The Hadleigh SocietyDec 1996
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Newsletter December 1996

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Articles in this months Issue

  1. A Christmas Message from the Chairman
  2. Hadleigh Town Archives
  3. The Hadleigh Society Noel Turner Awards
  4. We can now print photos
  5. Files Study Group
  6. Guildhall Garden's Gold Award
  7. No Comment
  8. Hadleigh Past
  9. New Style News Letter
  10. Next Society Meetings

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A Christmas Message from the Chairman

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Constant Vigilance

Recent events in Hadleigh have again focused on why there is a need for organisations such as our own society and the Hadleigh Residents Group, who called the very well attended public meeting. It was a good opportunity for Hadleigh residents to air their views over the loss of a little more of that which makes Hadleigh that little bit special, the underlying fear that unless there is more constructive thinking about the longer term effect of some so called developments, 'progress' will erode the essence of the town's character, despite the efforts of many well meaning people.

In passing, it is difficult to imagine a gravestone on which an individual's life can more damningly be described as 'he meant well!': Those who remember Sid Brown, (Sidney Brown Court) told me that he wouldn't mind the epithet 'He was all right, but…!',so far as Sid is concerned the'but ' is entirely superfluous he was a good bloke!

To be criticised for having followed the correct procedures shows an interesting slant on the forms of local representation and possibly illustrates the current view of the activities of politicians at all levels, but if the Society and its associates (HRG) who together represent a pretty wide cross section of Hadleigh as a whole, wish to retain the character of the town and enhance all that is good in it, constant vigilance is essential, with an obligation on those representatives to go out and find what local opinion is, rather than work by default.

In exercising 'constant vigilance' it is clear that the procedures that currently exist for changing a door or putting on a small extension or dormer are clearly not appropriate for an application which affects a major feature of the town. Barely three weeks to register the arguments for or against a proposal which has clearly been under consideration for months if not years, leaves the Society appearing to be counter-constructive. Moreover, whereas the Hadleigh Society has an obligation to the town, no such obligation exists in the mind of any developer, who having obtained his pound of flesh is rarely seen again unless he finds more carrion to feed on.

When someone does work on Hadleigh in a few years time, I'm sure that the question will be asked 'how could they be so short sighted about matters of such significance?' Difficult to answer, in fact I fear that there is no answer, save to say that even with people of goodwill all doing their jobs properly, there should be some mechanism which says 'Hang on a minute. Is this really doing justice to our heritage? Is this really what we want to leave for future generations.' In this case is it one of old buildings versus old people? If we are concerned with the quality of life for our citizens who have contributed in their way, a lifetime to us all, then what does it matter if we take a little more in finance or time to get it right?

More consultation at the preliminary stages of any project would draw people together more and a re-run of the latest incident might be avoided. Those who don't learn from their mistakes may be forced to let their children and their children's children judge them by those mistakes.

John Bloomfield


Hadleigh Town Archives

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Congratulations to Society member Sue Andrews on her recent appointment, by the Town Council, as joint Archivist. She joins Cyril Cook who, together with the late WAB Jones ( the Society's first President), not only helped form the Hadleigh Society but has acted as Guardian of the towns archives for many years now. Back

The Hadleigh Society Noel Turner Award

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Nominations are invited from the Society members for an Award to be made in recognition of 'Outstanding improvements to, or conservation of, Hadleigh buildings or environment'.

Members should bear in mind that in deciding to make an Award the Society's Executive Committee and any expert they may wish to consult, will be considering how sympathetic the work is with its surroundings and how well it integrates with them. They will expect all works to be complete and to display a high quality of workmanship and be an example of good practice.

Nominations should include details of the improvements made or of work carried out and should be sent to reach the Hon. Secretary, The Hadleigh Society, 16 Highlands Road, Hadleigh, Suffolk IP7 5HU by 1st February, 1997.


We can now print photos

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In our new format we can include photos in the newsletter and would be most grateful for any contributions from members. Pictures need not be part of an article (although that would be nice) and will be returned after scanning.

We also intend to put the newsletter on the Internet where pictures will be in colour and will hopefully interest people world wide in our little historic town.


Files Study Group

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Nine Society members attended the inaugural meeting of the Hadleigh Files Group on 19th September at which Graham Panton was appointed Chairman and Martin Freeth Secretary. The group decided to accept the challenge of publicising Pigot's 1857 book of Hadleigh on the Internet. In aid of St. Mary's Church Appeal, whilst continuing to keep the existing information up to date on the World Wide Web.

Anyone interested is welcome to come to the next meeting of the group to be held at 94 Benton Street, Hadleigh on Wednesday 4th December at 8 p.m. Contact Graham Panton on 01473 823503 for further details.


Guildhall Garden's Gold Award

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When the Friends of the Guildhall entered the Babergh/Co-op Environmental Challenge and were fortunate to receive a grant towards the Gardens at the Guildhall, it wasn't realized that there was more to come.

The eight entries in the challenge were later judged in order of merit and the Guildhall Garden came TOP being given the GOLD AWARD together with a further 100!

The Friends are grateful to everyone who has helped in some way with this project, but special thanks must go to Hattie Bawden and our 'apprentice bricklayer' Richard Westwell who have done so much work on the garden.

The winner of the Silver Award was Chelmondiston Parish council and third was St. Nicholas Church, Wattisham who received cheques for 50 and 25 respectively.

This is not the end of the story. Work has started again on the rose arbor, the maze and the area beside the caretaker's accommodation which still has to be done. However, we are planning a grand opening next summer!

Jane Haylock


Hadleigh Past

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Gracious buildings line the roads.
Ancient courtyards with buildings now deposed
the Wool Merchants houses, where wealth was made
Over the years, it seems that Hadleigh has decayed,
Where are the factories where our fathers toiled,
The flour mill and the silos, the railway, now spoiled
New houses, luxury mews, and in moved the planners.
What of our past, our history, have these people no manners.
The Guildhall, the Deanery, the Church in all its glory,

Now to this we must admit is quite a different story.
Help has been given, and these buildings now repaired,
So better than the Mills and Silos, they did fare.
We had a Silk mill, where children were put to work
What is it now but a large heap of brick and dirt.
Did we want too lose this history, this historical place.
No!, it was out of our hands, the planners won the race.
Houses and flats, will go up fast, will this compensate,
for losing our past?




No Comment

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Members will have watched with 'moist eyes'
the demolition of the old Silk Mill, consoled only in the knowledge that the scheme proposed re-using some of the reclaimed materials. So imagine how puzzled we were to see bricks and slates being trucked away.
Rumor has it that these were sold by the contractor in error and that suitable soft reds have had to be acquired from another source at their expense. 'Oh deary me!'Back

New style Newsletter

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It is hoped you like the new look Newsletter which comes to you thanks largely to Martin Freeth and Graham Panton, our new-age whizz kids, (who are publishing & printing the document entirely on computer), to say nothing of Tina Fordwych, Paul Garrod and Ben Allen and others who get the copies out to your homes. Back Next Society Meetings

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Programme For 1997 The programme for 1997 has been completed and thanks to the efforts of the chairman, we are pleased to provide the information below also on a pocket programme card for your convenience. Venue: Hadleigh Old Town Hall from 8 p.m. (unless otherwise specified)

Tuesday 28th January 'Lavenham - The Story of a Suffolk Wool Town' Fred Bridges
Thursday 13th March 'Early Motoring in Suffolk' John Bridges
Tuesday 29th April 'Tracing the History of Houses' Sue Andrews
Thursday 26th June Annual General Meeting
Tuesday 12th August 'Old Hadleigh Picture Show' Richard Ward
Wednesday 1st October 'The execution of Sarah Lloyd for a Benton Street robbery' Clive Pain
Tuesday 25th November 'Hadleigh in War & Peace from 1939' Peter Branch

Editor Jim Betteridge

Printed by The Framestore, Back