Tuesday, 1 December 2009


Welcome to this month’s round-up of local history and heritage in and around Blackmore, Essex.

Christmas Greetings

Blackmore Post Office, on a snowy day in February 2009.

The Making of Modern Britain

Andrew Marr’s prequel to the ‘History of Modern Britain’ is completing its six programme run on BBC television. ‘The Making of Modern Britain’ covers the period from the death of Queen Victoria in 1901 to the end of the Second World War in 1945. Programme 4, which covered the 1920s, is of local interest. Part of the programme is devoted to the development of radio. There is a scene outside the Marconi works at Chelmsford, and the recollection of Dame Nellie Melba’s visit to the town in 1920 to broadcast songs across the wireless. The film then moves to the green at Writtle and village sign to tell how regular weekly broadcasts began in February 1922 in an ex-army hut with the call sign 2MT. The broadcasts were planned in the former Cock and Bell pub, now the Blue Bridge restaurant. Viewers see a shot of this building. E P Eckersley was the first presenter from whom Marr says “Terry Wogan. Late Night Talk Shows and Radio One all began”. An item on 2 Emma Tock (2MT) Writtle appears on the blog this month. Mention was also made that Winston Churchill was returned in the 1920s as a Conservative MP for Epping. This great man appears in every programme, such was his stature in Britain and British politics. The accompanying book is highly recommended to me by a friend.

Gardeners World

Also on TV, Carol Klein charted the role of women in horticulture in a special edition of Gardeners World. She visited Warley Place telling the story of Ellen Wilmott, one of the greatest plants-women of the early twentieth century. The grounds are now in the hands of the Essex Wildlife Trust.

Dudness. Essex. Where is it?

Braisher T (aka Tamsin) wrote recently on http://www.forum.familyhistory.uk.com/showthread.php?t=12269:

“Hi. One of my ancestors is repeatedly listed on censuses as having been born in Dudness, Essex. Web searches only show up other census entries for Dudness - I can't find any reference to a past or present place with this name! Anyone have any ideas?”

… later adding …

“I've found another return for the same ancestor with what looks to be Dodenhurst. So maybe Dudness could be a contraction of Doddinghurst in Brentwood? Or maybe that's just wishful thinking!”

I can actually say with some confidence that the parish in question is Doddinghurst. When my grandfather signed up for a second tour of duty in the Army following the First World War his papers say he was born in “Doddnerst”. (He wasn’t born there but that is not the point.) Put on an Essex accent and you end up with various spellings. Durrant’s Handbook of Essex 1887 – produced in Chelmsford - (p91) refers to “Doddinghurst (often pronounced Dod’n’st)”. Good luck in finding your Duddinghurst ancestors!

High Ongar War Memorial

Thanks to Paul HP, a record of the names on the War Memorial at High Ongar is recorded on ‘Flicker’. Follow this link to Private George William Wright (mistakenly transcribed as C. W. Wright) and others. http://www.flickr.com/photos/harlowirish/2650362307/
The whole set for St Mary’s Church, High Ongar and the War Memorial can be viewed on http://www.flickr.com/photos/harlowirish/sets/72157606060437269/.

‘Harlow Irish’ Essex Sets

Paul HP is a prolific photographer and contributor to ‘Flicker’. He covers the following parishes:
Abbess Roding (St Edmund’s Church): http://www.flickr.com/photos/harlowirish/sets/72157606186424388/
Beauchamp Roding (St Botolph’s Church): http://www.flickr.com/photos/harlowirish/sets/72157606166867196/
Berners Roding (redundant church of All Saints): http://www.flickr.com/photos/harlowirish/sets/72157606167114963/
Fryerning (St Mary the Virgin): http://www.flickr.com/photos/harlowirish/sets/72157605988835733/
Greensted-juxta-Ongar (St Andrew’s Church): http://www.flickr.com/photos/harlowirish/sets/72157606056093562/
High Laver (St Andrew’s Church): http://www.flickr.com/photos/harlowirish/sets/72157606094038559/
Little Laver (St Mary The Virgin): http://www.flickr.com/photos/harlowirish/sets/72157606201886616/
Magdalen Laver (St Mary’s Church): http://www.flickr.com/photos/harlowirish/sets/72157605980880193/
Matching (St Mary The Virgin): http://www.flickr.com/photos/harlowirish/sets/72157606202687060/
Norton Mandeville (All Saints’ Church): http://www.flickr.com/photos/harlowirish/sets/72157606226657703/
Willingale (St Christopher’s Church, Willingale Doe & St Andrew’s Church, Willingale Spain): http://www.flickr.com/photos/harlowirish/sets/72157606073345672/

Finally for the whole Essex collection go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/harlowirish/collections/72157607893278437/

Porter Family in Writtle

Andrea63 on Genes Reunited gives some information about the Porter family of Writtle, who emigrated to Australia, but asks questions about “joining the dots”. See link: http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=418197.msg2837844;topicseen

Blackmore Families Index

Some Blackmore families on the web:
Arthy: http://www.earthy.net/Essex2_census.html
Sutton: http://www.sevenoaksart.co.uk/sutton.htm
Wakelin: http://www.researchmyfamily.com/McGg80.htm
Woolley: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/d.tappin/DataWOOLLEY.htm

William Byrd Biography

Another biography of the local Elizabethan composer of Stondon Massey has appeared on the internet. Go to: http://arts.jrank.org/pages/1058/William-Byrd.html

A Civilian in The Second World War: The Diaries of E J Rudsdale

Eric Rudsdale (1910 – 1951) was a curator at Colchester Castle Museum in Essex. Since the age of 10 he had kept a diary but, feeling that the outbreak of the Second World War was a tumultuous moment decided to maintain regular entries about the north Essex town and its area. “The aim of this blog is to show, through Eric’s observations, how the town and the people he knew were directly affected by war. The diary extracts, therefore, have been edited to reflect this aim and, as Eric did not always write an entry in his diary every day, there are days when no entry appears in this account. Where necessary, short commentaries will be provided to give the historical context for the events he describes in his journal.” Although not in our area this is a ‘Blog of Note’ for all historians and recorders. http://www.wwar2homefront.blogspot.com/

1939 Census

The BBC has reported calls for a census taken on the outbreak of the Second World War to be released. The emergency headcount was taken for the purpose of issuing Identity Cards. After the 1921 census, which is due for release in 2022, genealogists will have to wait a whole generation for more data to be made available. A census was not taken in 1941, and the 1931 census was destroyed by fire. For more on 1939 see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8363341.stm

Essex Police

Martyn Lockwood has written a new book entitled ‘The Essex Police Force’ covering 170 of policing in the county. For more follow: http://www.gazette-news.co.uk/news/4762543.POLICE_FORCE_THROUGH_THE_AGES/

Blackmore Area Local History

This project is now two years old so it is appropriate to take stock and announce plans for 2010.

The database continues to grow with at least 50 pages now on the main website and 350 entries on this blog. Without having a hit counter on this blog it is difficult to know the number of people who visit but in the first year of its operation (to 31 October 2009), the main site http://www.blackmorehistory.co.uk/ received 514 visitors.

Between 2005 and 2008 I was involved in producing scripts for two productions of ‘Through Changing Scenes’ at the churches of Blackmore and Stondon Massey. The event led to the creation of two books: ‘Blackmore. A Short History’ and ‘Stondon Massey. A Short History’ both of which are currently available. These are extended versions of the text used in the performances. These events will not be repeated – because it is right to move on to other projects – but it seems a shame to leave them unpublished. I have decided to add the original scripts to the site. The Blackmore script may be found on http://www.blackmorehistory.co.uk/blackmore_through_changing-scenes.html and the Stondon Massey script on http://www.blackmorehistory.co.uk/stondon_through_changing-scenes.html

Also new to the website is ‘Blackmore. Then and Now’ (http://www.blackmorehistory.co.uk/blackmore_then-and-now.html). This includes copies of postcards I have from the early twentieth century with comparative photographs taken recently.

Until recent years I lived in Ingatestone so I have known of the large houses in Station Lane for a lifetime. These were built by architect George Sherrin who died in 1909. We remember his work on the blog this month with additional pictures now on the Ingatestone page (http://www.blackmorehistory.co.uk/ingatestone.html).

Plans for the website for the next year include:
- uploading photographs taken in Ingatestone High Street in 1985
- creating a series of pages called ‘Blackmore. The Library Collection’ which will feature photographs I received from a collector who had a display in the former Blackmore local library back in the 1980s.

The blog will continue with local history news and feedback from readers. I am not planning new online projects for publication next year because I want to spend some time “off line” pursuing an historical topic.

Over the years (since 2004) I have written a number of booklets for sale in aid of church funds at Blackmore and Stondon Massey. Some sell well whilst others languish on the bookstall for months. I have decided to confine publications to a shortlist of best sellers. The final shortlist will appear on this blog soon. I am considering the publication some of the more obscure, but nonetheless interesting, material online.

The purpose of ‘Blackmore Area Local History’ is to share knowledge of local heritage. It is always a pleasure to receive contributions, comments and questions from readers. The worldwide web is a fabulous resource and means of sharing and encouraging further research. The Internet has opened opportunities for contact to be made from people all over this planet – from people in America and Australia, to other places in Essex as well as literally around the corner to where I live.

Thanks for visiting the sites. Enjoy!


For an extensive list of links to other sites go to: http://www.blackmorehistory.co.uk/externallinks.html

1 comment:

Julie Sparke said...

My nans name was Nellie porter and had the Cafe at Norton Heath on the 414. Her husbands name was Syney but he wasn't around for very long. If anyone has any information about them I would be eternally grateful.
She came from Stapleford Tawney but I have no idea about him. She adopted my mother who also grew up in the cafe .
Thank you Julie Sparke