year and lots to do, so to start this years newsletter I would like to
ask for help. If you have any spare time to help with research (start
with your own house or your part of the village) or help with the May
Open Day or making tea at our meetings. Any help at all would be
Now lets look back over the past year. Our first meeting in Feb was our
AGM after the business part of the evening with all the officers being
voted back we had a most interesting and colourful talk by Barry
Kaufmann-Wright on ‘Wildlife in the Garden'. Barry seems to
the most wonderful wildlife photos, we must thank him for sharing these
with us. He must have endless patience.
Bill Hardy came in April his talk ‘The History of Thorley
most interesting to see the old photos of the old post office and of
course the Thorley post mark stamp. At the end Bill presented us with a
post card with a Little Hallingbury post mark. Both Thorley and Little
Hallingbury post marks are rare. Perhaps given todays situation we
should research the history of Little Hallingbury post office. There is
reference to a post office in Little Hallingbury in Kelly's Directory
Anne Padfield came in June and gave us a fascinating talk on
‘Hearth and Homes'. Only the very rich could afford chimneys
rest cooked over an open fire with the smoke escaping through the roof
hence evidence of sooted beams in 15th century houses. With bricks
becoming affordable around 1600 chimneys and bread ovens were built.
In July our speaker was Brian Hilton with a talk titled ‘The
History of Irons'. I must say before the talk I did wonder if this
would be interesting. I need not have worried, what a wonderful
collection I had no idea how many different types of irons there are
both in this country and all over the world. This was both interesting
and most unusual.
Our visit last year was to Ashdon Museum what an excellent collection
this is. An Aladins cave full of local history, set out beautifully.
The evening finished with tea and homemade cakes.
‘London to Cambridge by Waterway' was the talk given by David
Young. This of course is not the straight London to Cambridge as we
know it, but up country across and down to Cambridge. Some very good
navigation was needed in some of the stretches, especially the foot
tunnel, were you lay on your back and push your way through using your
feet on the side of the tunnel.
William Tyler came again this time the talk ‘A War to end all
Wars'. He was highly critical of both politicians and generals for the
lack of relationship between them. William always comes up with a good
Jacqueline Cooper came to tell us all about the excavations around
Clavering Castle. Jacqueline managed to get funding for this project,
but like us there is still much more to do.
We ended the year with our cheese and wine. Our chance to chat about
all our events.
Our main event last year was the Open Day. As well as the display of
our growing collection of history, we had a collection of old tools, a
collection of old household items and this year our vintage tractors
were joined by some beautiful vintage cars.
We hope the speakers this year will be as interesting and entertaining
as last year. We start with our AGM on Monday 11th Feb Anne Padfield on
‘Traditional Essex Houses' The following have been booked for
meetings throughout the year. Jonathan Dick - ‘The Mossman
Carriage Collection'. Lady Diana Kemp-Welsh - ‘A Year as High
Sheriff'. William Tyler - ;Wellington & Napoleon'. John Drury -
‘Essex Workhouses'. Stephen Ruff - ‘Buntingford
Line'. Alan Hart - ‘The Salvation Army'. For next years AGM
have our friend William Tyler again his talk ‘The Saxon
We are still continuing with the idea of a building at the back of the
village hall, but this all takes time, but lets hope we will get there
in the end.
Last year we had all the excitement of Carenza Lewis and the Cambridge
University Academy who came to the village and dug 12 test pits in our
gardens. Carenza will be coming to talk to our society about these test
pits and what was found on Monday Feb 25th at 8pm. This will be for
members only. I will have a list at the AGM for you to put your names
on if you would like to come. This will give us an idea of numbers.
People who opened their gardens will be having an invite. I am sure
this will be most fascinating. Instead of the usual entrance fee we
will be having a raffle.
Carenza and the team will be coming again this year on 26th &
March. We will be looking for 14 test pits, so how about your garden?
Size of test pits 1 metre square about 1 metre deep.
We would like to thank all who have helped over the past year in so
many ways with research, setting up displays, raffles, cakes, stalls,
bric-a-brac, teas and the list goes on. I would just like to mention a
special thanks to Fred Flight who has now transcribed 71 of those old
documents. I think he must now be classed as an expert, and Colin who
continues to produce voice recordings, the last one recorded is Life in
our Village by Betty Rogers. This now brings the total of his
recordings to nine.
This year our Open Day will be on Sunday 11th May please make a note of
this in your diaries and spread the word. This year we hope to have a
few more classic cars. If you have any more ideas for display or
fundraising for this event they would be most welcome. Finally if you
have any items for the bric-a-brac stall we are collecting now, contact
Mel or Sue.
Thank you for your support we look forward to an enjoyable year.