Calleva Stickdressers started life as a small informal group of keen amateur stick makers who, in the late 80s–early 90s, ‘joined forces’ while attending stick dressing classes run by Alan Bateman a nationally recognised exponent of the craft. They called themselves ‘The Reading and Andover Group’ which reflected the two towns in which the group members lived. By 1997 the membership had grown in response to the various activities and workshops carried out by the group. Members were now from a much wider area and it became clear that a new name was required in addition to a more formal set-up. Thus was born Calleva Stickdressers. The name comes from the Roman town of Silchester and this was chosen as it was pretty well in the centre of the much wider area from which members now came and in addition was not a reference to any particular town. A committee was formed and a constitution adopted.
The objects of the group are to promote and encourage the craft of stick making (walking sticks, crooks & thumbsticks etc )
Calleva, with a current membership of around 50 from Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Buckinghamshire and Sussex, now has a very full programme throughout the year with demonstrations of stickmaking at a variety of country shows, regular workshops at which newer members and novices are helped and encouraged, and various social events.