The Foxearth and District Local History Society

Committee Announcements
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Meetings, announcements and notices for the Foxearth and District Local History Society, and associated organisations. For details of our activities, and for more information on recent events and current programme, please contact Clare Mathieson 01787 311337 or Lynda Rumble 01787 281434.

F&DLHS Provisional Programme for 2019


Jan

No meeting.
Feb
Tues 13th
Film Archive evening
Mar
Tues 13th
A.G.M. with Cheese & Wine.
.Alan Fitch  My life so far…  Including four years in the RAF how they turned out.
Apr
Tues 10th
Robyn Lloyd Hughes - The Rise & Decline of the Stour Valley Railways
May
Tues 14th
David Burnett - Chilton: the first three thousand years
Jun
Tues 12th
Peter Minter - Visit to Bulmer Brickyard,
with talk on recent restoration projects  
Jul
Tues 10th
Ian McMillan  - The History of Liston Hall
Aug
Thur 8th?/ Mon12th
Minibus trip to Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome - near Maldon.
Sep
Tues 11th
? Pat Murrell  - The History of Cupola House.
Oct
Tues 9th
? Sudbury Cemetery churchyard mapping
Nov
Sat 16th
Ashley Cooper & Andrew Phillips -
"A Sudbury Boy Wunders (sic) aloud after 80 years"
(Memories of the Sudbury Market Hill & surrounding businesses).
Dec
Tues 10th ?
Members’ Christmas meal - details TBC
All meetings held in Foxearth Village Hall 7.30pm (unless otherwise stated).
New members and friends always welcome.
Visitors £2   Members £10 per year
For more information, contact:
Clare Mathieson 01787 311337 or Lynda Rumble 01787  281434
Email: foxhistsoc@gmail.com

website: www.foxearth.org.uk

Local History Societies’ meetings in Essex in 2019


Information provided by Christopher Thompson

Billericay Archaeological and Historical Society

Our monthly meetings are held at The Fold, Arts Centre, located off Laindon Road, Billericay, where we meet on the second Monday of each month at 8:00 pm.

Monday 14th January “Vicky English Princess & German Empress” Speaker Margaret Mills
Monday 11th February “Brunell” Speaker Roger Manion
Monday 11th March “Norfolk Wherry Maud Trust” Speaker Linda Pargeter
Monday 8th April AGM 7.30pm followed by “Customs & Traditions of London” Speaker Mark Lewis
Monday 13th May “Women in Medieval London” Speaker Caroline Baron
Monday 10th June “Mesolithic Archaeology” Speaker Maria Medlecott
Monday 8th July “New York, New York” Speaker Ann Hardy
No meeting in August
Monday 9th September “The Titanic” Speaker Denis Lynch
Monday 14th October “Early Policing in Billericay” Speaker Peter Layzel
Monday 11th November “The Shakespeare Conspiracy” Speaker Julian Whybra
Monday 9th December “A giant of the 19th century Abraham Lincoln” Speaker Margaret Mills

 Chingford Historical Society

Our meetings are held at SS Peter and Paul Church on The Green, North Chingford at 7.30.p.m. on the third Thursday of each month from October till April inclusive. Talks on local and general history are illustrated and there is an interval where tea and biscuits can be obtained.    Non-members are welcome to attend for a small fee payable at the door. 

No meetings are yet listed.

Clacton and District Local History Society

 at 7.30 P.M at Pier Avenue Baptist Church.

17th january.          “Cracked eggs and chicken soup. ”Norman Jacobs.
21st february.         “The Kirby Riots”  Malcolm Batty.
21st march.   “What  is New In Our Archive?”.        George Hardwick.                    
18th april.    “Whatever Happened To Southcliff?”  Roger kennell.
16th may.     “Aviation Archaeology and St Osyth Ww2 Museum”         Bill Smith.
20th june.     “Ghosts of The Tower Of London.”     Brian d'arcy.
18th  july.    Members short presentations.      Gill Green and Sandra Adams Salmon.
15th august.  “An Evening of Visual Images ” Vic Miller.
19th september.      “Ww1 The Harwich Force, Captain Fryatt, The SS Brussels and the Surrender of the U Boats Into Harwich Harbour.” David Whittle.
17th october. A.G.M. a short DVD of Johnson's of Clacton   Anthony Allston .
 21st november. Francis Boardman.      “The Great Stink”, The Building of London's Sewers.

 19th december Miller. Xmas quiz.

Elsenham Village History Society

1.  - Roger Barrett -'The Fuller Maitlands at Stansted Hall'
March 13, 2019 8:00 p.m.
Free to Members - Visitors always welcome only £2 Tea and Coffee will be available from 7:45p.m.
(Agenda will be available about 1 week prior to meeting)
2.  - Lee Player - Thatching History and Practice
June 12, 2019 8:00 p.m.
Free to Members - Visitors always welcome only £2 Tea and Coffee will be available from 7:45p.m.
(Agenda will be available about 1 week prior to meeting)
3.  - Bill Hardy- Building Kings College Chapel and Arabic assembly marks
September 11, 2019 8:00 p.m.
Free to Members - Visitors always welcome only £2 Tea and Coffee will be available from 7:45p.m.
(Agenda will be available about 1 week prior to meeting)
4.  -Mark Carroll - DNA Surnames and Genealogy
November 13, 2019 8:00 pm
Free to Members - Visitors always welcome only £2 Tea and Coffee will be available from 7:45p.m.
(Agenda will be available about 1 week prior to meeting)
5.  - Illustrated Talk - The Story of Elsenham Jam - Ray Franklin Chairman Elsenham Village History Society
March 12, 2020 8:00 pm
Free to Members - Visitors always welcome only £2 Tea and Coffee will be available from 7:45p.m.
(Agenda will be available about 1 week prior to meeting)

Halstead and District Local history Society

All events take place at 7:30pm in the Baptist Church, Hedingham Road, Halstead unless otherwise stated.

Our programme may change at short notice due to circumstances outside our control

January 17th Annual General Meeting The AGM will be followed by a talk by our own Jim Davis.
February 21st "What A Stroke Of Luck" A talk by Tom Tyler relating to coincidences during WW2.
March 21st The Rise and Fall of Colchester’s ‘Good Time Girls', 1855-1895
A talk by Dr. Jane Pearson. Why did prostitution become a problem in mid-nineteenth-century Colchester and what did the town do about it?
Jane is a teaching fellow and part-time lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Essex.
April 11th “An introduction to the Chelsea Physic Garden”
Dr. Christine Hodgson, who is a guide at the garden, will introduce us to its history from the foundation in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries.
May 16th “The Lost Cheeses of Suffolk”
Vivia Bamford of the Sciapod Dairy in Suffolk will tell us about traditional cheese making and will be bringing some samples to taste.
June 22nd Visit to RAF Wethersfield Museum
July 13th Visit to Alderford Mill, Sible Hedingham - Details to follow
September 19th Old Films of Halstead & Hedingham
Brian Day will be showing us a few of the amateur films of the area that he has been given.
September 21st Exhibition: The Photgraphs of Geoff Root - A Retrospective
To take place at The Queen's Hall, times to be confirmed.
October 17th Corsets, Crinlines & Camisoles
Frances Saltmarsh returns to tell us all about the history of underwear.
November 21st Can You Keep A Secret?
Lynette Burgess, Visitor Services and outreach Manager, will tell us the history of Bawdsey Radar and its role in WWII.
December 12th More Images Of Old & New Halstead
Followed by our Christmas drinks and nibbles!

 Hedingham Heritage Society

10 January, Thursday 7:45pm The Memorial Hall, Castle Hedingham
PICTORIAL HISTORY OF ESSEX/SUFFOLK BORDER from Ashley Cooper

Historical Association (Essex Branch)

Talks are on Saturdays at 2.30pm
Venue: Trinity Methodist Church, Rainsford Road, Chelmsford, CM1 2XB.
Free parking at the Church or in the County Council car-park opposite.
Visitors and prospective members warmly welcomed - a £3 donation requested.
12th January
The Weimar Republic and its difficult birth
Dr Eric Boston, Director of Academic Liaison, Head of Humanities, Head of History and Politics, CATs Cambridge
2nd February
The Case of the Petrified Leg and other 18th century Medical Curiosities
Dr Lisa Smith, Lecturer, Department of History, University of Essex
2nd March
Some Ancient Greeks in Roman Britain
Professor Edith Hall, Professor of Classics, King's College, University of London
6th April
'Please, Sir, I want some more'.  What did they eat in Victorian Britain?
Dr Robert Hopkinson, former Head of History, Wolsingham School, former Secretary, Durham HA Branch, and recent Treasurer, Cumbria HA Branch
11th May
'The March of the Women':  The Campaign for Women's Suffrage in Britain?
Dr Robert Saunders, Senior Lecturer in Modern British History, Queen Mary College, University of London
•       

Jaywick Local History Society

Monday 21st. January     The 'After Christmas Meal '  at Clacton Golf Club - 12.30 for 1.00pm.
Tuesday 5th. February    John Worland - ' The Essex Witches '
Tuesday 2nd. April           Nicholas Charrington - ' Layer Marney Tower '
Tuesday 4th. June           Brian Thurlow - ' The Red Barn Murders '
Tuesday 6th. August       Peter Jones - ' The Great Essex Earthquake '
Tuesday 1st. October      A.G.M. followed by Richard A. Scott - ' The Story of Bourne Mill '

Leyton and Leytonstone Historical Society

Leyton Sixth Form College (Room HE4), Essex Road, Leyton E10 6EQ (buses along Lea Bridge Road)

7.45pm Wednesday January 16th 2019 *
Les Capon talks about his latest year as an archaeologist.
7.45pm Wednesday February 20th 2019 *
 A talk by Richard Gray ‘Shakespeare’s  London to the West End Playhouse ‘
St John's Hall, off High Road, Leytonstone, London E11 by the entrance to the Matalan store, (not far from Leytonstone Central Line station)
£2 contribution requested from visitors.

Newport Local History Group

No events are currently listed.

Saffron Walden Historical society

Wednesday 23 January 2019 – The Long Road to Brexit: Robin O’Neill
7.45 pm at the Friends’ Meeting House, High Street, Saffron Walden – All welcome. Members can join at this meeting for just £7 a year which entitles you to free entry to seven lectures.
.
Other lectures this season are:
Wed 27 Feb: The archaeological landscape of Great Chesterford: Jacqui Hutton
Wed 27 Mar: The Italian artist Biagio Rebecca and his work at Audley End: Peter Moore
Wed 24 April: The Cutlers of Thaxted 1350-1450: Richard Till

 South Woodham Ferrers Local History Society

Meetings held at Champions Manor Hall Community Centre, 94 Hullbridge Road
South Woodham Ferrers
Essex
CM3 5LJ
johnfranklandswf@btinternet.com
01245 321518

Wed 06/02/19 20:00 22:00 Railway Branch Lines to Maldon by Nathaniel Dodd
Wed 06/03/19 20:00 22:00 The history of Lodge Coaches by Robert Lodge
Wed 03/04/19 20:00 22:00 'One day in the Battle of Britain in Essex 29 October 1940' by Neil Wiffen from the Essex Record Office
Wed 01/05/19 20:00 22:00 Essex Church Brasses by Martin Stuchfield from the Monumental Brass Society
Wed 05/06/19 -- -- Society's outdoor visit - tba

Stebbing Local History Society

All meetings are held at the Stebbing Village Hall, Mill Lane, Stebbing, Essex, CM6 3SL. Entry is free to members and guests are charged £2.
Five meetings are held per year on the second Monday of the months of February, April, June, September and November. All meetings start at 8 p.m. The meetings always consist of a guest speaker on a local subject and there is always a display of different documents and photographs from our archives.

No meetings are yet listed for 2019.

Thurrock Local History Society

Meetings are held at Thurrock Adult Community College, Richmond Road, Grays Thurrock, Essex, RM17 6DN. 
All meetings begin at 8.00 pm unless indicated otherwise. The AGM begins at 7.30 pm. 
Most talks are illustrated and there is a break for refreshments.
Membership Subscriptions: Adults - £15.00, Students - £4.00, Under age 16 - free, Visitors (per meeting) - £2.00 
Visitors are very welcome at all meetings.
Friday, 18th January          The Great War - a review by Brett Goodyear
Friday, 15th February         Ghosts and Graves in Barking and Dagenham by Linda Rhodes
Friday 15th March              Belhus and the Barrett Lennards by Susan Yates
Friday, 26th April               The Annual General Meeting (starts at 7.30) followed by
                                         DNA - what can it tell us? by John Matthews
Friday, 17th May                Machu Picchu by Scott Sullivan

 Waltham Abbey Historical Society

We organise a series of lectures on the third Fridays of September to May, at the Baptist Church, Paradise Road, Waltham Abbey EN9 1RL, 8-10pm with a refreshment break. Anyone is welcome to come; members are free and we invite a £1 donation from non-members.

Friday 18th January 2019: St Albans: The First 1000 Years Sally Pearson
Friday 15th February 2019: Their Name Liveth for Evermore: The Story of the Unknown Soldier and War Memorials Martyn Lockwood
Friday 15th March 2019
Puddephatt Memorial Lecture: A Church Saved for the People and the Nation: The 1960-65 Restoration of the Parish Church of the Holy Cross and St Lawrence, Waltham Abbey Grenville Weltch
Friday 12th April 2019:
(this is the 2nd Friday of April) Presidential Address & Annual General Meeting
Friday 17th May 2019: The West End of the Church at Waltham Abbey: Mysteries and Modifications Lawrence Greenall & Steve Miller

PARKING: the large Corn Mill Car Park is behind the Town Hall (its entrance is to the side of Muhinur restaurant, Greenyard, EN9 1RD) – free in the evenings. The Baptist church is a 2-minute walk from the car park exit, heading due east through an archway in a 1960s block of flats.




The Christmas Dinner. 11th December 2018


The Foxearth and District Society brought its 2018 (its 19th) year to a festive close on 11th December with the traditional Christmas dinner at the George, Cavendish. Some 30 members attended where excellent food and fellowship made for a memorable evening. A challenging note was introduced by a quiz which tested members recollection of history and other things. Randolph Ivy was the victorious egghead whose erudition was rewarded with a bottle of wine: possibly those questions on North America tipped the scales?

President Ashley Cooper thanked those who run the Society so smoothly, deal with the finances, maintain the highly-regarded web site, write reports - and those who bring their own particular interests such as church brasses, Borley witches, war memories, budgerigars etc to further the scope of the Society.

Secretary Clare Mathieson outlined the provisional programme for next year which would start in February with a film archive evening. Other topics would be the Royal Air Force, Stour Valley Railway and histories of the Chilton district of Sudbury and of Liston Hall. Visits in mnd were to Bulmer Brickworks and the Stow Maries Great War aerodrome near Maldon. There was also the exciting prospect of an interview by Ashley with Lord Phillips on boyhood memories of Sudbury. So there's a lot to look forward to and guests and new members will be warmly welcomed at any meeting.

Contact Clare (01787 311337) or Lynda (01787 281434 for further details

Next meeting: 13th February 7.30pm Foxearth Village Hall for Film Archive

Who Am I? Tuesday, 9th October

"Who am I?" was the intriguing question around which Clare-based, Kelly Cornwell built her talk to the Foxearth and District Local History Society on Tuesday, 9th October. Sixteen members showed their warm appreciation of Kelly's expertise and enthusiasm at the end of her detailed description of the processes of researching one's family tree and discovering perhaps some surprising facts about one's ancestors. From a show of hands it appeared that at least half of her audience had done some historical delving into the past and Kelly gave some valuable advice to those wishing to approach the subject.

Clarity about what you want to find out is the starting point. Recollections of relatives - especially older ones - can lead to lines of enquiry. Documents such as wills, baptism, marriage and death certificates give reliable information, although a word of caution here is relevant; it is not uncommon for a person to be known - perhaps for all their life - by a name quite different from that shown on official documents so verifying a suspect fact before proceeding may prevent an excursion into a blind alley! Old photographs are often very useful particularly if a name, place or date is written on the back.The list of sources goes on and on including newspaper accounts, parish registers, censuses- and, if you feel like a wander, gravestones. Local Records Offices are usually very helpful. These are all possible avenues to explore off line but when it comes to searching via the computer there is a multitude of helpful web sites - some of which are completely free. Kelly demonstrated the access to some of these.Why not take up the challenge or if you would rather engage an expert to do the job for you then Kelly runs a consultancy service and over the last 14 years has achieved some impressive and highly praised results. (htpp/www.whoamifamilytreeresearch.co.uk)

Kelly told us of some of her research into her own ancestry and gave a delightful account of an aunt who, some generations ago, was convicted of "borrowing" a gown and some jewellery from an employer for a night out. For this she was sentenced to transportation to Tasmania where her colourful career apparently continued - so, as I understand does the research! This was a most interesting and enjoyable evening. Kelly fielded a large number of questions demonstrating the keen interest she generated.

Secretary Clare Mathieson reminded members of the arrangement for the annual dinner (The George, Cavendish, Tuesday 11th December) for which menus are available and deposits due. She also asked that members give some thought to topics, visits they would like to see included in 2019 and future programmes.

Next meeting: Tuesday 13th November at 7.30pm in Foxearth Village Hall when President Ashley Cooper will discuss Heroes, Villains and Colourful events in our Local History.

The Athenaeum, the Dome and the Telescope: Tuesday 11th September

About 25 members gathered at a meeting of the district society in Foxearth Village Hall on Tuesday 11th September to hear Dr Richard Young talk about the Victorian observatory dome and telescope on the top of the Athenaeum Club building in Bury St Edmunds. Although the town is not short of historical features the presence of the observatory was not widely known until the Club - which owns the observatory - decided in 2015 to launch a project for its restoration seeking to raise initially £6,000. The purpose of the project is to preserve a rare piece of astronomical history, show to the public views of the stars and to teach their location. Dr Young, Founder and Chairman of the enterprise described, with many photographic examples, the work involved with the first priority being the repair of the access stairs to the dome. In its present form the Athanaeum building dates from 1789 with the dome being added after the Astronomer Royal, George Airy, had given a talk on Donati's comet which was then - in 1858 - causing great excitement to local sky watchers. Rev. Lord Arthur Hervey was President of the Athenaeum Society and a leader in the dynamic scientific community who added his weight to the movement for a dome.

The restoration will include a complete overhaul of the telescope which was made by the 19th century renowned firm of instrument makers - Troughton and Simms. It is a 4 inch retractor with a magnification capacity of between 30X and 300X and complete dismantlement, cleaning and re-assembly will be neccessary to ensure its valued use for generations to come.

Dr. Young also talked about the rare sundial situated in the Abbey gardens. The dial is on the side and at the top of a tall stone column - a Victorian drinking fountain -and dates from 1870 when it was given to the people of the town by the 3rd Marquess of Bristol. It is thought to be possibly the earliest example of a dial which allowed people to set their clocks by Greenwich mean time. Many photographs showed the details of the apparatus and its various astronomical inscriptions and calculations.

This was a fascinating insight into a hitherto unexplored aspect of local history which generated a large number of questions and earned a warm response for Dr Young.

Secretary Clare Mathieson informed members that a reservation had been made for the Annual Dinner of the Society on Tuesday 11th December at the George, Cavendish. Members will shortly receive the menu and booking and deposit details. The writer has had his arm twisted (nay- dislocated) to produce a quiz - so please pay attention!

Essex Local History Societies’ Meetings (August to December, 2018)

Thursday, 16th August
Clacton and District Local History Society. 7.30 p.m. Pier Avenue Baptist Church, Clacton-on-Sea.
Vic Miller, “A green coat and a furry hat”: The Ladies of the WVS.

Wednesday, 5th September
South Woodham Ferrers Local History Society. 8 p.m. Champions Manor Hall, 94 Hullbridge Road, South Woodham Ferrers.
Lord Petre, The History of the Petre Family.

Thursday, 6th September
Hedingham Heritage Society.  7.45 p.m. The Memorial Hall, Castle Hedingham.
Richard Humphries, East Anglia and the Silk Industry.

Monday, 10th September
Billericay Archaeological and Historical Society. 8 p.m. Venue?
Louise Reed, Fanny Kemble actress/anti-slave campaigner
Stebbing Local history Society. 8 p.m. Village Hall, Stebbing.
Claire Willetts, The History of Crittalls.

Tuesday, 11th September. 
Halstead and District Local History Society. 7.30 p.m. Baptist Church, Hedingham Road.
Richard Thomas, “The Royal Gunpowder Mills”.

Wednesday, 12th September
Elsenham Village History Society. 8 p.m. Elsenham Memorial Hall.
Terry Ward, “Station to Station”: A look at the Cambridge Main Line to Bishop’s Stortford.

Thursday, 13th September
Rayleigh Town Museum. Time?
David Williams, Slavery and the City.

Wednesday, 19th September
Leyton and Leytonstone Local History Society. 7.45 p.m. St John’s Church, corner of Leyton High Road and Church Lane.
Neil Houghton, Competitive Church Buildings, the Anglican Church.

Thursday, 20th September
Clacton and District Local History Society. 7.30 p.m. Pier Avenue Baptist Church, Clacton-on-Sea.
Simon Gallup, “Unknown Constable Country”.
Halstead and District Local History Society. 7.30 p.m. Baptist Church, Hedingham Road.
Nick Sign, Servants in Suffolk Country Houses c.1700 to c.1900.
Newport Local History Group. 8 p.m. Church House, Newport
Peter Minton, Bulmer Bricklands.

Friday, 21st September
Waltham Abbey Historical Society. 8 p.m. Baptist Church, Paradise Road, Waltham Abbey.
Helen Gibson, The Templars and their barns: Cressing Temple.

Wednesday, 26th September
Saffron Walden Historical Society. 7.45 p.m. Friends’ Meeting House, High Street, Saffron Walden.
Andrew Everett, An Early Railway Station Architect – the Life, Times and Works of Sancton Wood 1814-1886.

Saturday, 29th September
Historical Association (Essex branch). 2.30 p.m. Trinity Methodist Church, Rainsford Road, Chelmsford.
Vic Gray, Building Utopia in Purleigh; the rise and fall of a late-Victorian dream.

Tuesday, 2nd October
Jaywick Local History Society. 7 p.m. Golf Green Hall
Simon Gallup, Lavenham, Dedham and the cloth trade.

Wednesday, 3rd October.
South Woodham Ferrers Local History Society. 8 p.m. Champions Manor Hall, 94 Hullbridge Road, South Woodham Ferrers.
Charlotte Harding, Braintree silk-making and the families who worked at Warner Textiles

Monday, 8th October
Billericay Archaeological and Historical Society. 8 p.m. Venue ?
Gary Egerton, The History of Colchester

Thursday, 11th October
Rayleigh Town Museum. Time?
Ted Woodgate, Rayleigh Rural Radicalism in the nineteenth-century.

Tuesday, 16th October
Fordham Local History Society. 7.30 p.m. (?) in the Village Hall
Wendy Shepherd, ‘Women your country needs you’.

Wednesday, 17th October.
Leyton and Leytonstone Local History Society. 7.45 p.m. St Mary’s parish church hall, Lindley Road.
Carol Harris, Safety and Numbers.

Thursday, 18th October 
Chingford Historical Society. 7.30 p.m. St Peter and St Paul Church, Chingford Green.
Neil Houghton, Gunpowder Paper and Leather: the Story of Chingford and Walthamstow Water Mills.
Clacton and District Local History Society. 7.30 p.m. Pier Avenue Baptist Church, Clacton-on-Sea.
Norman Jacobs, “Nora Timmens”
Halstead and District Local History Society. 7.30 p.m. Baptist Church, Hedingham Road.
Phil Lyons, The Wild West goes East.
Newport Local History Group. 8 p.m. Church House, Newport
Mark Bills, Gainsborough House, Sudbury.

Friday, 19th October
Waltham Abbey Historical Society. 8 p.m. Baptist Church, Paradise Road, Waltham Abbey.
David Stevenson, The Road to 11th November, 1918: How the First World War was ended.

Wednesday, 24th October
Saffron Walden Historical Society. 7.45 p.m. Friends’ Meeting House, High Street, Saffron Walden.
Malcolm White, Saffron Walden 1945-2000.

Saturday, 27th October
Historical Association (Essex branch). 2.30 p.m. Trinity Methodist Church, Rainsford Road, Chelmsford.
Catherine Fletcher, The Divorce of Henry VIII: an untold story from inside the Vatican.

Wednesday, 7th November
South Woodham Ferrers Local History Society. 8 p.m. Champions Manor Hall, 94 Hullbridge Road, South Woodham Ferrers.
Roger Johnson, ‘The Murder at Moat Farm’.

 Monday, 12th November
Billericay Archaeological and Historical Society. 8 p.m. Venue ?
Steve Newman, Metal Detecting. Part 2.
Stebbing Local history Society. 8 p.m. Village Hall, Stebbing.
Peter Layzell, The Essex Regiment in the First World War.

Thursday, 15th November
Clacton and District Local History Society. 7.30 p.m. Pier Avenue Baptist Church, Clacton-on-Sea.
Francis Boardman, “Suffragettes: a Media War”.
Halstead and District Local History Society. 7.30 p.m. Baptist Church, Hedingham Road.
David Austin, The Vikings.

Friday, 16th November
Waltham Abbey Historical Society. 8 p.m. Baptist Church, Paradise Road, Waltham Abbey.
James Lewis, The Great Stink and a Little Bit more.

Tuesday, 20th November
Takeley Local History Society. 6 p.m. Roseacres Primary School.
Bob Ogley, The Great Storm of 1987.

Wednesday, 21st November
Leyton and Leytonstone Local History Society. 7.45 p.m. Leyton 6th Form College (Room HE4), Essex Road, Leyton.
David Boote, The Home Front in Leyton and Leytonstone 1939-1945.

Thursday, 22nd November
Newport Local History Group. 8 p.m. Church House, Newport
Ken Worpole, We are not afraid of the Future: Communitarian settlements in Essex 1880-2018.

Wednesday, 28th November
Saffron Walden Historical Society. 7.45 p.m. Friends’ Meeting House, High Street, Saffron Walden.
Clare Mulley, The Women who flew for Hitler.

Saturday, 1st December
Historical Association (Essex branch). 2.30 p.m. Trinity Methodist Church, Rainsford Road, Chelmsford.
Joanna Story, Treasures from the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.

Monday, 10th December
Billericay Archaeological and Historical Society. 8 p.m. Venue?
Anita Maria Sackett, Victorian Christmas – Pagan Origins.

Thursday, 13th December
Chingford Historical Society. 7.30 p.m. St Peter and St Paul Church, Chingford Green.
Morna Daniels, The Origins of Fairy Tales.

Compiled by Christopher Thompson

A Child Caught Up in a War: 10th April 2018

The year was 1938 when Company Quarter Master Sergeant Charles Lines - Royal Engineers - was told that he was to be posted to the Far East. In due course he embarked upon the troopship HMS Somersetshire together with his wife and young daughter, Margaret. War clouds were gathering over the skies of Europe but relatives of the family told them not to worry; "If war comes to England you will be well out of it" Could anything have been further from the truth!

Some 32 members and guests of the Foxearth and District Local History Society were present on 10th April to hear Margaret Nice recount how her life changed from a junior school girl in St Helens, Lancs. to life in the tropics on the other side of the world. Two years in the Army School in Singapore was followed by a move up the coast of Malaya to Penang where Margaret went to the Anglo American Girls School in the capital Georgetown. Hitherto life had been peaceful; swimming in the pools, enjoying exotic fruits and the exciting experience of new cultures with Chinese and Indian friends. A bout of a type of typhus put Margaret in hospital for some weeks and she had just recovered - but not yet back at school - when heavy bombing of Penang by the Japanese began. When immediate evacuation was ordered there was time only to pack a small bag and in the ensuing chaos Margaret found herself in charge of a little girl aged 3 or 4 whose mother had just had another child and was being carried on a stretcher. Margaret was urged by her mother to keep up with the rest but complained that her charge kept falling asleep and had to be dragged. It was 3am!

A tortuous journey to the mainland was eventually completed via lorries and a ferry manned by sailors from the battleships Prince of Wales and Repulse both of which had been sunk on 10th December 1941. Once on the mainland a train took the crowds of evacuees to Kuala Lumpur station-- where the Salvation Army were on hand to dispense food and clothes - and then on to Singapore. At this point it was found that Margaret's bag of clothes had been left on a lorry in Penang but the army wives rallied around and she was soon kitted out again. Constant bombing took place of the nearby army barracks at Changi and shelter in the married quarters was of the under stairs variety offering limited protection against bombs which produced a lot of shrapnel. Eventually the news came that Margaret and her mother were to go to Australia and they sailed on the SS Narkunda. Even this voyage was not without incident. A mine was spotted close to the ship and marksmen's attempt to detonate it failed until it was perilously close. The explosion caused the ship to tip so that all the passengers on deck ended up in an untidy heap at one end.

In Australia a much more settled and safer life beckoned for Margaret and her mother but the events of the previous year had left their mark. Both were almost bald and Margaret's face was covered in sores; whether this was stress or the long diet of corned beef and tooth-breaking biscuits we cannot be sure; there was certainly no need for a weight-watchers programme! Mention was of course made of Margaret's father. He was captured and held in Changi prison until he was sent to work in the salt mines of Korea. His diaries reveal the extreme hardship that these brave soldiers endured - the totally inadequate and poor diet, the cruelty of their captors who despised them for allowing themselves to be taken prisoner, the malaria and dysentery which was so rife, the extreme cold which meant that the wash rooms were permanently frozen in winter, the list goes on. On liberation by the Americans he was emaciated and taken to Manilla to be built up before returning to the UK. Sadly the ravages of 4 years savage incarceration could not be completely offset and he died in 1957 aged 56.

Margaret brought along some photographs and some shrapnel-damaged Malaysian pewter ware - and was warmly thanked by Secretary Clare Mathieson for her interesting account.

Referring to the last meeting and the recently acquired 1855 indenture, Clare reported that a connection with a Pentlow family and one of the old names mentioned in the document had been identified.

Next Meeting: 8th May 7.30pm in Foxearth Village Hall when Corinne Cox will talk about the Archaeological Test Pit Excavations in Foxearth.

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