onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003

 

Archive for History and Culture

When There Was a Blacksmith In Rayleigh Town Centre….

chequers pub

For April, Rayleigh Through The Looking Glass looks at the Chequers Pub that used to be where M&Co is now, in Rayleigh High Street. There was a  blacksmith’s behind it…

On A Positive Note….

http://www.matsmithphotography.com/

http://www.matsmithphotography.com/

To strike a positive chord, BBC Radio 3 recently featured a classical musical composer from Essex. This was the first programme in a series about female British composers under the age of 35.

The composer concerned is Cheryl Frances-Hoad, and you can hear the programme here for another 18 days. It’s a interview that features some of her music. It begins with two short pieces inspired by the London Olympics- one for sailing, and one for Table Tennis.

Tell Me More , Tell Me More!

hockley woods cinema

cinema

Having a few open air cinema evenings in our district sounds quite an exciting idea – at least in principle. Under its “Commercialisation” heading the District Council is allowing Essex Outdoor Cinema to hold events in Sweyne Park and Hockley Woods this year:

June 6th – Hockley Woods – Shakespeare in Love
June 7th Hockley Woods – Film TBC
August 15th – Sweyne Park, Rayleigh – Grease

The Sweyne Park event wasn’t discussed with the ward councillors nor with the Friends of Sweyne Park. We have asked for information about numbers of tickets (these are ticket-only events) and other issues like car parking, toilets, noise levels and specific location in the park. When we have the answers we’ll do an update. (We have also asked RDC to contact the Friends Group over this.)

UPDATE 6 PM FRIDAY:
We’ve received the following information today from RDC:

Essex Outdoor Cinema (EOC) is the organisation producing the event. They will supply all infrastructure including stewards, security, fencing, First Aid, litter picking, toilets, and temporary exit lighting. The event is produced at no cost to the Council except some Officer time to assist with joint promotion and providing advice around health and safety and event management. Risk Assessments and Event Management plans have been received from EOC and will be presented at a Safety Advisory Group.

Working with Essex Outdoor Cinema on the promotion of the event is important as the arrangement is that Box Office income is shared equally between the organisation and the Council.
This event has come about through an initiative at the Council for employees to come up with ideas that might generate income and further corporate priorities – in this case increasing use of open spaces through public events….

…. A Temporary Event Notice (TEN) for Sweyne Park would allow a maximum of 499 audience members. The same numbers would be permitted under a TEN at Hockley Woods, but in conjunction with EOC, RDC officers have agreed that 300 should be the maximum given that the event ‘arena’ (the clearing) and parking is reduced in size compared to Sweyne Park.

—————–

Sweyne Park Location: Area near the lake. The mobile cinema screen will back on to the lake with audience on the hill. The screen will be roped or fenced off.

Parking: Rayleigh Leisure Centre

Weather: The events will go ahead in all conditions except where high winds might be a safety risk (e.g. cinema screen falling)

Gates open 7pm

Showing 8.45pm to 10.45pm

Site completely clear by 11.30pm

Noise : “Average outdoor screenings produce around 75dbs of sound. We have designed the sound equipment so that a) it doesn’t need to run at excessive volumes – the quality is such that we can achieve great sound without turning it up to levels that would disturb local Residents and b) it is angled to minimize the sound dispersion – the way the speakers
are set up contains the sound without much spread. Sound levels can be monitored throughout the event and we are able adjust the mix as the film plays to ensure we get the balance right.”

Any Thoughts?

Memories Of Matchbox?

Matchbox3versions

There’s a trick question – “Which company in the world makes the most car tyres?” The answer isn’t Dunlop, or Michelin- it’s Lego. In the same way the company that made the most cars in Britain used to be in Rochford. It was Lesney, who made Matchbox toys.

A chap called David Murphy is trying to create an archive of personal testimonies about Lesneys:


Hello everyone. I’m currently putting together an archive of testimonies from former employees at the Lesney Matchbox factories in Rochford and East London. After a promising response from East London’s community resources about the factories there, I hoped placing a notice on the RDCA might extend the project out to those who worked at the Rochford/Southend plants and who might still remain in the area.

I think this is a hugely valuable part of British Industrial Heritage, and from what I have seen, it is also under-represented in our local history archives. This, along with my love of the toys themselves, motivated me to begin doing something myself, and is what brought me here. The project is still really in its early stages, but I hope that by making contact with relevant individuals, it can be possible to help preserve this important part of social and manufacturing history for future generations to learn about.

An important element of the archive is hearing – and potentially recording – the memories and recollections of former employees and those associated with the Lesney factories in Hackney.

– Did you or a family member work at Lesney’s?
– Did you or a family member work with an associated industry, or as part of the Lesney supply chain?
– Do you have any documentation, photography or film that’s related to the Rochford/Hackney factory in any way?
– Do you have any other material that might be of interest?

If you, or someone you know would like to contribute to this important project please post here, or alternatively feel free to contact me directly on 07881751666 , send an email to lesneyarchive@gmail.com , or write to us at 60 Stamford Hill, London, N16 6XS. Thanks in advance, David

There’s some comments about it here on the Rochford District Community Archive.

When Rayleigh Had Speedway, Stock Car Racing , Greyhound Racing And Harness Horse Racing

rayleigh stadium

This month Rayleigh Through The Looking Glass looks at the old Rayleigh Stadium. Back in the 50s the Stadium was probably the most famous thing about Rayleigh….

A Dozen Exceptional Rayleigh Characters

Rayleigh  High Street From the Tower

On the Rochford District Community Archive, Sid Barker writes about a dozen Rayleigh characters, from the 1950s to the early 1990s. Including Albert Cable, the polio victim who sold newspapers outside Rayleigh Station, and Frank Fremlin, the American who lived in the only house in Preston Gardens.

Do you remember any of them?

Rayleigh’s Regal Past

regal cinema

Rayleigh Through The Looking Glass looks at the sadly-demolished Regal Cinema this month.

How To Join the Rayleigh Town Museum Friends Group.

High St circa 1880

High St circa 1880

Lets start 2015 by looking at one of the big projects in Rayleigh this year – a town museum – and how you can join the Friends Group.

What is the purpose of the Rayleigh Town Museum Friends Group?

To give support for the continuing development of the Museum and at the same time to make new friends with similar interests

What advantages and privileges do members of the Friends receive?
⦁ Regular newsletters
⦁ 10% discount on items in the Museum shop
⦁ Reduced ticket prices for talks and events
⦁ Reduced fees for the private hire of the Museum.
⦁ Invitations to pre opening of events
⦁ The sooner you join, the longer your initial membership will last (see below).

Early Membership Incentive
Those joining now will be entitled to extended initial membership as a tangible sign of their support in the formation of the Museum. (N.B. No payments will be actioned until 1stMay 2015.) In addition, those joining before the Museum opens will be known as ‘Founding Members’.

Membership is from 1st May each year.
Annual single membership £10 *
Family membership (at same address) £15 *

If you want to join, we suggest you email rayleightownmuseum@tesco.net

The latest on the museum is as follows:


As many of you will be aware we have plans to open a Rayleigh Town Museum on the 1st floor of 91 High Street, Rayleigh. The clothing shop ‘Yours’ will probably be vacating early in 2015 and the whole building will then be refurbished and a fully disabled access passenger lift and toilet will be installed to the 1st floor. Pizza Express will be opening a restaurant on the ground floor. The Planning Application has been agreed by Rochford District Council, Listed Building consent has been agreed with Essex County Council and we have submitted an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant to cover our set up costs…. Unfortunately the application has been declined. However we will be having a debriefing meeting with the HLF and resubmitting our application in January.
——
Further information and updates are available on the Rayleigh Town Museum website (www.rayleightownmuseum.co.uk), our Facebook page (link on our Home page), the Rayleigh Town Museum Facebook page (Facebook.com/rayleightownmuseum) and the notice board in the High Street on the wall by the Millennium Clock.

Arts And Crafts Centre Gets OK

Back in September we mentioned there was a planning application for a new arts and crafts centre in Bull Lane Rayleigh:

 

arts and crafts centre

It now has planning permission… we look forward to seeing what happens …..

Rochford District Council Publishes Record Of WWI Fallen

Wreaths outside British Legion

From the District Council Website:

Rochford District Council is proud to publish a record to remember the sacrifice of more than 400 local men who died in the First World War.

The publishing of this list of names marks the centenary of the start of the War, which begin for Britain on August 4, 1914, and recognises the contribution made by these local heroes. The list can be found below (once the PDF opens you can zoom in for more detail).

The list details the name of each man, unit or ship in which he served, date he died, and where he is buried or the memorial where he is remembered.

But it also includes some tragic stories; the soldier who was killed in action while working as a stretcher bearer carrying a casualty as a result of shellfire, the Petty Officer killed on a ship which blew up at anchor with the loss of 800 men, and the Captain who died on active service from a mid-air collision over Shotgate when searching at night for Gotha Bombers.

It also gives us a clear picture of the tender age of some of these men including the sailor  who worked as a telegraphist and died aged just 15.
———–
The details provided include, where possible, where these men lived, their occupation, family members, and how they died. In some cases, families lost more than one son.

For some there are gravestone inscriptions, including one to “a faithful soldier,” others are recognised for having been awarded decorations for gallantry.

The list was complied using the current day District boundary and includes not just those that were living in the area at the time of the War but those that have had a link to the area through residence or family connections.

It is acknowledged that this list is probably not complete or that some of those included have no more than a tenuous link to the District but it was deemed better to remember than to exclude.

It shows how these local men served in all branches of the British Armed Forces, The Royal Navy, The Army, Royal Marines, Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force across a wide range of units or Regiments. Men that had a connection to the area prior to the War but had emigrated returned to serve in Canadian, Australian and other Empire nation uniforms. Some were existing servicemen, some were in the Reserves or Territorial Force, many volunteered and others were conscripted.

Service was seen in all of the theatres of war across the world; The Western Front, Italy, Salonika, Gallipoli, Mesopotamia, Africa and at sea. Men from the District area fought in all of the major battles; Mons, Ypres, The Somme, Arras, Passchendaele, Amiens, Gallipoli, Gaza and Jutland to name just a few.

Many died in action or of wounds and several died as a result of accident or illness.

Not all of the Fallen are accorded a named grave and those are remembered on the huge memorials across the various battlefields across the world. Many are also remembered on memorials throughout the District and several are buried in the District.

————-

The list was compiled as a personal project by Rochford District Council employee, Jim Kevany, who is a member of The Western Front Association. He had the assistance of Mike Davies and John Priestley (Rayleigh Through the Looking Glass) www.rayleighhistory.co.uk . Viv Irvine (Rochford District Community Archive) www.rdca.org.uk , John Baker – Chairman, Southend on Sea Branch, Western Front Association, Karen Dennis – Memorial Officer, Essex Branch, Western Front Association, and John Priestley.

Chairman of Rochford District Council, Councillor June Lumley, said: “Rochford District Council is proud to publish this list of local heroes who died while serving their Country. It is important that we never forget their sacrifice.

“I would also like to thank those who put the time and effort into compiling this list as a lasting memory to those who fought and died for our freedom.”
—————
Mike Davies, of Rayleigh Through the Looking Glass, said: “This is a significant body of work that tells the human stories of those young men from our District many of whom died in tragic circumstances, leaving behind grieving family and friends.

“Even those that survived suffered both mentally and physically for the rest of their lives. They fought for King and Country in a war to end wars. We will remember them.”

John Baker, Southend-on-Sea Branch Chairman of the Western Front Association, added: “I’m delighted that lives of our fallen of the First World War are being commemorated by this Role of Honour, it gives you an indication of just how great the slaughter was nationally when you consider that over 400 men from this small region alone made the ultimate sacrifice.

“Thanks to Jim, the long list of names on our war memorials are no longer anonymous, we now know where they lived, worked and who they loved, may they forever rest in piece. On behalf of the silent who cannot do so, I’d like to say thank you to Jim who has put many, many hours of hard work into this project and I’d like to express my gratitude and appreciation of a job well done.”

Rochford District Council has plans for a four year programme of events from 2014 to 2018 to mark the Centenary of the First World War.

You can download the list here

 

Museum Quiz On The 28th !

museum quiz

Planning Problems In Xanadu

As a diversion from the grim reality of road congestion and flooding in our district, those with a knowledge of English poetry might enjoy this parody – an imaginary planning officer’s response to a planning application for Samuel Coleridge Taylor’s Xanadu… It begins :

Dear Mr. Khan:

Further to your application for planning consent (ref X/COL/1797), Xanadu City Council cannot at this time approve the plans for your proposed development. Full documentation detailing our reasons for turning down the application are attached, but in summary our objections are as follows:

  • Our officers were greatly concerned with the description of your development as a ‘pleasure-dome’…..

Find the rest of the officers response here

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  • John Mason: Jim @ 1. There is no vote for Councillors in an Appeal. Only Ward Councillors will be permitted to speak...
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  • Linda Kendall: I reason the accident that cost the life of a young man on the Hockley Road might have been partly...
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  • Jim Cripps: OK facts then Oz the Poz , how many accidents would warrant putting them back on?.
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500 HOUSES BETWEEN LONDON ROAD AND RAWRETH LANE

There's lots of information on the District Council website about the planning application "North of London Road ". To see it , just click here.

The Core Strategy

This is the official master document for planning policy in our district! To download it, click here click here. (2.5mb)

Planning Applications…

If you want information on a particular planning application, you can find it on the District Council website here.

If you want to know what new planning applications have been submitted this week, click here.

Reporting A Problem

If you want to report a problem, you can email Lib Dems councillors by clicking here.
There's also an independent website called FixMyStreet. It's very good for reporting minor street problems like holes in the road, grafitti or failed streetlights. You can find FixMyStreet here.

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To find the food hygiene rating for eating places and other businesses in our district , click here.

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“Rayleigh was the birthplace of Britain’s first surviving quintuplets, but that’s just one of its many claims to fame”

When the Olympic Torch came to Rayleigh, Chris Black wrote about the town in the Guardian - read it here

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