Saturday the 17th September saw the Grand Launch of Hadleigh & Thundersley Community Archive at Hadleigh Old Fire Station. Hard work from the editorial team, their families and friends on designing, marketing and organising was rewarded with a resounding success – at times the refurbished 1930s building seemed overflowing with people and exhibits.
Several people had dressed as characters from local history, adding colour and spice, not least the members of the AGES Archaeological and Historical Association (wrote Robert Hallmann, with additional reporting by the Editorial Team.)
Display tables showed activities ranging from archaeological exhibits from the area’s past, local authors presented their proudly published achievements, through to plans for rebuilding and regeneration local infrastructure and buildings. We were very pleased to be joined by Benfleet Community Archive, Hadleigh Library and the Essex Record Office. Over twenty local societies and preservation groups manned their stations; heroic volunteers looked after the inner person with innumerable cups of tea and coffee.
The Archive will use rented office facilities in the Old Fire Station and hold public meetings in the same historic Appliance Bay in which the launch was held. The nearby Library of course still has computers available for people to explore the Hadleigh & Thundersley Community Archive, if they lack facilities at home.
As the last archive to hold our official launch, we were delighted to be able to present small tokens of the Archive Group’s appreciation of the magnificent work done by Sue Hampson and Debbie Peers, both in attracting the funds from the Heritage Lottery folk, and even more in giving so selflessly of their time and encouragement to set up six new archives in South East Essex. Well done Sue and Debbie!
The Archive’s own Town Crier ( for the week!), Peter Hammerton, resplendent in red in this true blue borough, woke the populace with his bell and voice-over for the Opening Ceremony where short speeches by the Mayor of Castle Point, Cllr. Jackie Govier; Rebecca Harris, MP and Roy Swanston of Heritage Lottery Fund led up to the Mayor presenting a delighted Hannah Allwright with her prize for winning the Hadleigh & Thundersley Community Archive Summer Photo Competition.