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  Our Beginnings  

Betty Dickson came to live in Desford in 1945. Over time she began to investigate Desford’s past.  Rev. Fuller, Rector of St. Martin’s Church let her look at Parish Registers dating back to 1559 as well as old books, a bible, and many papers all in poor condition, some dating back to the 17th century.

1986 DDLHS Members

Betty approached the then county archivist Dr. Charles Thompson and they persuaded Rev. Fuller to send the books and papers to the Record Office for repair. This was duly completed, and it was decided to hold an exhibition so that village residents could see what had been found. 

  • Village residents, Kathy Smith (later Emmerson) and Molly O’Connor helped to collect additional material.  The Exhibition was held in the Miners’ Institute (now the Village Hall) which encouraged people to bring along more material. 

  • Another exhibition was held in 1953 and more followed.  Residents donated more items. Scrapbooks were started. Betty, Kathy, Molly, and many more undertook research at Leicestershire Record Office.  

  • These records became the start of the archives we have today. They have had several ‘homes’ over the years but are currently stored in a large cupboard at Sport in Desford.  The current archivists continue to index new material and enter all records onto a computer database. 

  • An exhibition held in 1981 led to the formation of Desford and District Local History Society in 1982. 

  • Betty Dickson left Desford in 1959 but continued to be involved for many more years.
    The above notes are taken from a talk given to the society AGM 1992 by its then President, Betty Dickson, aged 85. 

Desford & District Heritage Society

The Society was founded by a small group of enthusiastic volunteers. In those days communication among members was by typewritten letter. The first chairperson was Anthony Wessel. The first newsletter, in 1986, was written by Caroline Wessel (our current President) and can be seen in the newsletter archive page.

Times change: email has been our main means of communication for some time.  In 2022, we launched this website.


Our Committee

President: Caroline Wessel

Chairman:  Vacancy
Treasurer: Dennis Casson
Secretary: Angela Thomas
Minutes secretary: Pat Crane
Committee members:
Jane Crowson,  Molly Marcus, Lynda Grimshaw, John Richards, Ian Keeling.


Do you have enthusiasm and an interest in learning and sharing the history and heritage of Desford and its surrounding area?  

We welcome new members and would be delighted to hear from people who would like to be actively involved. This could be on the committee, helping to arrange our activities, assisting with research, publicity and much more. (Digital media expertise would be very useful as we move forward).   

Experience not required.  New ideas and suggestions are welcome. 

We have a group of dedicated archivists who look after our extensive archives.  Archive material is used to create displays at village events and occasionally larger exhibitions and, of course, to create this website.  See our online archive


Our talks are held at Desford Free Church, Chapel Lane, LE9 9GE.  

Our AGM is held on the 3rd Tuesday of January at 7.30pm and meetings are every other month thereafter.  You can become a member for an annual fee of £15 or as a visitor pay £4 per meeting. 

For more information please contact us at:

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