Kirton in 2005


This was a good year for Local History itself despite the twin disappointments of the cancellation due to bereavement of the Living History Weekend planned for July 2006 and the postponement of volume two of K&F from Old Photographs because the year seemed to run away with us.

For the village as a whole, the event with potentially the widest impact was the decision to undertake a Parish Plan. On 4th October around fifty people attended a meeting at the Pavilion for a presentation by Wil Gibson of Suffolk ACRE. A huge level of interest was expressed following which the Plan was launched. Preparations leading up to a questionnaire, targeted to go to every household in both Kirton and Falkenham in August 2006, continued for the rest of the year.

In terms of infrastructure, BT Broadband finally arrived without even a whimper of publicity – perhaps the enterprising Redmoon Broadband had stolen their thunder.

An Affordable Housing development at the paddock between the allotments and the Maltings was the subject of a special presentation on 24th May by Sara Lyons of Hastoe Limited. A term in the contract would ensure that the four flats and eight houses could be sold only to local people. The need for such initiatives is relatively obvious with two-bedroom bungalows in the village selling at well over £200,00 and being rented at upwards of £600 per month.

Red Poll Cattle were once a very significant presence in the village and in January the LHR followed up a story in the Star about Ronnie Tucker who used to look after them here on the Paul’s Estate. Two meetings at Wherstead followed and copies were taken of the many photographs featuring Kirton prixe-winners in Ronnie’s unique collection. Sadly Ronnie died later in the year.

WWII Researches continued with ongoing liaison with three experts – Alistair Graham-Kerr of the Pillbox Study Group, David Wood of the UK Fortifications Club and Roger Thomas of English Heritage. Many aerial photography flight-paths were obtained from Swindon and plotted on a map along with copies of several of the photographs. Two are of particular interest – one of the AA positions behind the White Horse and the other of the Searchlight encampment in Park Lane – both literally black-and-white confirmation of what people had always said they remembered. Others have yet to be analysed fully. Meanwhile a full copy of the photographic record of the excavation in the 1980s of the wreck of the Junkers 88 in the marshes near the Creek was obtained from Ian McClachlan along with actual fragments from Jeff Carling. Mrs Harley, daughter of the Rev. Weir sent down from Ross-shire photographs of evacuees and German –Jewish refugees who had been looked after by her parents. Researches continued into Kirton’s fallen from both Wars. Contact was made with Frank & Dorothy Haward who told of Frank’s wartime career in aerial reconnaissance and winning the DFC, and of his brother Arnold’s death in a raid on a heavy –water plant in Norway. The Haward family used to live in Rectory Lane. Mrs Melville-Jackson shared memories and photographs of her time with Sir Arthur Tedder and General Eisenhower as the Germans signed the formal surrender in May 1945. Contact was also made with Jane Bradburn,, daughter of “Pip” Bailey who was Farm Manager on the Paul’s Estate after war service with the 67th Medium Regiment RA who at one time were believed to have been stationed in Kirton. Jane is trying to find as many as possible survivors of the unit. Other wartime photographs were kindly loaned by Gwen Palmer, Doreen Middleton, and the Ling/Copping families and once again copied for the Village Archive.

The Fete on 18th June took on a WWII theme with an exhibition in the Church alongside the more traditional attractions in the grounds of the Old Rectory. Besides local material on show from both recorders - Jo Shaw for Falkenham - were displays mounted by The Soil Cinderellas, and local museums including Parham, Ipswich, Felixstowe, Martlesham Heath, and Clifford Road Air Shelter. Many people in the village loaned items for the local display.

The tragic story of the Stollery family drownings in May 1894, as related in last year’s booklet on the Church, inspired Jessica Sheeran and her fellow-pupils at Orwell School to make it the theme for their performing arts project. Their interpretation in words, action and music was performed for a small, invited audience on the very chilly morning of 13th December in the Church Glade just yards from where the victims lay buried. The audience was touched with the sensitivity displayed by the group and some were visibly moved. Unfortunately this was to be a one-off performance but photographs were taken and the teacher made a video-recording, excerpts from which were shown on Felixstowe TV and were thereby accessible over the Internet from across the world.

A late 1860s notebook, apparently filled in by John Jennings of Kirton, was kindly lent by a Mr Jennings of Martlesham and transcribed. It recorded events, mainly marriages and deaths, in the village and beyond, right up to the early 20th century – a tangible link with the past.

Bob Davidson kindly copied some of his village photographs for the Archive. Sadly Bob passed away later in the year.

Other people who passed away in the course of the year included Elaine Brumpton, Ron Lambert, and Denis Cornford.

Alongside the year’s run of the K&F Review, copies have been retained of the Parish Council Newsletter as well as newspaper cuttings and ephemera where and whenever Kirton or one of its inhabitants gets a mention – the full list would be a very long one.

Len Lanigan
Kirton Local History Recorder
01394 448568 April 2006

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