The Hadleigh SocietyJul 1989
Newsletter Index Up Jul 1989 Oct 1989






Constitution Hill


How nice to see so many of you at this years meeting and social get-together.

In her address as outgoing Chairman Jan Byrne said that this was the Society's seventh Annual General Meeting and concluded a year in which we had continued to meet regularly and grow in membership and activity. We had had five Society meetings, all of which had been well attended with excellent speakers, and as in previous years the largest attendance had been at meetings related to Had- leigh's history. This year we enjoyed both Frank Grace and Mark Bailey talking on the cloth industry, two speakers who unknowingly complemented the other in their presentation and had held their audience enthralled. Mr Quinlan talked to us about the work of the Radleigh Grand Ffeoffment, a subject that most of us previously knew little about. Noel Turner talked about books and as he always does gave us a very informed and enthralling evening, and at the last meeting Sylvia Colman talked on Listing Old Buildings. Some of us also enjoyed an evening at Christchurch Mansion; an evening that initially threatened to go wrong when the guide failed to turn up! However, an amazingly silent group of members went round the mansion, at their own pace, carrying tape recorders and listening to the taped commentary.

We have been told recently that some members have found it difficult to hear some speakers at East House. We will try to encourage our speakers to 'speak up' and bring some more seats toward the front.

The Environmental and History groups continue to meet regularly. Please remember they are always looking for new members and you are welcome to attend any of their meetings. This year the Environmental group studied the Babergh Plan and sent objections to some aspects of the plan relating to Hadleigh. During the Spring we were invited to give evidence to the Public local Inquiry. We were fortunate in having two members on our Executive Committee who had previously, in their professional capacities, giving evidence to Inquiries and at their recommendation we presented our evidence in writing. Our special thanks go to Douglas Wood for writing the document and Noel Turner for helping Douglas with it.

The Executive Committee met six times and we had excellent attendance and some very lively meetings. Thanks was due to all members of the Executive Committee and helpers for all the work they had undertaken to keep the Society flourishing.

In conclusion of her address Jan said that it is importantant that in these rapidly changing times our Socity should continue to grow and develop its role. It is up to all of us to ensure that this happens.

All present agreed with Noel Turner in that we owed Jan a great deal for all her activities and initiatives on our behalves over the past four years whilst she had been in the chair. A vote of sincere thanks was also voted for the stirling contribution put in by Sylvia Wardley who was standing down as the Society' s Secretary.

Those of you who were able to attend the meeting will know that a new Executive Committee was elected by ballot at the meeting with the following result:

Chair   Noel Turner
Vice Chair   Graham Panton
Treasurer   Paul Garrod
Secretary   Jim Betteridge
Ben Allen (Membership Secretary)
John Bloomfield
Jan Byrne
Sally Looker
Audrey Tyerman
Douglas Wood
Gordon Sutcliffe (Co-opted later)
Environmental Group Chair Peggy Crabtree
History Group Chair Joe Byrne


Those at the Annual General Meeting will also have witnessed the presentation of the Society's first Award to Mr. Keith Young on behalf of 'Edwards of Hadleigh' in recognition of the skill and care shown in the renovation of their High Street premises.

It is very easy for an organisation such as ours to be seen to be making objections and complaints but as members have agreed earlier it is important to make comments on things that have been done well. It is also important to encourage others undertaking similar restoration or improvement work to reach for the highest standards.

Members will recall that last Autumn we circulated nomination forms for this Award. A number of nominations were received relating to three Hadleigh properties. A lot of time was spent considering the nominations and expert advise was sort where necessary before the above winner was selected by the unaminous vote of the Society's Executive Committee.

It is interesting to note that according to Mr. Young the company name 'Edwards of Hadleigh' is derived from using the second Christian names of he and his partner Mr. Peter Edward Brookson.

Congratulations Gentlemen - well done.


You may have read in Heritage Outlook that the Trust has decided to institute an individual membership scheme. This scheme was in fact well and truly launched by the Trust's Patron, H.R.H. Prince Charles at the 2nd Building a Better Britain Exhibition on 28 April when he accepted an invitation to become the first member. To allow others to follow the Prince's example, the Trust wish to offer preferential membership status to members of local societies, and to get their help in enrolling ordinary members from the public at large.

Full membership with all the associated benefits is 25 p.a.. A leaflet is available which describes this in full detail. This is available to all, whether members of an existing society or not, but to encourage Hadleigh Society members to join the Trust, there is also a special society membership of 15 p.a., although this does not carry all the benefits of ordinary membership.

Further details may be obtained from the Civic Trust 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SWIA 5AW or by telephoning the Trusts Membership Secretary Mr. Linden Dyason) on 01-839 6552 (reversing the charges, if wished).

HADLEIGH AERODROME - recalled by Roger Kennell

Concerning the "Easter Air Display at Hadleigh Aerodrome"(in 1928) in the April edition of the newsletter, this highlights the exciting proposals and developments that were taking place in aviation at that time.

It was to be the first world war that was to show the potential of the aeroplane as being a major influence on the course of warfare. This momentum was continued after the war by the opening up of civil air links and services; but some of these were to prove over ambitious and ahead of their time, and the former was to be the case of Hadleigh aerodrome.

John Muriel, who was born in Hadleigh, was later to write under the pseudonym of Simon Dewes, a trilogy of autobiography in the late 1950's and early 60's, which included the well known 'A Suffolk Childhood'. In this book he makes reference to Hadleigh aerodrome, but much less well known is an earlier book of autobiography by Muriel published when he was aged 50 in 1959, and under another pseudonym of John Lindsey. In this book the origins of the aerodrome during the first World War are described, and the story of how Muriels father, who was also a John, was appointed to be Medical Officer at the new aerodrome. In the event that his services might be required, it was necessary to install a telephone, but John Muriel had always refused to have one of those new fangled instruments in the house. His resistance crumbled when direct orders were issued from the War Office that the telephone was an absolute requirement.

With the coming of peace once again the opportunities for civilian flying were recognised. Under the provisions of the new Air Navigation Act, approved pilots and their machines were able to ply for hire.

The weekly magazine 'New Illustrated' for the week 10th May 1919 included a feature and a map to explain Great Britain's seven main air routes that were open for civilian flying (see Map). One of the routes as will be seen was from London (Hounslow) to Hadleigh aerodrome, a distance of 733 miles. It is not known if commercial flying took place but one regular user of the aerodrome was the Suffolk Aero Club from 1925 until they moved to Ipswich airport in 1931.

GREAT BRITAIN'S MAIN AIR ROUTES.- under the direction of the Air Ministry the seven main routes here shown over Great Britain and to Ireland are now opened for civilian flying.

Consider that had flying and development continued, Hadleigh today might well rival Heathrow or Gatwick as a major international airport. (I shall now have to stop whilst the next Scheduled Jumbo jet flight takes off for Australia! R.K.)


John Lindsey's autobiography published in 1959 was titled "Still Eastward Bound". In it will be found the further description of Hadleigh aerodrome and the Town. The book also includes a photograph of the High Street looking towards Bridge Street and showing the Palace Cinema (on the site of the present Sue Ryder shop). A search for this book might well be rewarding.


In (last) month's newsletter ...I find Constitution Hill referred to as "Constitutional Hill?? through no fault of the writer's. It was so misnamed by the Ordnance Survey at Southampton during a ground inspection in the 1970's: unfortunately the Urban District Council's Clerk was new to the area and didn't know.

I asked the (Council) at the time to write to the Ordnance Survey to correct the error, which they did, but unfortunately not in time to prevent footpath signposts being cast with the incorrect name. Doubtless future editions of the O.S. map will bear the correct name, Constitution Hill" but in the mean time, it would be helpful for the Hadleigh Society to make the correct name known. Ask anyone old enough to remember and they will confirm that an error has crept in.

(Members pass the word! ED.) Peter Boulton


The Landmark frust is a charity which saves good buildings from neglect or maltreatment and gives them life and purpose. So far they have rescued nearly two hundred, and many of these they write to tell us are employed by letting them for holidays.

It is claimed that in this way a constant succession of different people can actually live, however briefly, in historic buildings of every age and style. By sleeping under its roof they profit far more from a place than by looking at it only; they can study it at leisure, be there early and late, in all lights and weathers, and get the feel of its surroundings. They believe that, by using their buildings thus, the maximum number of people derive the most benefit from them; and many visitors who may come just for a holiday go home with some new interest aroused.

Prices range from under 100 a week for a small place for two people, to over 600 a week in high season for a large property which takes twelve. Further details and handbook of nearly 300 photographs besides maps and plans at 6 per copy may be obtained from The Landmark Trust, Shottesbrooke, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 3SW (Telephone 062-882 5925).


(Venue: East House Hadleigh 8 p.m.)

September 27th   Audrey 'Tyerman will be speaking to us on "Gardening in the 18th century"
November 22nd   An Environmental Group presentation of "Our Local heritage"

We do hope you can join us. All will be welcome.

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Editor: Jim Betteridge Telephone: Hadleigh 825991