I had hoped to have delivered this in person at our Annual General Meeting scheduled for 8th April but, as you are aware, we have had to cancel this due to the impact of the Corona virus. At this moment our plans are to hold the AGM before our scheduled meeting at the East India Club on 18th November. Given the length of time before I see many of you, I thought an update would be welcome.
2019 was a good year for the Association. Our Journal continued to have a wealth of stimulating articles. We ran more events for members than ever before, and it was a great pleasure for me to see so many of you at our event at Apsley House in November. I am pleased that the meetings held regionally had such good attendance, particularly with such a large proportion of our membership living outside London and the South East. The events and Journal are key to both retaining members and encouraging fellow enthusiasts to join us, For the first time we have over 600 members, a 7% increase on the previous year. This is no mean feat as other historical associations are, regrettably, seeing a reduction in their membership. Financially, as you will see from the Accounts, we are in a strong position with an increase in reserves on the previous year.
There is a story that when Harold Macmillan was asked what threw governments off course he replied “Events, Dear Boy, Events”. This may be apocryphal but is very true of where we are at the moment. So far, we have had to cancel a number of events including our weekend conference at Higham and the AGM. It is impossible to say when life will return to normal. So, it is pleasing to mention a major online development whereby we have, at the request of Robert Burnham, taken over the major Napoleonic research site “The Napoleon Series” which we have now released. The site contains over 20,000 articles, books, maps, images and primary source material on our period. Something of interest surely for everyone.
It only remains for me to thank the officers of the Association and the regional co-ordinators, all volunteers, who so willingly give up their time and without whom none of this would be possible.