Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held in the Chief Librarian’s Meeting Room, Manchester Central Library on 23th April 2016.
The President, Thomas Woodcock, CVO, DL, BA, LLB, FSA, Garter Principal King of Arms took the chair to commence the meeting at 1pm.
Present: Council Members Alan Kenwright (Hon General Editor), Jackie Roberts (Hon Treasurer & Membership Secretary), Tom O’Brien, Simon Oliver, John Dalton, Dr John Perkins, Dr Colin Rogers, Rev Tom Steel, Ken Taylor, Douglas Wilson, Neil Hudson (Hon Secretary), Jennifer Holt, Malcolm Parr, Jacquie Crosby, and other members, Alan Powell & Pat Parr.
The President opened the meeting by warmly welcoming all to the meeting.
- Apologies for absence were received from Kevin Bolton, Lynne Klein, Jill Drabble, Tony Foster & Paula Matthews.
- The minutes of the 2014 AGM were accepted and approved.
- Matters arising:
- Item 10 – AGM Minutes, 5April 2014: Malcolm Parr confirmed that he had spoken with Ben Alexander regarding the data file of the demography of C16th & C17, & stated that the file was extremely large & used a language/program which was incompatible with LPRS systems. He recommended that do not take this matter further. Agreed
- Donations to fund future publications: Neil Hudson confirmed that an appeal had been made in a 2015 Newsletter, without attracting any response. Further appeals will be included in future Newsletters. Item closed.
- Apprentice Editor: Neil Hudson confirmed that the two previous Newsletters had sought volunteers to become proficient in the editing process leading to the publication of volumes or CDs. No response had been received, & the appeal will be repeated in one or more future Newsletters. Action: Neil Hudson
- Honorary Treasurer & Membership Secretary’s Reports: Membership. The reports had been previously circulated. Jackie Roberts presented an analysis of membership changes noting the continuing decline in subscriptions, the 371 private members in 2014 having reduced to 361 at 31 December 2015, down to 336 members in April 2016 (334 paying members). During the same period, Institutional members reduced from 79 to 66 in April 2016. The collection of unpaid subscriptions continued to be a major problem.
The provision of free volumes to Lancashire Libraries had continued, but these had never reached the libraries & had been subsequently lost. It transpired that such donations were not allowed to be accepted by libraries as the book cataloguing had been outsourced to a private company. The practice of providing such volumes has now ceased.
The Hon. Treasurer suggested that subscriptions stay at the present levels in the present financial climate where renewals are not good, & despite the efforts to attract new members, numbers remain at a low level as there appeared to be little incentive for them to join.
Treasurer’s Report: Analysis of the Statement of Receipts and Payments showed that the deficits of the past three years had given way to a small surplus in 2015. There were no grants or legacies during the year, but our President had donated £400 from the sale of First Day Covers. During the year, CD sales declined by 34%, and volumes by 18%, although the latter may have been affected by the closure of Parish Chest during the period of its transfer of ownership. Overall sales, however, increased by 72% due to the sale of out of print volumes (donated by Manchester University + those purchased from the estate of Ron Smith).
The total assets of the Society stood at £71.220 in December 2015, which had increased to £72,623 at the time of the AGM.
Dr Rogers raised the question of pricing the old volumes. Malcolm Parr stated that red covered volumes sold at £12, green at £20, confirming that all sales had been to existing members. Malcolm also stated that he had a waiting list from members for many out of print volumes. It was suggested at the meeting that prices for scarce volumes, 68 to 91, might be reviewed.
The meeting unanimously accepted the Treasurer’s Reports (copies appended). There being no other financial matters, the President thanked the Hon Treasurer for her reports & her hard work during the past year.
- Hon General Editor’s Report: Alan Kenwright presented his written report, circulated at the meeting (copy appended). During 2015, the Society had published Volume 183 (Manchester Cathedral 1666-1700), Volume 184 (St Helens 1813-1841) & Volume NC8 (Rainford 1813-41). Volume 185 (Dalton in Furness 1813-37; Broughton in Furness 1673-1721, & 1813-37; Walney 1744-1841) had been published earlier in the month as the first 2016 volume.
Aughton would be the next volume (as 81A), replacing the original volume 81
Billinge & Upholland available for publication 2016
Church Kirk is hoped to be published in late summer 2016
Wigan 1785-1800 & 1801-1812, would be published during 2016 as a single CD to members, but available as separate CDs to non-members
Ringley 1719-1837 is a potential 2016 volume.
Cartmel 1771-1837 is a potential 2016 volume
Liverpool, St Nicholas 1726-54/60 is a potential 2016 volume
Lancaster Priory with Lancaster St John a potential 2017 volume
Salmesbury, Balderstone & Mellor may be available in 2017
During the subsequent discussion, Tom Steel reminded that he had previously volunteered to seek & obtain parochial permission to publish, & his renewed offer was gratefully accepted by the Hon Editor.
Dr Rogers asked Council if a derogatory comment in a 1724 Ringley entry should be published – this was unanimously agreed by the meeting. Dr Rogers also asked the meeting if the practice of using a copy of a Parish Clerk on Line should be used as a typing master, stating that in doing so it would be carefully edited to correct omissions & errors. This was also agreed by the meeting.
There being no further items, the meeting unanimously accepted the Hon Editor’s Report (copy appended), & the President thanked the Hon Editor for his report & hard work during the past year.
- Sales & Publications Report: Malcolm Parr presented his written report which had been circulated at the meeting, reinforced the comments of the Hon Treasurer, and reviewed the decline in sales during the past four years. Malcolm commented on the importance of the sale of old volumes, stating that those recently purchased had all been sold to members, with an extensive waiting list should further out of print volumes become available. There being no further questions, the meeting unanimously accepted the Report (copy appended), & the President thanked Malcolm for his report & his hard work during the past year.
- Election of Officers: It was proposed by John Perkins, seconded by Colin Rogers, & agreed unanimously that the Officers be re-elected en bloc.
- Election of Council Members: It was agreed unanimously that the existing Council Members be re-elected en bloc. Proposed Neil Hudson – Seconded: Alan Kenwright
- Sale of data to Find My Past: Alan Kenwright presented his written report which had been circulated at the meeting and confirmed the main points in favour of linking with FMP, inviting questions from the meeting. Colin Rogers asked if it would be possible to give the Society’s details, as an advert, whenever any data was sought by individuals. Alan undertook to raise this with Action: Alan Kenwright
Alan stated that he had received written routines to use to facilitate data transfer to FMP, & that he would shortly send sample data to FMP so that our interpretation, & programs, can be checked to ensure accurate data transfer to the spreadsheets involved.
In answer to a further question, it was confirmed that the link to FMP would not affect our charitable status.
There being no further questions, the meeting unanimously agreed to the formal link to FMP. Neil Hudson stated that he would complete & return the contracts to FFHS on behalf of the Society (previously circulated). Action: Neil Hudson
- Nomination of the Independent Examiner: The Hon. Treasurer reported that the appointment of an Independent Examiner was not strictly necessary. Nevertheless, it was agreed unanimously that David Smethurst be asked to continue, along with Douglas Wilson as Auditor.
- Any other business:
- Alan Kenwright invited volunteers from Council to help prepare the data collection for onward transmission to Action: All
- Tom Steel suggested that a independent second person might be profitably used to proof-read manuscripts before publication. Alan Kenwright to follow up. Action: Alan Kenwright
- Tom Steel pointed out that the indexing program was unsuitable for the early volumes unless these were based on MicroSoft Word. Alan Kenwright acknowledged the problem & has found ways to rectify any difficulties.
- Date and time of the next meeting: was proposed by Jacquie Crosby & agreed by the meeting to be held on Saturday 8 April 2017 at Lancashire Record Office, Bow Lane, Preston.
There being no further business, the President thanked all for their attendance, and the meeting closed.