A tribute to a Campden resident

By Frank Johnson.

In memory of a Campdonian a bench seat has been installed at the entrance to Court Barn.

It commemorates the life of Allan Warmington, a native of Chipping Campden and a founder Trustee of the Guild of Handicraft Trust. It has been funded by his family in what would have been his centenary year. It is a fitting tribute.

Visitors, and perhaps many residents, may wonder who was Allan?

Allan Warmington was born in Broad Campden, December 1922 and died in hospital at Gloucester January 2007.

Allan’s father Joe worked on his own account as a builder and cabinet maker and, after becoming a father, built the house at Westington Corner, Sheep Street, Chipping Campden as his own family home.  At the other end of Sheep Street Joe’s brother Harry Warmington, Allan’s uncle, worked alongside George Hart as a silversmith in the Silk Mill.

For 20 years Harry taught silversmithing at the Campden School of Arts and Crafts. 

Allan was not a maker of things but pursued a successful academic career in the fields of Economics and Management, spending several years researching industrial relations in West Africa during the 1950s, then as a researcher and lecturer at London School of Economics and later in Manchester before retiring in 1983.

In retirement he returned with his wife Charmian to live in the family home at Westington Corner becoming involved with the work and development of the Campden and District Historical and Archaeological Society (CADHAS since renamed CCHS).  In 2005 Allan was the main Editor as well as business manager for the CADHAS-published book “Campden: A New History”.

Allan and Charmian Warmington

Visit the CCHS website to see the results of his other work.

In 1988, the centenary of the establishment of Ashbee’s School and Guild of Handicraft, CADHAS and the Campden Society combined to celebrate the occasion by staging a weekend event. The event was a great success attracting visitors from all parts of this country as well as from abroad. It stimulated action leading to the establishment of the Guild of Handicraft Trust (GoHT) not only to celebrate Ashbee but also the other designers and makers who had achieved national and international reputations working in the north Cotswolds. Work which was ongoing.

The initial difficulty was that all the proponents of the idea were outsiders and in order to meet anticipated opposition an insider with unquestionable support and enthusiasm for the project was needed.  As a highly respected native of Campden Allan Warmington provided the link with the community.

As a founder Trustee Allan helped develop a Trust Deed leading to Charitable status being granted, January 1992.

Allan worked tirelessly as a Trustee and Treasurer during the early period at the Silk Mill as the GoHT endeavoured to find a suitable premises for its work. The opportunity came with the Landmark Trust making Court Barn a possibility for development as a museum. Subsequent negotiations and discussions with both the Landmark Trust and the local community were difficult and demanding and the existence of Court Barn as a museum owes much to the commitment of Allan and David Evans, at the time Chairman of the GoHT. Without their persistence, experience and love of and for Campden it is quite possible this Museum would not exist. Unfortunately Allan did not live long enough to see the fruits of his endeavours.

The museum started in the Silk Mill

I miss his presence and sense of humour and share Jenny Blackmore’s response which she made when told about the proposal for a bench seat in his memory: ‘I remember Allan with enormous fondness. And the smell of apples in their kitchen, and the strong feeling of leading a simple life, well spent.’

December 2022