials are timber (including a variety of timber frames) and variable amounts of flint, brick and clunch.  Although predominantly an area of small mixed farms area throughout history, there are some surprisingly large traditional barns for a hilly area underlain by chalk.  The influence of the London market has been strong from medieval times.  (As well as farm livestock and horses, you will definitely see lots of red kites gliding and circling in the skies above.)

The Conference is being organised by Barbara Wallis and Pauline Wilkinson.  Barbara is currently a member of the Board of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; and, apart from her professional career as science teacher, has been a long-term researcher of historic buildings for various organisations, including the Chiltern Society (a former Chairman of their Historic Works & Buildings Group - later the Historic Buildings and Landscape Group - and Planning Field Officer).  She has been a member of this HFBG for some 10 years.  Pauline is also a local resident and a former Geography teacher; was also a former Chairman of the Historic Works & Buildings Group of the Chiltern Society; as a chartered Town and Country Planner, dealt with many planning applications and listed building consent applications for the conversion of farm buildings; researched the uses of redundant farm buildings, with an emphasis on understanding their historical significance before conversion, and provided written advice on that basis for the College of Estate Management at Reading; and has been a member of HFBG since 1985.

The cost of the Conference, depending on whether or not you are a paid-up member, is approximately £255 per person for residents and approximately £145 per person for non-residents.  Everyone will need to be a member at the time of the conference for insurance purposes.  For full details or to book please use the contact us page.