hadleigh aos thundersley

The Joy of Essex – an architectural dimension

This 2016 postscript / extension of the subject occurred when journalist and presenter Gavin Haynes was in conversation with writer, journalist, essayist and film-maker Jonathan Meades during ESSEX Architecture Weekend; see:

Twitter advert from 2016


This followed a screening of the BBC4 programme The Joy of Essex (2013) which saw Meades exploring the county’s radical and nonconformist past.

The relevant YouTube location for the conversation is:

The original programme is now viewable, too  at:


Joy is – as ever in Essex – unconfined, certainly a lot more fun than one might expect from the Jonathan Meades film, which nevertheless opens up some corners and pockets of history not generally seen or appreciated.  There is some good stuff in here!

Whatever licences were engaged for posting to YouTube are gratefully acknowledged and reflected here.


Fresh news – – Chris Worpole’s book used in German Club

Copies of the highly acclaimed and accessible Tales out of School have been spotted at the Book Inn, famous book shop in Leigh-on-Sea opposite the Library.

Chris Worpole researches

Chris Worpole researches

However, a recent presentation in German at the IGC freshened the use of the Schools and Educational Pack and introduced this subject to a wider audience.

Postscript to the All Our Stories project

After the project was successfully concluded in the middle of 2013, we continued to build on the work done.  One example of this was that – in March 2014 – we helped create an event for the Essex Book Festival.

Cover of the Essex Book Festival guidebook for 2014

Cover of the Essex Book Festival guidebook for 2014

A major advantage of being part of the festival is the centralised box-office.     The booklet publicises all the events, which brought the fruits of the project back into public view.

A polygon marks the spot

A polygon marks the spot

One of the editors knew how to get us on the programme, and then we could debate what the format could be.

It became a group of four authors, two of them and their books having been past of the All Our Stories project.

Two other expert local authors were added to create a rounded experience; one of them being interviewed, three presented their works themselves.   Would we attract any sort of audience for this experimental format?  Would we be able to stage it successfully in the Hadleigh Old Fire Station?   Our previous experiences helped us to achieve an event well received by a capacity audience of around 100,  far more than can be accommodated in the Library.

Page 33 with highlight around "Four of the Best"

Page 33 with highlight around “Four of the Best”

The event was made possible and expertly facilitated by Brian Hickey who runs the HOFS for ACAVA.

A big thanks to all who helped.


A new form of guide map from All Our Stories

Having successfully concluded our project with a nice letter from those wonderful people at the Heritage Lottery Fund,  it is time to look at the outcomes and smell the roses.   The guide map pictured is one of the several items produced with the help of this programme.   The map already formed the backdrop to our concluding public event in July, was used as the scenery for interviews with the local MP and produced some thoughtful feedback.    It seeks to integrate both a lucid exposition of the great Salvation Army social experiment (spanning the closing years of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th) with a clear-sighted appreciation of the built environment which we still have and that which has been destroyed.   The land itself shows every sign of maintaining its vital functions of pasture, peace and prosperity due to an uncommonly high level of expert monitoring by informed amateurs.  Trust in the good intentions of owners,  local and not so local authorities has been eroded with time, and not only through the natural cynicism of residents getting both older and more aware of how fragile the ecology can be.

Hadleigh and SALIC

Illustrated History, a fresh view of Hadleigh Park

We are aware that old buildings are being left to decay so that any protections they are under will become steadily less relevant and their removal more likely.  On the positive side, some buildings are being reworked to become useful assets for the next generations.   The Hadleigh & Thundersley Community Archive continues to draw threads of local history into the narrative fabric as residents past and present create articles linking pictures with their living testimony to leave a more coherent, personal and colourful legacy for the future to explore.  It is also a great deal of fun to contribute a little time, perhaps some special expertise in (say) design or computers or an ability to engage with different age groups to help build a more resilient community;  if you would like to help,  please start by logging on at http://www.hadleighhistory.org.uk/index.aspx and contributing an article.   We look forward to hearing from you at this virtual archive,   or write to us at hadleighhistory@gmail.com

{ Editorial note:    the guide map is an A2 broadsheet, printed both sides in glorious colour and folded to A5.

 It is available for £1:50 each at  the Salvation Army Tea Rooms, Hadleigh Library and Craft & Copy Shop (all in Hadleigh)   and  Book Inn and Leigh Heritage centre (Leigh-on-Sea.)  

If ordered for posting, the price is £2.25 inclusive for each map.  }

Daws Heath Village Fayre – a picture report

Saturday 13th July 2013, saw the third of Hadleigh & Thundersley Community Archive’s  outreach/visit activities in this All Our Stories project when we thoroughly enjoyed the Daws Heath Village Fayre.  We were welcomed by Ken and Ruth Jones and quickly assembled the Team Hadleigh banners and our H&TCA banner, which we put up outside the hall … Continue reading

All Our Stories Celebration Event at HOFS

Saturday 20th July — the big one, the history and literary event to experience – – local authors – –  V E Day memories – – AGES and the Big Dig of Daws Heath – –   progress on Tales out of School  – –  Leigh Heritage  – – and more.

 Welcome to the people driving from Suffolk just for this event!

July 20th   2 pm  to  4 pm

July 20th 2 pm to 4 pm


Telling Tales out of School

Log books from 1863 to 1901

Original research on the Victorian National School in Hadleigh

As part of the All Our Stories project, I have been researching the Victorian National School in Hadleigh. This mainly involved transcribing the school log book from 1863 until 1901. As well as providing a record of school life in the village, it also provides an insight into the social history of Hadleigh, then a small farming community, and of national events such as Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.

Using extracts from this transcription of the log book, I have written a book: Tales Out Of School, which is due to be published by the archive in the near future. As well as the log book entries it provides an insight into the lives of individual children and teachers. Maybe one of your Hadleigh or Thundersley ancestors is mentioned in the log book. Were they the child who pushed a pencil up her nose or who died of fever?

One of the main reasons for writing the book was to provide a record of this school which could be used by local schools as part of a local history study. The production of an accompanying Schools Pack – with detailed notes for both teachers and pupils on using this primary source material at Key Stage 2 – has been delayed by the Department for Education’s proposal to reform the national curriculum.

With the new History National Curriculum available from this September, it is planned to publish the Schools Pack online in the autumn. Through the required local history study it will fulfil the statutory requirements on historical interpretation, historical enquiry and organisation and communication.

In a class of their own

Hadleigh School was for serious education; not many smiles here.

Visit the Hadleigh History Fair on Saturday 20 July at Hadleigh Old Fire Station, {click http://www.hadleighhistory.org.uk/page_id__452_path__0p35p.aspx for details}  where I will be displaying extracts from the log book, photographs and copies of the architect’s plans.

Chris Worpole

{Ed:  The meta-process of deriving educational material from a detailed review of local source material – the Log Book in this case – could help other archives create their own pedagogical output; and we plan to make the learning points available through  SEECA using the portal site at http://www.seeca.org.uk/ }