The future of a society that delves into Mansfield’s past could be forced to fold, if fresh members are not found soon.
That is the stark message from the Old Mansfield Society whose membership continues to dwindle.
The group will be celebrating its centenary in 2019, but there is growing uncertainty that the once-popular society will reach the magical milestone.
Like many such clubs and committees, the average age of its members continues to grow and many are forced to drop out through old age.
“The trouble is that we are all in our seventies now,” said Pauline Ashton, who is the president of the Old Mansfield Society.
“We used to have 300 members and we are now down to 30.
“We are under pressure because we don’t have any new members coming forward. It could fold in a few years because of a lack of members.
“If it did fold it would be dreadful, it’s been going since 1919 and was started to help preserve Mansfield.
“We would just like to see it in a more healthy position.”
Key figures in Mansfield held a meeting in the town hall, October 1918, to gauge interest in launching a group to help preserve the past in Mansfield.
Such was the interest, a list of strict rules were devised to limit the membership to those who were born in the town, or had lived there for 25 years.
Even then, the committee would discuss each application before awarding a person membership.
The group’s popularity grew, and by 1964 had more than 430 members.
Collecting old photos, books, manuscripts, diaries and other items of historical interest or importance, the archives are housed at Mansfield Museum on Leeming Street.
So many have been submitted over the years that books have been published by the Old Mansfield Society.
President Pauline Ashton says that items continue to routinely come in, often after people clean out their homes and find a stash of old photographs, postcards or letters.
But the number of potential society members coming forward has not been as regular.
“People think they need to know a lot of history to join, they don’t,” added Pauline.
“You used to have to be proposed but that exclusivity has long gone.
“We would like new members who perhaps would eventually like to join the committee.”
The committee needs nine members, but there are currently only six.
Anyone joining can pay an annual £10 subscription to gain entry the monthly talks, rather than paying £2 on the door each time.
To inquire about joining the society, contact Pauline on 01623 648813.