Most important facts about Prior to Now Trust

Our history

Prior to Now, started when Richard Hill began to research in what year his house on Combe Down was built. He had some deeds but had never really done anything with them.

As he began his research, he realized it would be interesting to learn more about the people who lived in the house.

Since it is connected to others in the block, he decided to investigate those houses and the people associated with them.

This led him to explore other buildings that were constructed around the same time. Before he knew it, the project expanded to include the entire Combe Down area. However, he didn’t plan on examining every single house because that would be overwhelming!

From the beginning, he wanted to let the people and the times they lived in speak for themselves as much as possible. He relied on images, words, and newspaper reports to tell their stories. Although the quality of some of these sources isn’t great, they still provide a unique glimpse into the language and attitudes of the time, which adds a lot of atmosphere to the project.

He also decided to approach the research in 50-year segments. This allowed him to explore the history of Combe Down, its people, buildings, and institutions, as well as provide some historical context for the world at large.

Within these segments, he covered the entire history in most cases, rather than spreading it out across different chapters. However, there were some instances where certain information fit better in different places, so he included it accordingly.

For each person, he tried to create a brief overview of their life. However, it was easier to find information on some individuals than others. In some cases, it felt like they were just “ghosts” with no information available, at least based on his research. It’s possible that he simply hasn’t looked hard enough, though.

Along with his research on Ancestry into his own family’s history, it led him to start a family tree or maze for the area. It grew to cover approximately 17,000 people, about half of whom lived on the down.

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A Facebook group was started and grew to approximately 1,500 members, which it is hoped will evolve into a TrustMembership club.

In September 2024, Richard was told that he had inoperable, terminal pancreatic cancer.

There was and still is a lot of work to be done, and Combe Down Heritage Society agreed to continue the project.

The vision is to create a “Virtual Village” with information about its history, places, and people all available ‘at the click of a mouse’. The image gives a general idea, and it’s hoped that this can be created in such a way that similar one place and genealogy projects may benefit.

What this means is shown in the diagram and, in creating it we want to make sure that the software is freely available to other groups like ours.

Imagine being able to enter the name of an ancestor and being able immediately to find out where and when he lived, what family he had, what he did, how he was related to others in the village, where he’s buried etc. etc

That’s the ‘virtual village’.

All of this, of course, supplemented by a growing body of family history, photos, documents, anecdotes and other historical information.

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The many missions and objectives can be found on the ‘Donate my Time’ page, and it is hoped that volunteers can be found to help progress the project.

Which leaves finance. The project has been a “hobby” for Richard and, as he says, it is less costly than golf or shooting. He has provided an endowment, but generous donors will be needed to complete things.

Our trustees

Trustees are the people responsible for controlling the work, management and administration of the charity.

They strategically oversee the management and administration of the organisation..

They safeguard the charity’s assets – both physical assets, including property, and intangible ones, such as its reputation. They make sure these are used well and that the charity is run sustainably. Trustees have collective responsibility for all actions and decisions. It is important for all trustees to take an active role in the decision-making process and for decisions to be taken according to majority rule.

Trustees must ensure that the charity is run in accordance with its governing document, and in compliance with charity law and all other laws and regulations affecting its remit. The law imposes a duty of care on charity trustees. This means that they must exercise such care and skill as is reasonable in the circumstances. It is a fundamental principle of charity law that charity trustees (and those “connected” to trustees) must not receive benefit from the charity.

In addition to laws and regulations, all charities must be operated for public benefit.

Charities raise funds through a variety of activities, including soliciting donations, applying for grant funding, selling products or services, holding fundraising events and investing surplus funds. Our trustees are responsible, for example, in being in contact with important local organisations such as Bath Preservation Trust, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary and others to find suitable patrons and sponsors.

Our trustees are:

Margaret Hill

I made Combe Down my home in June 1984 with my husband, Richard.

We have brought up our family here: our two children, several dogs and cats and now it is the second home of our 3 grandchildren.

I cannot imagine living anywhere else.

I have supported Richard’s passion for local history for 15 years or so and now hope to do him justice as he passes on the baton”.

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Margaret Hill

Tim Lunt

Tim is a retired IT analyst who has lived on Church Road in Combe Down for 37 years.

He has a particular interest in local archaeology and has been involved in various projects around Bath.

Most recently he was at Prior Park excavating Ralph Allen’s Bath House and the Bason pool of the original garden.

A member of the Combe Down Heritage Society for many years, he is looking forward to taking Prior to Now onwards.

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Tim Lunt

Paul Reed

Paul is Bath born and has lived in the City all his life.

A background in Accounting, now retired, he is a Trustee of the Prior to Now Trust.

He is Hon. Treasurer and a Trustee of the Combe Down Heritage Society since January 2021.

He also assists with the Archiving of artefacts and documents for the Society.

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Paul Read

Simon Caldwell

Simon has lived in Bath for 36 years, the last 8 of which have been in Combe Down.

After qualifying in physics and astronomy he had a career in IT within the space industry and also in the City of London.

He is a Trustee of the Heritage Society and CDHS Membership Secretary.

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Simon Caldwell

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