Uncovering the Past at Essex Record Office

One of our key partners in this project is the Essex Record Office who are helping us with advice, research and training.

The ERO holds archives that take up nearly eight miles of shelves and the items they care for include parish registers, diaries, letters, court records, wartime records, manorial records and school records. It’s also home to the Essex Sound and Video Archive.

To mark 100 years since the Representation of the People Act the ERO blog has celebrated Essex women such as suffrage campaigners, WWI Nurse Kate Luard  and Matron of Black Notley Hospital Mary Ellen Ruck.

Josephine Culling

Several of our volunteer challenges suggest that you could visit the ERO to look for more information about a particular person such as Katherine Mina Courtuald and Josephine Culling.

Other challenges ask people to look for stories of women working in engineering at different companies such as Ford, Paxman, Bentalls and Marconi and the ERO holds many different company newsletters which could be a great starting point for this.

 

 

If you have never visited a Record Office before it may feel a bit daunting but staff are there to help and you can find a useful guide here.

The Record Office looks after unique, irreplaceable historic material so there are a few key things to remember as these are all to minimise the risk of damage.

It is worth being aware before you visit that they ask-

  • Please bring as little as possible into the Searchroom
  • store your bags in the locker room (free to use and located next to the Searchroom)
  • Please use a pencil rather than a pen
  • You can use laptops and tablets, but cases must be left in the locker room
  • They provide transparent wallets for holding notes and small items

It’s a good idea to bring a warm layer to wear as the searchroom is kept cool (22°C) to help preserve documents (a good place to visit in a heatwave!)

If you’d like a tour of the searchroom there is one coming up on May 30th and you can book here

Just be warned- Record Offices are full of fascinating documents- I’ve lost hours in them!

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Focus on… The Museum of Power

 

The Museum of Power, housed in a former water pumping station is based at Langford (about a mile from Maldon). It houses a varied collection of industrial history ranging from an overhead machine shop to a petrol powered iron.

The museum runs a range of event days and has the ‘Lilleshall’ triple expansion steam pump which is now back in steam.

They also have a thriving education programme and are keen to enthuse young people with a love of science and engineering.

 

 

Current exhibitions include ‘Women in Engineering’ and the museum has items in its collection from a whole range of Essex engineering companies and wants to uncover stories of the women who worked at these firms. They are particularly keen to find out more about female workers at Ford of Dunton, Paxman of Colchester and Bentalls of Heybridge and you can sign up to volunteer and help the museum with their research.

 

The museum is looking for untold stories about the roles of women who worked at the Museum of Power or within the associated Essex & Suffolk Water Treatment Plant at Langford nr Maldon to build their ‘family history’ and find out their impact on the water industry and local/national social history.  They would love to find families to invite to a ‘family of the Museum’ party so that they can share the untold stories and memories.