The Hadleigh SocietyDec 1999
Newsletter Index Up Jan 1999 Apr 1999 Jun 1999 Aug 1999 Oct 1999 Dec 1999


Inside this Issue

Supermarket Saga

Hadleigh 30 Years Ago

Good Wishes

The Hadleigh Archive

100 Pictures from the Hadleigh Archives

Next Meeting - Are you being heard?

John Bloomfield, your Chairman

‘What Did You Do In The War, John?’

Supermarket Saga

Town Council verdict

Since our last Newsletter the Town Council has considered Tesco’s plans for the riverside site. Despite a move by the site developers, Litman Robeson, to put a strange spin on the results of the Town Poll, only one councillor voted in favour, giving a very clear signal to the District Council.

Plus ça change…

Meanwhile Tesco has submitted a set of revised plans and made corresponding revisions to the original so that two identical sets of applications are now on file. This manoeuvre ensures that they can raise an appeal without stalling the process.

Deadline Draws Near for Babergh

It seems likely that Babergh District councillors will consider the applications in January, by which time the Council will have received the report it commissioned on retail and traffic implications.

The Hadleigh Society Keeps On Top Of It

Since the first news of Tesco’s intentions last Spring members of the Hadleigh Society Executive have put in hundreds of hours studying the whole set of issues.

This has enabled us to inform you and the general public as the situation has developed. The costs involved are being met from a ‘Fighting Fund’. We have received single donations of as much as £100, and the generous response at the November meeting yielded nearly £120 in one evening but there is still a shortfall to be met and the struggle is by no means over! We will continue to welcome your assistance in whatever form.

The Hadleigh Society Conclusion

We recently reached the stage when we needed to report our findings to the District Council. The resultant document was submitted at the end of November and runs to 22 pages, concluding as follows:

bulletTesco has failed to prove the need for a Supermarket of the size proposed.
bulletEven though the High street might be able to cope with the 30% increase in traffic, the introduction of traffic lights would be an unacceptable urbanisation of a medieval street. This latest amendment is entirely out of character with the conservation area, recognised as being of outstanding merit.
bulletThe proposal conflicts with the detail of the present local plan in some twenty-five areas, and is totally contradictory to the consultation proposals for Amendment 2 to the Local Plan.
bulletThe archaeological potential of the chosen site is recognised as highly significant.
bulletThe Buyright site provides a far less damaging solution which will, as the Persimmon development grows, be increasingly surrounded by housing, whereas the hinterland to the West of the Tesco site is designated as farming land.
bulletThe town’s residents have overwhelmingly rejected Tesco’s proposals.

Meanwhile Over At Buyright

An important factor in the development of the whole issue has been the plans submitted for the development of the Buyright site. Many of us in the Hadleigh Society doubt that this proposal will be for the overall good of the town, but the Executive Committee is unanimous in recommending it as far less damaging than any likely alternative.

We are waiting for the completion of a more detailed traffic analysis before making any formal observations to the District Council.

Hadleigh 30 Years Ago

From the Hadleigh Guide, published by the Hadleigh Urban District Council in 1969 when the population was estimated to be 4,640.

The Draft Town Plan at that time ‘envisages a population growth to 8,500 by 1981. The County Planning Authority produced proposals for a conservation area to cover the town centre. The proposals ‘envisage a rear service road to the east of and parallel with the High Street linking two new car parks which will remove the present clutter of cars from the main street.’ Coupled with this were ‘the Urban District Council’s proposals for the Market Place … the redevelopment of land through to Duke Street as a shopping area and the creation of an open paved area on the site of the existing bus station. The whole area, including the roadway which now exists would become pedestrian only.’

Hadleigh 1969, continued -

‘The following is a list of clubs and associations in the town. An index of organisations is kept at the Council Offices.’ How would this compare with today’s list?

  1. Amateur Dramatic Society
  2. Army Cadet Unit
  3. Badminton Club
  4. Barbell Club
  5. Bowls Club
  6. British Legion
  7. British Red Cross Society
  8. Chamber of Commerce
  9. Choral Society
  10. Conservative and Unionist Association (Hadleigh Political Committee)
  11. Conservative Association (Hadleigh Men’s Branch)
  12. Conservative Association (Hadleigh Women’s Branch)
  13. Cricket Club
  14. Dixon Dart League
  15. Elderly People’s Friendly Club
  16. Farmers’ Club and Agricultural Association
  17. Four Sisters Fencing Club
  18. Fur & Feather Society
  19. Hadleigh & District Angling Society
  20. Hadleigh & District Girl Guides and Brownies
  21. Hadleigh & District Ladies’ Circle - No. 831.
  22. Hadleigh & District Sports Development Council
  23. Hadleigh & Ipswich Women’s Co-operative Guild
  24. Hadleigh Hockey Club
  25. Hadleigh Rifle Club
  26. 1st Hadleigh Scout Group
  27. Hadleigh Horticultural Society
  28. Liberal Association (Hadleigh Branch)
  29. Local Labour’ Club
  30. Model Aero Club
  31. Naturalists Society
  32. Ratepayers & Residents Association
  33. Round Table Hadleigh & District No. 739
  34. Tennis Club
  35. Trefoil Guild
  36. United Football Club
  37. Women’s Institute
  38. Young Farmers’ Club
  39. Youth Club

On the business side

‘Present industry consists of’

  1. mat making,
  2. carpet weaving and distribution,
  3. sailmaking,
  4. malting,
  5. corn milling,
  6. printing,
  7. agricultural engineering,
  8. bottling and canning engineering,
  9. clothing manufacturing,
  10. horsehair processing,
  11. educational film production,
  12. precision turning,
  13. manufacture of ceiling board,
  14. concentrated fragrances and essences,
  15. display stands,
  16. furniture,
  17. agility equipment,
  18. steel shelving,
  19. concrete blocks, and
  20. fuel storage tanks.

Good Wishes

for The Millennium’s First Christmas; and for the coming one. John Griffin.

George Orwell (of Anima1 Farm fame) once wrote witty and pithy instructions on making a good cup of tea: the BSI (British Standards Institute) has now won a prize for an up-to-date, 5,000 word instruction brochure. Thinking along the lines of the familiar principle, ‘Never attempt to teach grandma how to suck eggs’, here are my much briefer suggestions for Christmas.

It is now far too late to begin planning for Christmas ‘99: bear in mind that June 24th (midsummer’s day) is the festival of St. John Baptist, whose mission was to prepare the way of the Lord, so ordinary citizens must not allow the commercial world to steal a march upon them, as it customarily does. Potential Christmas presents are much cheaper at the Summer Sales and, with long hours of daylight, there is ample time to window shop while making considered selections. But rule (1) is first ensure there is safe and adequate storage for them: if necessary ‘Pull down your barns and build greater.’ However, bear in mind that Christmas will still lie six months ahead; leaving ample time for either donor or recipient to die in the interval, ‘And then’, as the Master said, ‘whose will they be then?’

Rule (2), Take note of any rumoured plans by the Chancellor to increase alcohol duty in his next budget: the necessary drink can thus be purchased in good time. But do store it properly: wine should be laid on its side to prevent corks from drying out. Especially does this apply to anything with some fizz in it. If there is nothing else to rejoice about flat drink leads to a very flat Christmas festival.

Rule (3). The actual date of Jesus Christ’s birth is not known. December 25th was eventually chosen as a suitable date, because it was a well-established pagan midwinter festival of the proverbial beer and skitt1es variety, and marked the shortest day. Christians decided there was need to consider who, and whose principles, should be chosen to lead members into the year ahead. That choice remains for us: and of course there is no need to wait until Christmas 2000.

Rule (4). Ley lines are a network of telepathic lines of communication established by psychics in prehistory. Their ‘Telephone Kiosks’ are mostly within sighting distance of one another; if not, marker posts were erected to direct their aim. Because these sites were later abused the Christian community cleaned them up, and planted a church on each. It is important that such buildings and their lines of communication are maintained in a ‘clean’ condition. This is done by using them regularly for Christian worship. Our Christian forebears lived in a world of superstition and magic, to which we seem to be returning. Because they knew a thing or two about how to frustrate its potential effects upon the morally colour blind, attention was directed away from the gods of human creation, and towards the life of the God of gods. Hence the conversion of the midwinter festival to Christian worship. And, as St. Paul wrote to Timothy, ‘Take a little wine for your stomach’s sake’, and some Christmas pud won’t come amiss either! A very happy celebration of Christmas to all readers.

The Hadleigh Archive

The Archive houses approximately 12,000 documents, the earliest of which is dated to the thirteenth century. They focus upon the town of Hadleigh and relate to:

bulletthe various uses of the Guildhall / Town Hall complex
bulletthe weekly markets and annual fairs
bulletGeorge Street and Benton Street almshouses and their tenants
bulletadministration of various charities including lists of recipients
bulletcharity properties in the town and fourteen surrounding parishes
bulletthe town as a corporate borough during the seventeenth century
bulletother civil authorities forming the town’s local government over the centuries
bulleteducation in Hadleigh
bulletmiscellaneous events over the past 300 years.

There are also maps. surveys and a large number of photographs, including the National Building Record of 1962.

Copies of the parish registers and the medieval court rolls of the Manor of Hadleigh are available on microfilm or microfiche.

Through the work of the Hadleigh Society History Group, census details for the years 1841, 1871 and 1881 are held in a computer database.

The aims of the Archive are:

bulletto conserve precious and irreplaceable original documents.
bulletto make them widely available for study by all people wanting to use them.

To this end, two groups of volunteers are currently working on the Archive.

On Tuesday evenings, historically valuable 16th and 17th century records are being transcribed and made available in typed form.

On Wednesday mornings, documents are being conserved and the Archive catalogue is being updated and computerised in order to give easier access to researchers.

A postal service is available for photocopies of documents and for printouts of computer images. Prices are available on application.

Advance appointment by telephone is recommended for all visitors as our Archive Room can only accommodate three researchers at a time.

Please contact the Joint Town Archivist Sue Andrews at home: 01449 740673.

Opening times: Every Thursday 2 - 4 p.m. or by special arrangement.

It would be advisable for those interested in Family History to follow the usual lines of research in the Suffolk Record Office at Bury St Edmunds (tel: 01284 352352) before making a visit to the Hadleigh Archive.

100 Pictures from the Hadleigh Archives

presented to the Hadleigh Society on 23rd November by Joe Byrne.

Our talks are always well attended but over the past ten years only a few meetings have ‘topped the ton’, and the common feature has been a ‘Picture Show’. Peter Boulton’s ‘Hadleigh Picture Show’ retains its lead with 120 people but Joe Byrne proved the attraction of the formula last month with an audience of 105.

He recounted how The Hadleigh Archive had its origins in the ‘fifties’ when a number of old documents were retrieved from a cupboard at Toppesfield Hall, then the Hadleigh UDC offices.

In 1963 Mr Grimwade, a Hadleigh solicitor, died, leaving a large number of documents. The majority of these went to the Bury record office but those relating to Hadleigh charities remained in the town and were added to the archive.

This was in the days of the Urban District Council when there was a Muniments Committee. That committee produced the first catalogue, with about 1800 entries, many of which were of bundles of documents not individually catalogued. In 1974, with local government reorganisation, the documents passed into the care of the Hadleigh Town Council and moved around the town with the council offices. After the renovations to the Guildhall Complex they moved to their present location in what had once been the town’s fire station.

Some four years ago Joe and a group of other volunteers started to extend the catalogue and today there are nearly 14,000 entries. The new catalogue has been created using a specially purchased computer system, largely funded by the Friends of the Guildhall.

All the pictures in the archive have been scanned into the computer together with many others that have been loaned for that purpose. Altogether there are now over a thousand images, which can be viewed on screen and printed onto paper or transparencies. Joe went on to give us a glimpse of transparencies from just a tenth of that collection.

Several of the pictures came from postcards, like the one here. The large building on the right was once Hadleigh’s own department store, subsequently used to keep chickens before being demolished.

We cannot do justice to it here but there are plans to show the pictures to the Friends of the Guildhall next year so if you missed the first show keep a look out for that one.

Next Meeting - Are you being heard?

On Tuesday 8th February 2000, usual place, usual time, the new Chief Executive of Babergh District Council, Mrs Pat Barnes will ask how well Babergh DC is listening to local people. Please note the change of date, moved back a week from 1st February.

John Bloomfield, your Chairman

In a series profiling the members of the Hadleigh Society Executive Committee.

John grew up in Hadleigh between the Wars. His wartime interest in aircraft predestined that he joined the RAF as soon as he was old enough to fly. In a career as an air electronics officer spanning thirty-one years he specialised for a time, in underwater acoustics and Soviet submarines and eventually ‘landed’ in the Directorate of Training (Flying) in the MOD. Parallel with his service career he became interested in small historic buildings, giving courses for the Field Studies Council and the (then) University of Cambridge Board of Extra Mural Studies as well as running a consultancy on vernacular architecture that took him to many parts of the country. Together with the Revd Canon John Griffin he helped found the Hadleigh Society in 1982, realising that Hadleigh was historically very significant but was under threat from insensitive treatment. He believes passionately that the character of Hadleigh, from its buildings to its educational and cultural life, is special and that we all have an obligation to future generations to help guide its evolution, using the highest possible standards.

‘What Did You Do In The War, John?’

as recounted to the Hadleigh Society by John Kersey on l4th October 1999.

John was born in April 1935 and lived at 155 George Street Hadleigh for the duration of World War II. In fact, he lived there for his first 60 years. He was almost 4½ when the war started and 10 at its end.

John had an interesting war with his father in the A.R.P and number ‘155’ being a Warden’s post. His father was also Food Officer for Hadleigh and the old Cosford R.D.C. His uncle Bob was in the local Royal Observer Corps; mother was a Londoner and had family and relations living in the capital during ‘the blitz’.

One theme developed during John’s talk was how closely knit rural, feudal, Hadleigh of the 1930’s had its collective mind and life broadened by the groups of strangers who came into the town - evacuees, British Servicemen and, of course, the Americans.

School played a big part in John’s life and, as John says, he would liked to have spent more time during his talk on comparing school life in the 1940’s with that of the 1990’s.

There was some repartee between John and Chairman John Bloomfield as they had many parallel experiences of life as youngsters in Hadleigh during the war years.

The title of John’s talk was conjured up from his being asked this question by a young lady at work - to which he replied, "I joined the choir!"