The Hadleigh SocietyJune 2006
Newsletter Index Up Mar 2006 June 2006 Nov 2006


If you want to see the newsletter in printed format here's a PDF version

Hadleigh Airfield

Until recently, if you drove to Ipswich from Hadleigh via station Road, after passing Pond Hall and climbing the hill, on the left you would see two wooden chalet bungalows, called No1 and No 2 Aerodrome cottages. To the North of these cottages the flat area bounded to the North by woodland was a ‘Forward Operating Base’ for The Royal Flying Corps in the First World War. However, in 1926, due to the enthusiasm of an ex RFC bomber pilot, Courtney M Prentice, by now a successful businessman in Stowmarket, the Suffolk (and Eastern Counties) Aeroplane Club was formed. In February 1927 the Club bought its first aeroplane, a Blackburn Bluebird soon followed by three more aircraft. In 1928 an Easter Air Display was arranged, the programme for which encouraged potential pilots to learn to fly ‘which would enable you to fly to Australia in 16 days – for fifty five pounds!’

The Club grew rapidly and became a feature in the air calendar of the somewhat exclusive world of private flying. The Hon Lady Bailey of Leeds Castle in Kent agreed to become president and would attend meetings flying in with her friend Mrs De Thailand, whose husband subsequently designed the first jet airliner   The 1929 Kings Cup Air race used Hadleigh airfield as a turning point with judges appointed from club members, whilst in the same year an air taxi service was started from Hadleigh to Cambridge, new clubhouses having been completed to provide a suitable terminal at both locations. 

The Club was sufficiently well established to be asked to run the new Ipswich Airport. On 26th June 1930 on its completion the Club moved there after having sold its Hadleigh clubhouse and hanger to Ipswich Borough Council, for re-erection at Ipswich. The hanger was demolished relatively recently when Ipswich Borough decided to turn the airport into a housing estate, depriving the town and the area of a much-needed facility in the modern world.  However, dependent on one’s point of view matters could have been better or worse, for in 1919 a far sighted government committee was considering internal air routes and those to the continent in which Hadleigh featured, along with Hounslow (London), Filton (Bristol), Sheffield, North Shotwick (Liverpool), Doncaster, Newcastle and Edinburgh. So Hadleigh nearly became another Stansted!

John Bloomfield

Editor’s note: Our July 1989 Newsletter also featured an account of the Hadleigh Aerodrome.  You can find it on our website.

Noel Turner Award

Nominations are invited from any member of the Hadleigh Society for an award to be made in recognition of ‘Outstanding improvements to, or conservation of, Hadleigh’s buildings or environment’

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 work to display a high quality of workmanship and to be an example of good practice.

Nominations should include details of the improvement made or of work carried out and should be sent to the Hon. Secretary.

horizontal rule

Next Event

On Wednesday 16th August Pip Wright, who last year entertained us on the subject of Suffolk Witches, returns to talk about Transportation in Suffolk.  Convicts that is, not convoys.

Ruby and Her Horses

In partnership with the Friends of Hadleigh Guildhall we are staging a special event on Friday 1st September. The evening starts at 7.30pm for 8pm. Tickets are £7.50, a glass of wine included and are available from Idler Book Shop or Jan Byrne 01743 822192.

This show, Ruby and Her Horses is of true life stories from the age of agricultural depression much of which is centred around Ruby's love and adventures with horses in these hard days. A time when you could walk on land from Cambridge to Clacton that nobody would take and as Ruby said 'if you hadn't got anything you were lucky for sooner or later you would loose it and you had not the worry of it.' The songs are sung by Andrew in his fine nut brown Suffolk voice whilst Neil tells the stories just at Ruby told them. Although this is only their fourth booking 'the boys' have already had excellent reviews as follows:

‘An excellent show. The Bumpstead Boys gave us a full evening of stories, humour and local songs, accompanied by a wonderful range of photos projected onto a screen with themes to match the songs. Full of personal touches, the technical quality was excellent. To provide a perfect balance to the evening, Andrew has a fine voice whether singing unaccompanied or with the 2 squeeze boxes in action. We are hoping to attract them to Lavenham again soon.’ Jim Keohane LAVENHAM LIFE

 ‘An evening that many described as quite brilliant. A magnificent range of photographs all taken at the time by Ruby on her box brownie now digitalised and shown on the big screen took us back to the ways and attributes of the period between and before the two great world wars. These produced a range of emotions from sadness to side splitting laughter. This should not be missed - excellent entertainment.’ Eddie Kench THE BOX RIVER NEWS

 ‘A special evening - delightful’ Barry Peters Editor WEST SUFFOLK NEWSPAPERS

 Bought at Lavenham Horse Fair, Roxanne the trotting mare. She trotted the five miles from Hadleigh Market to Boxford in 11 minutes to beat an automobile and pay for herself with the wager won.

The Hadleigh Corset Factory

Roger Kennell has amassed an impressive collection of information about Hadleigh.  To show that he's not just an expert on bricks, at our meeting on 24th May he wove the story of Hadleigh's corset factory, which was based in the Old Town Hall from about 1904 to 1925 and was an outpost of Pretty & Son of Ipswich.  From 50 to 100 young women, including girls from 13, worked at rows of sewing machines for 3 shillings a day. We learned about ladies fashions a hundred years ago, about William Pretty and his son, and about our Guildhall in an earlier age. Ater the factory closed the town decided to reclaim its hall for town business and had the plaster removed to reveal the fine timbers we see today.

Roger has produced a small book on the subject and would be pleased to hear of any more anecdotes from this time. We look forward to his return next year to talk of some Men of Hadleigh.

Nomination Form

to be held at Hadleigh Town Hall on Wednesday 28th June 2006 at 8 pm.

Society members are invited to make nominations for service on the Society’s Executive Committee for the year following the Annual General Meeting in the following capacities:

Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Treasurer or Secretary

or as one of six Committee members.

All posts are honorary and seconded nominations must reach the Society’s Secretary by 14th June 2006.

To:          The Honorary Secretary, The Hadleigh Society, c/o 106 High Street, Hadleigh, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP7 5EL (Telephone: 01473 822192)


I nominate the following for service on the Executive Committee of The Hadleigh Society for the year 2006/2007.


Position Nominated

Name of Seconder





























In each case the nominee has agreed to stand.

You may copy this form or write your own letter to The Honorary Secretary
so long as you include the necessary details.



The 24th Annual General Meeting of The Hadleigh Society is to be held in Hadleigh Old Town Hall on Wednesday 28th June 2006 at 8 p.m. and all members are invited to attend


1.     Apologies for absence

2.     Minutes of the 23rd Annual General Meeting

3.     Treasurer’s Report

4.     History Group Report

5.     Planning Report

6.     Society Representation on Other Bodies

7.     Chair’s Review

8.     Election of Officers and Executive Committee Members

Cheese and wine to be served with other refreshments

The AGM was reported in the August 2005 Newsletter and the Minutes can be found on our website.  Copies will also be available at the Meeting, together with the Annual Accounts.

Your Committee Needs You

If you’re interested in becoming a member of the Executive Committee and would like to talk about what is involved then please phone the Honorary Secretary, Jan Byrne, on 822192, or any other committee member.