Hadleigh & Thundersley Community Archive: H&TCA
We are one of the South East Essex Community Archives (SEECAN) set up in late 2010 through the exemplary work and support of Sue Hampson (then of Essex Libraries) and the late Debbie Peers (Essex Record Office). Key initial assets were acquired centrally using an award from the Heritage Lottery Fund. All SEECAN archives are hosted by CommunitySites using tailored WordPress software, within which we have adapted the sites to better reflect the interests of our local communities.
In Hadleigh, Daws Heath and Thundersley, H&TCA have held extremely successful public meetings, presented the archive live on a screen and used prepared slide-shows, developed pop-up outreach history days, created immediate articles from memories crystallised in meetings with associated pictures and participated in community projects. In one of the projects, “Team Hadleigh,” we assisted with local school and pensioner interviews (shown here) as part of intergenerational preparations for the 2012 Olympics. A motor-cycling scrambling area of the 1970s was repurposed to become the Olympic Mountain Bike course for the only Olympic event held in Essex. Here is a fragment of the Olympic Torch relay through Hadleigh.
Another dimension of the H&TCA’s creative interaction within the community is represented by the superb books created and published by the Editorial Team. Our publishing logo, or colophon, shown on the right, graces seven (up to March 2022) beautifully illustrated books based on cutting edge local history research, presented in attractive, durable and accessible formats. Links to the books are shown in the next section. “Tales out of School” is out of print currently, but can be acquired as an e-Teaching Pack. However, we can be persuaded to part with copies of all the other books at prices representing excellent value for money!
- The Harveys
- Thundersley Postcard Memories
- Hadleigh Postcard Memories
- SA Railway Booklet
- The Choppens
- Thundersley and Daws Heath – A History
- Tales out of School
Outreach includes a Twitter feed fronted by famous past Hadleighite, one Cunning Murrell. A recent tweet shows our work as part of an inter-generational community initiative being rounded off 19th March 2022 with a pop-up café, free art activities and a chance to see aspects of the local Community Archive, of course!
During lockdown, our team used exercise walks to add to our stock of images of the local area; for example Valerie Wells Wood; the information board for which is seen to the right. In common with most of South East Essex, the area is under increasing pressure to sacrifice green fields and trees in favour of new housing estates. The adverse effects of more population and traffic are not, however, being mitigated by inadequate infrastructure improvements.
We are delighted to be part of SEECAN, which successfully maintains the active participation of Benfleet Billericay H&TCA Laindon Rochford District Wickford and added Tilbury and Chadwell to the group. Our representatives meet monthly in the SEECAN virtual / live forum to discuss technical issues and share experiences in maintaining and promoting archives.