Hornchurch and ANZAC Day

Hornchurch and ANZAC Day.

Hornchurch and ANZAC Day.

Hornchurch and ANZAC Day exhibition – A display of images of the New Zealanders in Hornchurch during the First World War marking the centenary of the first ANZAC Commemoration Day can be seen in the Local Studies display case on the 1st Floor of the Central Library, Romford during normal opening hours from 21st April 2016 to 31st May 2016.

In January 1916, soldiers from the New Zealand Expeditionary Force began to arrive at the Grey Towers Camp in Hornchurch , newly established as their headquarters in England. Soon the camp became a convalescent hospital for the New Zealanders, and a relationship was established with Hornchurch residents which lasted to the end of the war and continues to this day.

On Easter Sunday, April 23rd 1916, a special church parade of New Zealand soldiers took place at St Andrew’s Church, Hornchurch. One of the columns near the chancel was draped with a New Zealand flag. On the flag was placed a laurel wreath with the inscription on purple ribbon “To the immortal memory of those who died for the Empire, Anzac 1915”.

On Tuesday 25th April, ANZAC Day, which honoured the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who fought at Gallipoli, was celebrated for the first time and a special ceremony at Westminster Abbey was attended by the Hornchurch depot.

The New Zealanders at Hornchurch sent a special message to “their comrades of the Imperial Forces who took part in the Anzac operations at Gallipoli, on this the Anniversary of our great adventure, may we the New Zealanders tender our tribute to the immortal and glorious valour of the Battalions of your Regiment whom we have the honour to claim as comrades in arms”.

Cancellation of March meeting

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we will not be able to hold our Society meeting at myplace on Monday, 21 March.

Mr Peter Liddle, myplace Duty Manager, advises that, due to an exciting rebuild of their reception lobby area, the building will be closed on Monday 21 March & Tuesday 22 March 2016 for essential building work.

Our next meeting will therefore be on Monday, 25 April.

The postponed AGM will take place at the beginning of this meeting, lasting only a few minutes, and we will then hear John F Phillips who will be talking on Victorian Cranham and the Boyd School.

We look forward to seeing you at the April meeting.

Suttons Farm – Birth of an Airfield

Sopwith Pup aircraft 189 from night flying squadron at Sutton's Farm

Sopwith Pup aircraft 189 from night flying squadron at Sutton’s Farm

On 29 February, Dennis Lynch from Havering Museum will give a talk entitled Suttons Farm – Birth of An Airfield.

Please do join us to hear more about what eventually became RAF Hornchurch. Non-members are very welcome. The Society meets in myplace in Harold Hill – for information about meeting times and how to find us, click here.

Photograph from Romford Recorder articleFirst World War centenary: Bravery of Sutton’s Farm’s pilots commemorated by museum.

Explorers and Traders – Essex Connections



Our 2016 programme begins on 25 January with Georgina Green speaking on the subject of Explorers and Traders – Essex Connections. Georgina Green is a well known and respected speaker whose talks are always well researched and interesting.

Please do join us. Non-members are very welcome. The Society meets in myplace in Harold Hill – for information about meeting times and how to find us, click here.

2016 Programme

The venue for our meetings, myplace, Harold Hill (photograph from London Borough of Havering)

The venue for our meetings, myplace, Harold Hill (photograph from London Borough of Havering)

Our 2016 programme of evening talks is now available. These cover a range of historical subjects, with a particular emphasis on our local area. We do hope you will join us. To view the programme, click here – then add the dates to your diary!

History of Epping Ongar Railway

Epping Ongar Railway GWR 4900 Class 4953 Pitchford Hall

Epping Ongar Railway GWR 4900 Class 4953 Pitchford Hall

We return from our summer break on 28 September with a talk on the History of Epping Ongar Railway by Rodger Green.

2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the Epping Ongar Railway, which began in 1865 with the building of a single-track extension to the Great Eastern Railway between Loughton and Ongar. Increased usage on the line later led to the building of double track between Loughton and Epping. 

Reduced passenger numbers led to a reduced service from the mid 1960s and eventual closure by London Transport on 30 September 1994. The Epping Ongar Railway is now run as Essex’s Longest Heritage Railway.

If you’d like to hear more about the history of the railway, please do join us. Non-members are very welcome. The Society meets in myplace in Harold Hill – for information about how to find us, click here.

Rodger Green will also be selling copies of a book produced for the 150th anniversary celebrations: ONGAR 150, a history of the line from 1865 until 2015 in words and photos.

To find out more about the Epping Ongar Railway, see their website.

Photograph by Matthew Black from London, UK (GWR 4900 Class 4953 Pitchford Hall) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The History of Morris Dancing

Illustration of William Kempe Morris dancing from London to Norwich in 1600.

Illustration of William Kempe Morris dancing from London to Norwich in 1600.

The topic of our next meeting, on 29 June, is The History of Morris Dancing, with Julian Whybra.

Julian Whybra is a very well respected speaker and has been much enjoyed by our members in recent years.

Coupled with a long history, we shall be truly entertained by the earliest known and surviving English written mention of Morris dance, which is dated 1448. While the earliest records invariably mention ‘Morys’ in a court setting, and a little latter in the Lord Mayors’ Processions in London, it had adopted the nature of a folk dance performed in the parishes by the mid 17th century.

We should be well entertained and learn a lot about the history of this form of entertainment which is so much a part of the current English folk scene.

Please do join us. Non-members are very welcome. The Society meets in myplace in Harold Hill – for information about how to find us, click here.

The History of the Bata Shoe Company

Bata Shoe factory, East Tilbury, Thurrock.

Bata Shoe factory, East Tilbury, Thurrock.

The topic of our next meeting, on 18 May, is the History of the Bata Shoe Company.

In 1933 a factory was opened on the Essex Marshes at East Tilbury by the Bata Shoe Company. This company was based in Czechoslovakia and had been founded by Tomas Bata, who was killed in 1932 in a plane crash.

Over the next 70 years Bata was an important part of the local economy and an international community grew up on the Bata estate. Houses were built for the workers by the company.

We welcome speakers Mike Tarbard and Paul Addington who will bring the history of this area of Thurrock to life.

Please do join us. Non-members are very welcome. The Society meets in myplace in Harold Hill – for information about how to find us, click here.

Photo (“Derelict factory – geograph.org.uk – 208117“) by David Williams. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Exciting News

myplace, Harold Hill (photograph from London Borough of Havering)

myplace, Harold Hill (photograph from London Borough of Havering)

The Society has found a new home!

Our meeting on Monday 26 January will be our first at myplace in Harold Hill, when Georgina Green will be speaking to us on Keepers, Cockneys and Kitchen Maids.

Access to the room (the Large Meeting Room) will be from 7.30pm with the formal part of the evening commencing at 8.00pm and all finished by 9.30pm. We would love to see you all there for the inaugural meeting.

For some time the Committee has been very concerned at the ever reducing membership and attendance at Society meetings. The main reason for this decline seems to stem from the diminished lack of parking at Trinity Methodist Church. A location map is included on the Find us page.

After much searching and deliberation the Committee located this exciting new venue at myplace in Harold Hill. It is well located next to the Leisure Centre at Harold Hill on the junction of Gooshays Drive and Dagnam Park Drive by the large roundabout.

There is ample parking – including disabled spaces – either directly outside myplace or at the adjacent leisure centre, just a short well-lit walk away.

myplace is also readily accessible by bus. Routes 174, 294 and 256 all serve myplace – ask for the Leisure Centre. These routes provide direct access from Romford Town Centre, Gidea Park, Harold Wood and Hornchurch.

For those of you unfamiliar with myplace, it was opened in June 2012 at a cost of £4.6m. Although it is listed as a Youth Centre, a number of older groups now also use the building. It is Havering’s first zero carbon building, is well appointed with state of the art equipment, and is fully accessible.

This inaugural meeting will be free to visitors, so do please come and join us. Subsequent meetings will have our normal visitor fee of £2.50 (with free entry to members), but this is taken into consideration if you subsequently join the Society (annual membership £12).

We do hope you will enjoy our new home and we look forward to welcoming you all on 26 January.