John Isherwood’s interest in archives and local history date back to the 1970s when his Andover solicitor’s practice deposited at HRO a very large accumulation of old deeds, maps and documents. When Andover Local Archives Committee evolved into the present Andover History & Archaeology Society, he was its first chairman. In turn this led to an invitation to join Freddie Emery-Wallis’s working group that set up HAT in 1986. John was a trustee from then and later from 1991, for ten years its chairman. In 1995 he returned to Oxford University as a part-time student and was awarded a Master’s degree in English Local History in 1997 as preparation for further research in retirement and the enjoyment of frequent visits to HRO and other archives. One result was the publication of a Hampshire Paper in 2015 and earlier this year a history of Penton Mewsey, near Andover, which has been his home for the past 51 years.
In the 1950s John did short spells of voluntary work in Europe, including Poland, the Soviet Union and after a post-graduate year in California, in Japan and India. This motivated him to become a staff member of Voluntary Service Overseas for five years, at the end of which he was invited to become a trustee of Oxfam until 2001 and through which he had also become a founder trustee and later, chairman, of the charity WaterAid. In the same year he was awarded a CMG for services to Oxfam and overseas development