Our Society is mourning the death of our President Tavia
Maclean. Tavia joined the Society by chance after going to a series
of talks on Vernacular Architecture in about 1980. Having joined
the Society she became a founder member of the Vernacular Archi-
tecture Group which was setup to research the origins of the town’s
buildings. She became the leader of this group and they re-
searched and produced detailed reports on over 3o historic build-
ings in the town. This in turn led to the recognised history of the
town being re-written For example the”Great Fire of Newport”
was always supposed to have raged near the church but the Group
has proved that it destroyed an area of the town where the High
Street is at its widest.
Tavia’s skill, both as leader of the V. A. Group and as Co-ordinator
of the Society, was to bring together the abilities of individual
members who then felt able to contribute. Their researches led to
the production of many History Society booklets and pamphlets.
The latest is a new edition of our Heritage Trail which she helped
to revise last year.
Another example of her lively mind was when during discussions
about creating and storing digital images Tavia brilliantly came up
with the name SNAP – Shropshire Newport Archive Photographs.
More than 35 years on and up to a few weeks ago she was still
encouraging people to help with research from her sick bed. She
was pleased with the return of our Archives from Harper Adams’
University to Newport and their recent move. She was excited with
the growth of our Heritage Centre and with all the work of our field
archaeology group. In spite of the fact that she could not see she
could still use the telephone to discuss her thoughts on local histo-
ry with family, friends and members of our Society.