Next event

Wednesday 23rd February – 7.30 pm
St Mary’s Church Hall, Roade, NN7 2PU

Preston Deanery Hall: the story of a house through time
Maureen Williams

Today's Preston Deanery Hall was originally just an annexe of the old Hall that was demolished in 1934. It had been home to one of the clerks of King James I's Privy Council, the great-grandfather of the founder of the Glyndebourne Opera, and one of Northamptonshire's leading shoe manufacturers, before becoming a health clinic patronised by the great and the good. Its history includes tales of shipwreck, robbery and hangings and pioneering airmen!

Entrance: Members £2, Non-members £3
Children under 16: of Members free & of Non-members 50p

Telephone enquiries: 01604 864498 or 862735

Please note: The Members’ Lunch scheduled for Saturday 22nd January has been postponed. The new date will be advised on our website, Facebook sites and in newsletters etc.

Cutting Remarks Book Launch

Cutting Remarks - The Story of Roade’s Railways and Cutting through the Ages, by our Chairman Chris Hillyard, was launched on Saturday 27th November at Roade Village Hall.

Chris Hillyard presenting a copy of Cutting Remarks to
Roade resident Alvin Barby, who inspired the book.

The book records the significant impact the railway had on the social and economic development of the village from the 1830s to the present day. It will appeal to railway enthusiasts, the technically minded and people interested in rural and local social history.

240 pages, 65000 words, Hardback, containing over 300 images and illustrations.
Price £17.50 + £5.00 UK p&p.

Roade Local History Society is grateful
to the following for their generous
financial support for this book:

Christopher Denton, Roade

Roade Parish Council

Click here for more details about the book.

To order and pay online, click here:

For non-credit/debit card purchases please email

Latest updates are available on Facebook:

Click here to see more about Roade's railway cutting and the major exhibition we staged in 2018.

See our What’s On page for details of other future events.

Projects  - help needed!
"Projects" are an important part of our activities and we welcome help with these.
Please see our current list of ongoing and future projects for more information.

New Website
At the moment we are working on a variety of projects including the development of a new website which will include the ability to display most of the photographs in the Society’s substantial archive.

Coronavirus Diary Project - can you take part?
Northamptonshire Archives and Heritage Service would like people to "begin a record or diary of your thoughts, feelings and daily activities during the coronavirus pandemic and especially any changes you have noticed in your community".  Click here for details.
If you decide to take part in the project, RLHS would be very grateful if you would let us have copies of your submissions. Please email

Oral History Interviews
Since 2007 we have been interviewing local residents as part of our Oral History project and we have made these available for purchase on CD. Click here for more information.

Telephone enquiries 01604 864498 or 862735

Scroll further down for some pictures and information about our recent events.


Memorial to Captain J H A Ryan MC

The headstone on the Ryan family grave in Roade Cemetery has now been straightened. Captain James Ryan was killed in WW1 and was buried in France but also commemorated on the side of the headstone and on Roade War Memorial. RLHS would like to thank all the donors and Roade Parish Council for their support. We are especially grateful to Gavin Warren, Chairman of Northamptonshire County Cricket Club, who arranged for NCCC to meet half the cost of restoration. James and his father, Dr W H Ryan of Tilecote House, both played cricket for the County.

Some of the donors on Remembrance Day, 14th December 2021.
Left to Right - RLHS Chairman Chris Hillyard, David Clarke, Mary Wloszek,
NCCC Chairman Gavin Warren, Vivian Blyth with pre-restoration photo.

The Every Brothers - Their Story


The play was performed again at The Deco Theatre, Northampton on Sunday 14th November 2021. It proved to be a great success, and we’d like to thank everyone who came to The Deco to support us. A DVD will soon be available - details will be posted here, and on our Facebook site “Roade Remembered”

As part of Remembrance Day commemorations in Roade in 2019, Ron Johnson wrote a five act play about three casualties of WW2, the Every Brothers, sons of a London family evacuated to our village during the war. His source was an archive kindly donated by the family to Roade Local History Society. It was staged on 9th November at Elizabeth Woodville School, Roade, before a packed audience of locals, Deputy Lord-Lieutenant Col John Royle MBE, four JPs, members of Roade & District and Duston branches of The Royal British Legion and other military and ex-military personnel.
Using a minimal, well-lit stage set, and structured round a narrator, the drama sets out the background, and then enacts events in the home life and military careers of the brothers one by one. Keeping strictly to unadorned format and delivery, script and cast avoided sentimentality and mawkishness, instead generating a cumulative sense of tragedies overtaking a very ordinary family.
It would be invidious to single out any one of the cast for special praise when each player brought a high level of competence to the part. It was an expert performance of a fine work, creating genuine emotion in the audience, and saluted at the end by that rarity, a standing ovation.

Thank you to all who came to 'The Every Brothers' and congratulations to author Ron Johnson, the cast and crew and everyone involved in making the evening such a success. The play was brilliant and it was a very special occasion.

The attached Anglia News report was recorded at the dress rehearsal.

Roade Cutting

Of the numerous challenges which Robert Stephenson faced during the construction of the London & Birmingham railway, Roade Cutting remains one of the most visibly awe-inspiring engineering achievements of the nation’s railway infrastructure. It is the timeless legacy which Stephenson and his engineers left to our village and the nation.

Designation as a ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’ in 1986 ensured its protection as an asset of National Geological Significance. In 2018 its engineering excellence was recognised with the award of a prestigious ‘Red Wheel’ by the Transport Trust, designating it a ‘National Transport Heritage Site’. The Cutting enabled the completion of the world’s first long-distance inter-city railway, which was officially opened on Monday 17th September 1838. Click here for more information about the Red Wheel

A two-day grand exhibition celebrating the 180th anniversary of the opening of the London & Birmingham Railway was held at Roade Village Hall on the 8th and 9th September 2018.  RLHS welcomed exhibitors from a variety of national and local railway societies. Strong additional support came from local history, industrial archaeology and transport heritage organisations and many local community groups and individuals. We were very grateful for financial support from Northamptonshire Community Foundation, Milton Keynes Heritage Association and local sponsors.

The principal RLHS exhibit was a model of the Cutting, former Station and diverse railway infrastructure. The model is indicative of the village’s social and economic development since the railway came to the locality in the 1830s. It was made by Society members, local artisans, artists, technical specialists and Elizabeth Woodville School staff and students. The model was accompanied by a series of display boards about the history of the Cutting and its impact on the community. 

The exhibition was opened by the Rt. Hon. Andrea Leadsom MP and the Red Wheel was unveiled by Stuart Wilkinson, Chairman of the Transport Trust, and Chris Hillyard RVM, Roade Local History Society.  The exhibition was very successful and awards were subsequently received for the event and the model.  Click here for more information about the Roade Cutting Exhibition.

Chris Hillyard has responded to many requests for a book based on his research and that of Roade resident Alvin Barby.  Our next publication CUTTING REMARKS The Story of Roade’s railways and Cutting through the ages is almost ready for print. See here for more information.

Oral History Interviews

Click the poster above to open a larger version in a new window

Since 2007 we have been interviewing local residents as part of our Oral History project and we have made these available for purchase on CD.
The interviews each last about an hour (though some are much longer) and can make excellent gifts. Income from these sales helps us to fund our various projects and exhibitions.
For more information about the interviews please email

Recent Events

(Earlier events can now be viewed on this link:Earlier events

8th December 2021

Christmas event

Ron Johnson entertained us well with interesting old films of Northampton and Roade, a selection of photos from our archive and a film of the celebration of Sam and Lucy’s first ten years at Roade Post Office. All will miss them when they retire next year.
We then joined Roade Choir in the church for carol singing. The Choir sang beautifully and we all enjoyed listening and joining in. Many thanks to all involved for a very happy evening.

27th October 2021

The Best Burglar in the County
Joan Wake and The Northamptonshire Record Society

We were enthralled by local author Neil Lyon’s very entertaining talk about Joan Wake, who founded the Northamptonshire Record Society in 1920 and saved Delapre Abbey from demolition. She became known as ‘the Best Burglar in the County’ because of her success in extracting records from aristocratic families and rarely taking ‘No’ for an answer. Neil described her as a cross between Margaret Thatcher and Margaret Rutherford and brought her to life by quoting from her notes, letters and diary entries.
Information about the book is available from Neil Lyon, 07712 129914

22nd September 2021

‘Horton Hall - one of Northamptonshire's lost Country Houses’

Maureen Williams gave us a fascinating talk about Horton Hall and some of its most distinguished owners and occupants. The Hall was demolished in 1936 but we were able to follow its history and see how it changed and developed thanks to the illustrations Maureen has managed to collect during years of dedicated research.

28th July 2021

AGM and ‘Down Memory Roade’

We were delighted that so many members and guests were able to attend our first event after lockdown and there was a very happy atmosphere.  Alastair Inglis stood down as Chairman after being a leading member of the Committee since the beginning in 2005, including 11 years as Secretary and two and a half years as Chairman. Sheila Fitchett presented him with a book of photos taken at Society events over the years. Fortunately he has agreed to stay on the Committee and the Society will be in safe hands as Chris Hillyard was elected as Chairman.

Next we enjoyed a very entertaining trip ‘Down Memory Roade’.  Memories of Roade residents past and present put together by Ron Johnson were read by our talented acting team (including members of the Every Brothers cast) and illustrated with slides.  Many thanks to all concerned.

Due to the Covid pandemic, no events took place between March 2020 and June 2021.

26th February 2020

In the Thick of it:
Northampton’s contribution to the Best Possible Health Care for the Nation

Roade resident Dr Andrew Jeffrey is a Consultant at Northampton General Hospital and gave us a fascinating talk about the history of local health care.

We were amazed to hear about the medical advances and innovations which have taken place in Northampton since the first Infirmary in George Row opened in 1744.

The innovations are continuing and it was very encouraging to hear that the outlook is good and NGH is developing links with several universities.

18th January 2020
Members’ New Year Lunch at Roade Bowls Club

Martin Brown and his team provided an excellent carvery plus a choice of three delicious puddings.  This worked very well with people able to choose what they wanted on the day and help themselves to coffee, tea and chocs. 

There were two quizzes (one using photographs taken by our late founder, Bill Hudson) and three entertaining readings by Nigel Elliott, Chris Hillyard and Marian Barber.  Marian also provided the lovely flower arrangements.  Many thanks to them, to all who gave raffle prizes and to Roade Bowls Club for their help and support.

A good time was had by all and we look forward to another happy afternoon next January.


11th December 2019
Christmas Cheer

Our Christmas event was very enjoyable and we were delighted to welcome the Bill Hudson Photographic Competition winners and their families and Roade Community Choir.
Those who missed the wonderful Every Brothers Play in November were able to see an exhibition about them and we all applauded author Ron Johnson.

Peter Mawby gave an excellent presentation about the Photographic Competition
and presented the winners with their prizes. 
The judges didn't know who the photographers were and it turned out that
1 person had 3 winning photos and 3 people had 2 winning photos.

Bill Hudson Photographic Competition winners:
L-R Stuart Brough, Sam and Toby Brough (joint winners of children’s competition),
Les Shrubb, John Farebrother, Alan Atkinson, Hilary Rowe and children, Stuart Shrubb

Alastair Inglis entertained us with his
experiences 'Rallying from London to Peking'.

Carol singing led by Roade Community Choir
Many thanks to them all for
such a joyful end to the evening.

Royal Canadian Air Force
Roade Local History Society has installed a small memorial to commemorate six Canadian airmen who lost their lives when their Wellington bomber was struck by lightning over Roade in 1944.

Full Circle - connecting people with the screen heritage of the Midlands.

Tucked away in boxes in attics and sheds,cupboards and garages are the filmed records of families and communities which are a uniquely important window into our local and community history. The Media Archives for Central England (MACE), the regional moving image archive for the East and West Midlands, is seeking 60 partner organisations to look for this valuable material in their own communities as part of a project to find and uncover the hidden filmed heritage of the midlands. The project will provide new copies of film for depositors and for community use in local schools, community archives and local collections. It will ensure the long term preservation of the materials found so that it can go on being used by future generations. Roade Local History Society has received several films that qualify for free copying for the owners. We will be holding a film show in the New Year, but meantime would welcome talking to anyone who has potentially suitable films that they may no longer be able to view and would like converted to DVD.  This covers films of such things as public events, shows, gatherings, scenes, etc in Northamptonshire, but does not include films of holidays or family.

If anyone has film that should be preserved or you would like copying to DVD, please contact our Secretary (see the Contacts page

We are building a comprehensive archive of photographs and documents about Roade for research and publication. To date we have produced 'Roade Roll of Honour’, ‘Roade Through The Camera’ and 'Roade Village Scrapbook 1953' and now 'Cutting Remarks The Story of Roade's Railways and Cutting through the Ages'. See our Publications page for more information about these.

We have been organising events related to local history since May 2005. These normally cover Roade and its environs and sometimes the wider county. A feature of events has been 'Sons and Daughters of the Village": presentations by residents, past and present, who have created  history in their lifetime or have interesting reminiscences about their life in Roade. Events normally take place every month (except August) and start at 7.30pm in St Mary's Church Hall, unless otherwise stated. Non-members are very welcome. Entry is £3.00 per person for non-members or £2.00 for members and refreshments are available.
Talks may be subject to change if necessary.
For details of our next event, please see What's On or Roade News or the Notice Boards around Roade.