Olney & District Historical Society (ODHS) was founded in 1997 by a group of like-minded people determined to keep Olney history alive for all generations of people in the town and for those who have since moved away.

The Society closed at the end of 2019 and terminated its visits to places of historical interest and its monthly history talks. However, the Society’s website, developed over the past 20 years, continues to share the rich history of the area.

Some Highlights from the website:

Roman Pottery 325-400 AD

A Chronological History of Olney – A general outline of Olney’s history through the ages can be gained from the summary followed by detailed sections covering six periods of history.

Arthur Timperley c.1890

Family History – Research earlier generations of family and friends who may have had associations with Olney using the unique ODHS family history data base that also provides details of their residential addresses.

The Bull Hotel – 1950s

Olney Heritage Trails – The trails available include:

  • Olney High Street
  • The Market Place
  • A Lace Walk around Olney
  • Cowper’s Rural Walks
  • John Newton’s Olney Walk

For some trails you can select your personal software preference, or even choose a video presentation.

Sowman shop front– c.1910

4 In Depth History Features:

  • The history of past Olney businesses, such as Sowmans, Garners or Olney Roller Mills
  • Local historian Elizabeth Knight’s researches into lace making and Olney’s 18C & 19C schools
  • Olney’s Social History Post WW2 or Tom Garner’s First World War Diary on the Eastern Front
Olney Railway Station – 1962

History Articles – These articles cover a broad range of subjects including:

The history of Olney Convent School (1906 to 1956)
LMS Railway: Northampton-Olney-Bedford
Olney’s Electric Cinema
The Olney Ruffhead family
Charlie Mynard’s WW11 schooldays

Unveiling the War Memorial 1921

The War Memorial – Details of the men from Olney who lost their lives during the First and Second World Wars whilst serving in the Armed Services and whose names are recorded on the Olney War Memorial.

The ODHS remains a member of the Milton Keynes Heritage Association.

The Society was renamed in 2020 to ‘Olney & District History Society’ to reflect the more limited nature of its scope. Incidentally, the society never did possess the resources to develop its own archive.

Mike Neale for ODHS
October 2020

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Our Museum building remains CLOSED.  We are opening our gardens on limited entry.  The Cowper & Newton Museum gardens will be open to welcome you on Wednesday 5th August 10.30 – 12.15 and Saturday 8th August 10.30 – 12.15

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