Purpose of the Recorders

The Local History Recorders scheme originated in Sussex in the 1950s, and was taken up by other counties including Essex and promoted initially by the Community Council of Essex. It evolved, however, into an autonomous body, albeit linked to the Essex Congress. The size of Essex made it difficult for far-flung Recorders to keep in touch, and so in 1998 the Essex Recorders decided to set up branches in each district including Uttlesford. In 2003 it became a fully constituted organisation with the aims to record the present, and to ensure that valuable archives and artefacts of the past are not destroyed. This can imclude: chronicling current events; reporting heritage finds; preserving and copying documents and photographing artefacts; being a history adviser, returning information to the community; keeping in touch with heritage bodies; being guardians of local heritage.

The majority of the 57 parishes in Uttlesford are represented by a Recorder and we would welcome others to join RUH, either as Recorders of, if time is limited, as village contacts. Typical projects can include: publishing books, pamphlets and articles on village history, oral history interviews, transcription of village archives, exhibitions, pageants and plays, surveys, photographs, school projects, guided tours, answering queries. Recorders are volunteers and like everyone else have limited time, so in practice they tailor the role to their individual interests and resources. But whatever they do, Recorders play a vital role, as the preservation and communication of historical knowledge is a vital part of our sense of identity and well-being, our willingness to raise funds for village causes and, when necessary, to provide evidence and give confidence to speak out in defence of threatened heritage.

RUH helps Local History Recorders in various ways with advice, with an email network of support and a website for publicising local historical information, with encouraging annual reports to be sent to the ERO, and in seeking new Recorders. RUH has close links to Saffron Walden Museum, the Gibson Library and Essex Record Office. Recorders are encouraged to work closely with their local parish councils and local history societies. The RUH is run by a committee, currently Jacqueline Cooper (District Co-ordinator & Clavering Recorder), Deborah Lowe (Treasurer & Wicken Bonhunt Recorder), Ray Franklin (Elsenham Recorder), David Evans (Newport Recorder) and Jules Wallis (Felsted Recorder), with Peter Upson as webmaster.