Today is a Red Letter day as the first time in nearly thirty years that our Hestercombe Newsletter has gone completely digital.
I took the opportunity to delve into our archive where I was delighted to discover that we appear to have all, or nearly all, of our newsletters going back to the very first, dated 1st March 1994.
It informed anyone who was interested that the newly created Friends of Hestercombe was continuing its campaign to dissuade Somerset County Council from selling Hestercombe House and its formal garden which only twenty years before had been restored from virtual dereliction by the same council.
The single sheets of black and white photocopies gradually evolved from one side of A4 to two and by the Winter edition of 1998, a year after the gardens had opened to the public. By then the Newsletter was produced by the garden team and comprised four pages, which included garden reports. It noted that on the 4th October 1998 sixty members had gathered at Dillington House to admire the Warre / Bampfylde portraits recently acquired with Lottery funding by the recently established Hestercombe Gardens Trust.
More change occurred in the Winter of 2003 when the Newsletter changed from being black and white to two tone blue on glossy white paper with, for the first time, photographs and in the Winter edition of 2005, with the new visitor centre nearing completion, we took the plunge and went to full colour.
Spring of 2019 saw another bold innovation when the newsletter changed its format to that of an eight page, A5 stapled brochure.
Reduced from four editions to two as a result of forced closures during the pandemic, the newsletter is being reinvented once more and will now be published four times a year on a seasonal basis as a fully digital publication with the added facility to include videos. Our monthly digital updates will continue as before as we constantly improve our communication with members while, at the same time, treading more lightly on the earth.
You can find a selection of scans from the Hestercombe newsletter archives here.