Minutes of the 60th Annual General Meeting of the British Agricultural History society held at Sparsholt College, Winchester at 6pm on Tuesday 3rd April 2012
The meeting began at 6.00pm
Present: There were 21 members of the Society present. The Chair was taken by Dr John Broad, Chairman of the Executive Committee. Officers of the Society present were Prof A. J. Howkins (President), Dr N J Verdon (Secretary), Prof R W Hoyle (Editor, Agricultural History Review), Dr H French (Book Review Editor) and Dr H. Crowe (Treasurer). Apologies were received from Marcus Cerman, Brian Phillips, Prof Chris Dyer and Alan Hunter.
548 Minutes of the 59th meeting were approved as an accurate record of the meeting subject to minor amendment.
549 Matters arising from the minutes: Prof Howkins reported that he had spoken with Dr Anne Summers (British Library) and others concerned about government policy regarding the collection of official records. Agricultural records have now been added to that list. Nothing has been heard since this meeting although informal pressure from this group does persist.
A question was asked regarding the recruitment of a more youthful profile to the Society. Dr Broad reported that the number of student numbers has risen this year.
550 Elections of Officers of the Executive committee
The following were nominated and elected unopposed:
President: Prof Alun Howkins
Treasurer: Dr Hilary Crowe
Secretary: Dr Nicola Verdon
Editor: Prof Richard Hoyle
Book Review Editor: Prof Henry French
551 Election of Ordinary members of the Executive committee
2 members of the current EC have served their 4-year term and are eligible for re-election: Dr Jane Whittle, and Dr Anne Meredith. Dr Meredith does not wish to stand again.
2 members of the current EC have served two terms and are not eligible for re-election: Dr Jean Morrin and Prof John Chartres.
3 seats are therefore free. We have received nominations from Prof Karen Sayer (Leeds Trinity) and Dr Clare Griffiths (University of Sheffield) and Dr Nicola Whyte (University of Exeter). These were elected unopposed.
Dr Broad also reported that at this AGM his 3 year term as Chair of the EC will end. Dr Jane Whittle has agreed to take over this position. Dr Broad was thanked for all the work he has done as Chair over the last 3 years.
552 Report by Chairman of the Executive Committee
The Chair reported that 2011-12 had been another busy year for the Society. In July the conference ‘Tawney’s Agrarian Problem 100 Years on’ was held at the University of Exeter. This was a very successful event, and papers from the conference should be published in an edited book in 2013. The Review has published its 2 volumes. Volume II was an extended publication that included an additional 5 papers from Eastern Europe. The extra publishing costs were covered by assistance from the Scouloudi Foundation and the Austrian government.
This year has also seen the transfer of the Treasurer’s office. The new treasurer, Dr Crowe, has had to deal with our new digital access and we now have a new database of institutional members. The Society has also benefitted from a dividend from JSTOR (who take fees from universities) of over $2000. The BAHS website in its present form now run its life and in the very near future we will be launching our new website – Dr Broad is handing over as webmaster to Catherine Glover.
Dr Broad thanked colleagues on the EC and the Officers for their co-operative work over the last three years, and also extended this thanks to general membership of the Society. Dr Jane Whittle will now take over as Chair and will stand down as Winter Conference organiser (she was thanked for organising this over the last decade). Dr Paul Warde will now take over as Winter Conference organiser.
553 Report from the Treasurer
Income and expenditure: the Society had a surplus of c.3,5000, less than last year but there was no gain on our secure investments in the current financial climate and no boost from RH2010. We have benefitted from the increased institutional subscription rate and there has been no major decline in institutional subscription following this rise. The Spring conference last year made a surplus, largely due to the accounting of Easton, and the policy will continue for the Spring conference to break even. The Society has healthy cash reserves, but the Treasurer did point out there were a number of invoices and liabilities outstanding that did not show up on the balance sheet to year end January 31st. On expenditure, we have heard already the one-off increased expense of volume II of the Review. The fee drawn by the Assistant Treasurer was also higher for last year, as the transition of the Treasurer’s office took place and warranted additional work. The projection for next 5 years was good, with the Society able to fulfil objectives to its members and to its charitable status.
Membership: Numbers have been updated this year, which accounts for a decline in individual members. We now know who our individual subscribers are (468, c.30 overseas); 326 institutions take our journal.
The Treasurer was asked if the JSTOR income will become a regular occurrence. She responded this was not entirely clear yet, and it will be a fluctuating amount. The Treasurer was also asked if the Society was giving any money towards RH2013. The EC had previously agreed that if there was a surplus from RH2010 we could donate some of this towards the next conference – but the amount will only be decided if and when we are approached. The minutes of the 132nd EC (Sept 2010) recorded the decision to provide funds to pump prime the EHURO organisation, but not the conference. Officers to discuss when approached by EHURO.
The accounts were formally approved.
The independent examiner Zoe Crumbie was reappointed.
354 Report from the Editors
Essay competition: This attracted an international field of submissions. The 3 judges, Prof Chris Dyer, Prof Leen von Molle and Prof Doug Hurt, were all thanked for their time and expertise. The judges unanimous agreed that the best paper was Johann Custodis (LSE/Warwick on the contribution of POW labour to English agriculture in WWII); second prize was awarded to Jonathan Healey (Oxford, on the politics of commons in early modern England) and third prize to Rebecca Woods (MIT, on the development of the frozen lamb and mutton trade from NZ in the late 19th century). A presentation will be made to the first prize winner at the evening reception.
Volume 59: I and II have appeared. Part II is an extended volume with 5 additional European papers, which raised our profile in Europe. Depending on income stream future extended volumes may appear. Vol 60 Part I is in press and will appear in the summer. In general article submissions have been steady, with an increasing number from European-based authors, and the editor encouraged submissions from medieval/early modern scholars.
Thanks were expressed to Book Review editor, Prof Henry French, and to Catherine Glover for copy editing. Those who have acted as referees over the past year were also thanked.
The Review Editor was thanked by the Chair for all his hard work during the year, especially given the extra workload that the extended volume necessitated.
355 Any other business
Dr Susanna Wade Martins was thanked by the Chair for her work on Rural History Today, which continues to attract considerable attention.
Thanks were also expressed to Prof Chartres, Dr Morrin and Dr Meredith who leave the EC at this AGM.
Gavin Bowie was thanked for his help with organising the fieldtrip for this conference.
Prof Howkins reported on the demise of the Agricultural Wages Board.
Dr Wade Martins thanked authors of article in RHT, and encouraged everyone to submit articles in the future, especially those with broad chronology and geographical spread.
Catherine Glover, the new webmaster, introduced the new Society website which will be going live shortly. It will now be easier to search for individual articles in past volumes; new author/title search tools have been added; as have PDFs of RHT. She asked for submission of photographs and news stories by members. In the future there may be a move to online joining for new members, and the possibility of Facebook and twitter feeds.
556 Date of next meeting
Tuesday April 9th 2013