A NEW ELMHAM ARCHIVE GROUP March 2013

Posted in Notices

If you are interested in the history of Elmham, how would you like to join others who share your enthusiasm?
Would you like to know more of what life was like here in the past and also help to record our historical background?
We are in the process of applying to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant so that we can purchase equipment to do just that.
We have in our possession about 600 photographs and scrapbooks going back to the 1970's and other assorted memorabilia.
Paper records are fragile and need to be copied and kept safe. The idea is that once copied, the records will be accessible on the internet for all to see. Many other villages are also in the process of doing this.
We want to record as much of our local social history as we can, including oral history and want to involve as many people as possible through talks, exhibitions, walks, accessing local records, and....volunteers.
We hope to work closely with the Primary School and other organisations within the community.
In our bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund, we have said that the evidence from people who have roots here is going fast – elderly people move on and we would like to build up a picture of the social life here in Elmham in the 19th and 20th centuries – so we need to get our act together now!
Elmham hasn't had an explorer who found a new part of the world, or a world famous physicist, or chemist or writer. I doubt if anyone will ever say "I'll look Elmham up on Wikipedia to see what it was like."
But Elmham like every other community kept the world going. This was a busy place.
You have only to look at the church records (in the Records Office) the school log books (fascinating to read, also in the Records Office) and all the Trade Directories to see what an active village this was.
It always was a rural community, many villagers worked in different capacities on the land; on farms that now can be managed by contractors who swoosh in and fly out in a matter of days. A hundred years ago those farms perhaps employed 20 men.
We had a large number of different shops. Villages were generally self sufficient and we have always been on good travel routes so we were not isolated.
The railway came, and around Elmham station, a number of businesses grew up, again employing local people, and the railway itself allowed travel out of the village for work and entertainment.
County School – first a school for gentlemen farmers' sons and which later became Watts Naval Training School, also employed local people. This was a Dr Barnado's home for several thousand boys, educated and drilled along naval lines. Many of them went on to join the Royal Navy as well as the Merchant Navy. (The late Sir John Mills' father was Headmaster at Watts for a few years)
The Elmham Hall estate in the past covered many more acres and from the mid 1700's to the 1920's belonged to the Milles and Sondes family. In the early 1920's the large mansion was demolished and the estate was carved up and sold.
This estate had a huge workforce because all the surrounding farms belonged to the Sondes family, as did many of the houses and cottages in the village.
You can see that we do have a lot of history. Every century had sad parts, terrible illnesses with whole families wiped out, people emigrating, fires, and also exciting times, times of war and just day to day living.
We need to record and remember our history because the world as we knew it yesterday will be very different tomorrow!
If you think you would like to become involved perhaps with research, practical help or just want to be involved in an archive group please ring Janet Woodhouse for more information on 01362 668525 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Janet Woodhouse