Why join Friends of St Helena?
About our members
The Society serves the needs of the many people who are interested in St Helena. Some of our members were born on the island or can trace their ancestry from there. A number arrived as visitors and were struck by the unique qualities of this isolated island while others were lucky enough to be contracted to work there for a few years. We have members who are attracted by the island’s extraordinary history and one-time strategic importance to the East India Company and British government, by its fascinating volcanic geology, spectacular scenery or by its fauna and unsurpassed variety of endemic species.
What we do
- We hold two meetings a year. Our AGM usually takes place at the Friends Meeting House in Oxford in June and our autumn meeting at the Victory Services Club, Marble Arch, London. At the meetings, we invite speakers on a range of subjects relevant to St Helena and we also show films. They allow members to meet one another socially, renew old acquaintances and meet new friends with a common interest.
- We publish The St Helena Connection twice a year. This is a news magazine and presents a wide range of articles about the island such as the new airport, tourism, heritage projects, its geology, ecology, communications and so forth.
- Wirebird is published once a year and its articles focus on all aspects of St Helena’s history ranging from its discovery through to events in the last century. Several articles published over the past couple of decades have thrown light on little known areas of the island’s past and led to several important revisions of its history.
- As part of your membership you will receive printed copies of both The St Helena Connection and Wirebird and in addition access through the website (using a password) to electronic versions of both publications dating back to 2006 and 1990 respectively. Non-members can see complete and detailed cumulative indexes of both magazines.
- The Society have also published a number of social-historical books under the Wirebird imprint, ranging from Trevor Hearl’s collection of articles about the island (St Helena Britannica), full details of how the island was governed in 1834 and the change in governance from the EIC to the Crown (A Precarious Livelihood - St Helena 1834: East India Company Outpost to Crown Colony) and Colin Fox’s history of St Helena’s slaves (A Bitter Draught: St Helena and the Abolition of Slavery). All these books are available at a reduced price to members.
- The Society supports local projects such as the development of a Museum of St Helena and we expect soon to engage in a major funding exercise for the proposed Cultural Centre in conjunction with the island's Heritage Society.
A considerable amount of information is available on our website. The most vital pages are limited to paid-up members after they have logged in with their username and password.
- Our St Helena Ancestors pages allow members to research their St Helenian ancestry. The information is derived from 24 different databases created by Dr Chris and Sheila Hillman since 2015 and work is in hand to introduce additional databases. The full set of information includes baptisms, marriages, burials, cemeteries, military records and the names of people mentioned in some of the most important books about St Helena. The information dates back to the year 1680 and numbers over 57,000 records and about 110,000 names. For privacy reasons, only century-old data is made available, with more released as each year passes. All users can run initial searches but only signed-in members can see the full genealogical details.
- In addition to giving access to back copies of our magazines, the website provides links to a variety of other St Helena-related sites, books, statistics, reports and other information about the island.