Colin Wicken, M.A., F.C.P. (1928-1999)

by John Dixon

Founding Editor of the Bulletin of the Tewkesbury Historical Society

As our founding editor, Colin Wicken was evidently a Historian by instinct and talent but, surprisingly, not by training! He graduated in Modern Languages and, for almost forty years, graced the teaching profession, being sometime Headmaster. During his long career, he was also a Scout Leader for over thirty years and was awarded the Scout Association’s Medal of Merit and Bar.

It was my privilege to meet Colin and his wife Anne after they had made the decision to retire and to live in Tewkesbury. They were very much a team and Anne’s enthusiastic personality did much, in conjunction with Colin, to enable our Society to thrive from its inception in 1991.

The Society benefited from so much of Colin’s time, talent and enthusiasm. He took his turn to be Secretary for three years whilst he was also Editor of the Bulletin, a role which he made his own for the first eight Bulletins to be published. In the early days, it was very much a ‘DIY’ production with all hands being required to collate and staple the first editions. Subsequently, technology has removed much of the drudgery (but also deprived us of the communal joy of shared undertakings). What has been a constant factor in the success of the Bulletin, however, has been Colin’s delightful mastery of the English language, which has ensured that, not only is our Bulletin rigorous and informative historically, but it is also very clearly and elegantly edited. Colin also possessed another invaluable editorial attribute: he was a master of diplomacy so that the most recalcitrant of contributors had no choice but to wilt before his gentle but steadfast will.

He was so delighted when an independent panel of judges awarded him the first Woodard Award for the outstanding quality of his article 77 Barton Street. Altogether he wrote eight articles covering a wide variety of subjects, which have contributed so much to the increase in our knowledge of our beloved town, which was the aim that united all the founding members.

Anne has graciously agreed that each year the Society should award the Colin Wicken Bursary to the A. Level student from Tewkesbury School who wrote an article of research published in the Bulletin. Colin may have spent his career in the private sector but I was always delighted with the interest that he and Anne exhibited in the work of young Historians at the local state comprehensive school. Thus it is most fitting that Colin’s personality and contribution to the Society should be remembered in this way - by benefiting and encouraging the young to share his love of Local History.

The Society unites in sending Anne and their daughter, Sally, our deepest condolences along with our grateful appreciation for the inspired foundation which he bequeathed to this Society via the Bulletin. 

Bulletin articles by Colin Wicken
The Canalisation of the SevernBulletin No 2 (1993)
A Singular CharacterBulletin No 3 (1994)
The Tewkesbury LibrariesBulletin No 4 (1995)
77 Barton StreetBulletin No 5 (1996)
A Soldier of the QueenBulletin No 5 (1996)
A Very Useful Class of MenBulletin No 6 (1997)
A Glimpse of Victorian TewkesburyBulletin No 7 (1998)
Reluctant Travellers : the 1831 TransporteesBulletin No 8 (1999)
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