Kirton in 2006


If it is possible for there to be a theme in a year of the life of a village, then for Kirton in 2006 it was one of prospective development and associated disillusionment with the Local Authority.


The Maltings – drew the most column inches featuring in the Press seven or eight times. Up until Mrs Porter’s death at the end of March, both the Georgian house and the unresearched WWII complex were in safe hands. In April the Village put its best efforts into securing protection for the buildings, the trees and the wildlife. The LHR focused on the buildings preparing a detailed case for English Heritage and SCDC. By the end of June it was apparent that this was all in vain as a JCB and a digger smashed their way through the garden. The nationally unique Battery Observation Post was specially targeted for destruction as were any trees likely to detract from the blank canvas the heirs were seeking to maximise development potential. An impromptu protest (still viewable at had no effect. Even the risks of asbestos or buried munitions were insufficient for SCDC to call a halt. After a fortnight work stopped. The house was later listed Grade 2. A small team of residents was determined to do all possible to prevent a similar chain of events and have been working ever since to bring SCDC to account. At the time of writing four formal complaints have been lodged against SCDC. Meanwhile ownership has apparently passed to a company based in Jersey. One piece of good fortune was that John Sturman, one of the first soldiers to go on site in WWII, got in touch with the LHR having seen all the publicity in the local Press and his story has been written up for the Archive.

The Paddock (Durilda Green?) – Hastoe Housing, in the quest for land for “affordable” housing had no take-up from owners outside the Village envelope despite the offer of ten to twelve times agricultural value. In consequence, a local charity – The Nassau Trust - offered part of the paddock, adjacent to The Maltings. A scheme for four flats and twelve houses was drawn up. As this had been part of the pre-Enclosure Village Green, SCC Archaeology visited and took out several trenches but nothing was found. Asked to suggest a suitable name for the development, the LHR proposed Durilda Green. According to Domesday, Durilda was an Anglo-Saxon lady and the biggest landowner hereabouts before the Conquest.

Weir Place Play Area Development – residents first learnt of this via the Press in May. SCDC and Flagship Housing were intent on developing the site despite, apparently, previously denying the land to “affordable” housing on the grounds that it was a play area. The two principals could have been expected to be exemplary in how they consulted on the development. Instead they paid a visit to the Parish Council in September at very short notice, allowing no time for the subject to be included on the agenda and thereby for residents to attend. A Consultation was promised but people were dismayed to find the Plans had been submitted just before the New Year with no mention of a Consultation. Going into 2007, the Plans have been withdrawn following a special Parish Council meeting on 15th January attended by close on forty residents, and subsequent letters of complaint.


The Parish Plan – initiated in October 2005, gathered momentum during 2006. A small team managed the exercise and drew up three questionnaires – Households, Youth and Businesses. At year-end the respective returns had been 431, 105 and 15. The team then moved on to the analysis of the responses. Early outputs came in the form of two presentations. The first - The Community Responder Scheme - was presented on 23rd November by Mr Needle of the Ambulance Service and attended by ten people. The second, intended to cover “ The Good Neighbour Scheme”, was on 29th November but was rather hijacked by The Felixstowe Volunteer Service, and attended by 18 people.

The Post Office and The Postman – people were dismayed when the Post Office at the Village Shop closed at the end of June with the sad departure of the much-loved Mike Kellard and his mother Peggy. Several villagers were on BBC Look East expressing their regrets. It has not re-opened since and it is generally feared that the Shop itself might also fold. We also said a fond farewell to our postman, Ivan McCullum , who retired after 16 years with the Post Office.


The Village Hall Centenary – celebrations were held at the Hall in the afternoon of 20th May opened by Gillian Bence-Jones, grand-daughter of Lady Beatrice Pretyman who had performed the original opening ceremony. Les Leggett and the LHR staged exhibitions of local history focusing on the original event and the Village as revealed in the 1901 Census.

The New Bin Scheme – was introduced in September. The green paper boxes were made redundant and two new bins – blue for recyclables and grey for rubbish – were delivered to each household. These plus the brown compostables bin are now an unwelcome feature on the street-scene particularly if they are not hidden away between collections.

Norman Scarfe’s “Suffolk Guide” – is going into a revised edition and the author very imaginatively sought input from the LHR in each parish. The LHR is hopeful that the description of our lovely church as “of no architectural value” might be toned down a little.

A Rare Camberwell Beauty Butterfly – was seen in a garden in Park Lane on 25th August – one of “the great invasion of 2006” which saw 31 recorded in Suffolk by 2nd September.

Crime Rates Low Despite A Drive-by- Shooting and Attempted Arson – At the May PC the Police reported “an extremely low” level of crime – 39 incidents over the previous year. In June, however, The Evening Star featured two stories – one where windows at the Methodist Chapel were hit by bb pellets and another where someone tried to push a firework through a letterbox in rectory Lane.

WWII Researches continued - two remarkable wartime aerial photographs came to light – one of the searchlight detachment in Park Lane, the other of the anti-aircraft positions behind The White Horse. A full copy of Inspector Rush’s Wartime Diary was also obtained along with a photograph of the local Police in 1940 – many more prime subjects for research.


Pat Todd and her Reunion Gallery featured in the Press on several occasions – Art on the Prom event was again very successful.

Linda Sheppard secured good coverage for her work on ADHD.

Margaret Condick’s role at the York C.ofE Synod was covered in the Daily Telegraph

Fred Last was in The Star as his railway earned £1600 for the Hospice – he also gave a pack to the LHR for the Archive.

Jessica Sheeran was on the front page of The Star celebrating “A” level results.

Everlyn Dale was in The Star having secured promotion to bombardier in the TA.

Jen Richmond-Hardy was on BBC Look East and in the Press regretting that she was being forced to retire as a Guide Leader after 24 years. A celebration in her honour was held on 22nd August.

Angela and Colin Cope featured in The Star after the collapse of the Farepak Christmas saving business – they and five customers incurred large losses.

Tom Wells and his Ploughing Day in a field off Innocence Lane were in a centrefold in The Star. Forty ploughmen attended and his Kirton Ploughing Society has its own website at

Jean Metcalfe retired from the Parish Council, having been a member since 1964.

Peter Ling saved a man’s life at the Ferry golf course by recognising the symptoms of an impending heart attack and rushing him to the doctors’ surgery.


The Methodists Plant Sale was on 13th May. The Christmas tree lighting-up ceremony was held on 8th December. The 90 year tradition of carol singing ran over four evenings. Their Open Gardens event was held on 25th June – it was quite a challenge to visit anywhere near all of the 25 gardens.

The Fete was held on 3rd June.

The Kirton Five Mile Run attracted a record 434 runners.

The Arts & Crafts Fair was a success as usual.

Parish Newsletter & The Review - copies have been retained of both these publications.


Jane Bradburn is embarking on an exciting project to record interviews with as many as possible of the older, long-term residents of Kirton as to their memories of life in the Village in days gone by. Jane herself is “a Kirton Girl” having been born and brought up here down by the Creek.

The second Kirton Living History Day is scheduled for 21st July and the organisers, Sheila Cornford and the LHR, are busy contacting re-enactors, artisans, and museums and societies for what should be an enthralling event.


Mike Adams – 28th March – had done much over the years for Local History in the two villages.

Peggy Churchyard - in April and Val, who had lived all his life in Kirton, in December. Fortunately Jane Bradburn had recorded an interview with Val not long before he passed away in which he talked of his memories of life in the village.

Joan Melville-Jackson – who related her WWII experiences on Suffolk Radio. Joan had kindly afforded the LHR to copy her possibly unique wartime photos inc. the German surrender.

Kevin Butters – 4th December.

Ivan Walton of Purdis Heath who was found in Kirton Lake – his inquest returned an open verdict.

Dave Berry a renowned motorcyclist of Trimley died in a tragic road accident near the Farm Shop. Several people from the Village went to his send-off on the front, attended by scores of motorcyclists and with an impressive Spitfire display.

The Ipswich Young Ladies – the proximity of these tragic events cast a shadow over the Village creating a mixture of fear and sadness.

Len Lanigan
Kirton Local History Recorder
01394 448568 January 2007

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