Our History

In the beginning, Meon Valley DFAS had a very long waiting list, so they approached a couple of their members and asked them if they would start a new Society in the Fareham area.  Sally Drummond, who is still an active member of Solent DFAS, got together with several friends on 3rd February 1983 and a committee began to take shape.  Mhairi Barras agreed to chair the new Society and the new Committee each contributed £10 to make up the starting capital of £210 which included the Committee members' subscriptions!

The new Society was approved by NADFAS on 7th March 1983 and named The Solent DFAS on that day.  Setting up the Society took a further 7 months of hard work by 11 members of the steering committee, who had guidance and help from 2 neighbouring societies Meon Valley and Petersfield.  Nonetheless, it was a nerve-wracking time as there was a hall to find, a projector and screen to be bought, members to collect, Society rules to be formulated and not least of all, a programme of lectures, outings, study days and special events to be arranged.  The inaugural meeting date was set for Tuesday, 25th October 1983 and, most importantly, people were required to join!  By the time of the first meeting, however, the membership was 242 - with a waiting list.  The membership today totals 270 and we have around 60 people on the Associate list.

Titchfield Community Centre was chosen as the most suitable meeting place, and the projector and screen were finally purchased with the help of a generous donation of £250 from Marconi Underwater Systems in Portsmouth.  The Committee advertised the Society amongst friends and soon the number of members rose with numbers only being limited by the size of the hall and fire regulations.  This is still the case today.

The first meeting - on 25th October 1983 - was a complete success with Judith Waples, Vice Chairman of NADFAS, giving a charming welcome to the new Society.  The first lecturer was Ian Pickford who gave an excellent lecture on silver, which was received with great enthusiasm by the near capacity audience.  Ian Pickford is still lecturing and has returned to Solent a few times since 1983.  Highlights of the earlier days were the Area Day hosted by Solent at Fort Brockhurst on 25th March 1986; the English Heritage Day at Portchester Castle; the trips to Bruges in March 1986 and Florence in March 1988.

The Chairmen over the years include Jenny Rampling, Diane Morgan-Harris, Heather Stewart, Jill Hamilton-Rump, Julie Whitehead, Jackie Wyatt and Louise Ashton, many of whom are still regular attendees. It is a good testament to the thriving nature of Solent for 35 years; ever since its beginnings it seems to have been very popular.