Friday, 31 August 2012


Memories of the Olympics: Tower Bridge (4 August 2012)

Welcome to this month’s round-up of local history and heritage in and around Blackmore, Essex.   … and welcome to our new look page layout thanks for the Blogger!

Willingale Bells

Six bells rang out for the first time on 27 May 2012, the day when the newly augmented peal was dedicated.  See

Successful History Event

Ingatestone United Reformed Church, in association with the local Historical Society, hosted a history event linked with its 200th anniversary on 14 & 15 July.  On display were a number of old village photographs and other memorabilia.  The event was the official launch of an e-book written by Chris Harvey to commemorate the anniversary.  A large number of people attended.

Ingatestone stone dislodged

One of the ancient ice-age stones on the corner of Fryerning Lane, which gives the village its name, was dislodged when a delivery lorry collided with it on 21 July 2012.  The stone awaits resetting. See

Olympic connection with Railway Museum

The East Anglian Railway Museum, at Chappel and Wakes Colne, can claim two links with the Olympic Games.  One of their steam engines, currently on loan to the Churnet Valley Railway, was built at the Temple Field works site in Stratford in 1924.  Temple Fields made way for the Olympic Park beside the Liverpool Street London railway line.  The other link is that Blur, the Indie Band, performed their first gig at the Museum back in 1989. Blur, now re-formed, was one of the artists involved in the Closing Ceremony of the Games on 12 August inasmuch that their song ‘Parklife’ was included as a quirky cover version. (They performed 'live' at the Mayor of London's gig at Hyde Park that evening.)

The museum itself tells the story of the railways in the local area.  Its collection includes the two Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) which were used on the Stour Valley Line until the 1980s.  signal boxes rescued from local lines are also preserved.  The Museum is the current resting place for a three-car electric train (Class 306 017) which was in service from London Liverpool Street to Shenfield and Chelmsford from 1949 to 1980 (see  There is a relatively new exhibition space.  Worth a visit.  See

Local news connection with the Olympic Games

The Red Arrows flew over the Olympic Park about 45 minutes before the opening ceremony on 27 July.  We heard the roar of them over the houses in Blackmore on their return journey.  They had long gone by the time we had raced into the garden.

Earlier that day a family went to Blackmore Church to ring the church bells, and participate in Martin Creed's project 'Work No. 1197'.  Across that country at 8.12am that day everyone was encouraged to ring bells as loud and fast as possible for three minutes.  Welcome to Britain everyone!

Followers of tennis may remember a young lad giving Andy Murray a congratulatory hug after winning a gold medal.  The 11 year old Henry Caplan comes from Blackmore. (see

The London 2012 Olympics was a triumph both in its organisation and the success of the athletes.  It was a hugely memorable Festival for those who were lucky enough to get tickets and enjoy the site afterwards.  Local people were among the 70000 Games Makers who made the whole event so pleasurable for spectators. 

Epping and Ongar Railway brings visitors to Ongar

Trade in Ongar and North Weald has increased thanks to an influx of tourists coming to the newly opened Epping and Ongar Railway. The attraction is running an old London bus (christened the 339 route) from Harlow to North Weald on event days. See

William Byrd

Stondon Massey Church has a copy of the original Will of William Byrd, composer, in which he expresses a wish to be buried in the churchyard of the Parish where he lived.  The congregation will be welcoming The Cardinall’s Musick to two concerts at the church on 2 September. The event is a sell-out.  Separately another website has published the Will:  For more information on William Byrd visit

Essex Record Office celebrates Heritage Weekend

The county’s archive resource is throwing open its doors for a special event on Saturday 8 September to mark Heritage Weekend.  Their keynote speaker is family history expert Nick Barratt, radio and ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ fame.  Any information I glean will be posted on the website.  For more, and to see Nick Barratt in aeries of videos, go to

Writtle Calling

To celebrate the 90th anniversary of 2MT, Britain’s first radio station, enthusiasts are mounting  recreation series of broadcasts starting 11 September.  For more go to

Essex Voices

A Great Dunmow based history website: Essex Voices, is a resource of note.  Here is an illustration of how Queen Mary was confused with Mary Queen of Scots, the Catholic, executed at Fotheringhay:  Go to the ‘home page’ to find the latest entries:

Brentwood & Shenfield history

 War Memorial unveiled at Ongar Medical Centre

A ceremony to unveil a War Memorial at the new Ongar Medical Centre was held on 10 May 2012.  It contains the names of those who died from the local area, predominantly during the First World War.  It replaces the War Memorial which existed in the former building, the War Memorial Hospital, which occupied this site.  A separate post will feature this event.

Doddinghurst War Memorial

A War Memorial tablet to those who died in the First World War at Doddinghurst is sited in All Saints Church.  (see

I have now completed the work to provide a tribute page online for all of those named.  New pages are available on ‘Blackmore Area Local History’ for:

Pages have already been set up for Herbert Miller, Gerald Wellesley Pigott, James Roast and Harry Riglin because their names also appear on the War Memorial at Blackmore.

Commonplace Book of Edward Reeve

The complete series of posts can be viewed by following this link:

Chelmsford City

The county town now has official City status, conferred by HM Queen Elizabeth II in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee.

Blackmore Church photos

Some interesting photographs of St Laurence Church Blackmore have appeared, taken by a visitor on a Teas In The Tower day:

In brief

Still for sale – The Bull, Blackmore:

For an extensive list of links to other sites go to:  

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