KIRTON IN 2009 – Local History Recorder’s Report
Another year where the Village just tried to get on with life as usual against the back-cloth of huge “Development” threats to its rural tranquility, fears of a Swine Flu pandemic, economic recession, and a combination of weather conditions difficult to reconcile with Global Warming.
The Local Development Framework (LDF) – early in the year, SCDC published its LDF along with maps showing each of the eight individual sites “offered” by land-owners. Kirton was classified as a “Key Service Centre” despite its lack of even a shop or a post office. On 2nd. February, a special meeting of the Parish Council was held at the Pavilion to assess reactions. It was standing-room only. Opinion was virtually unanimous in opposition to both the classification and the individual “offerings”. In the event the Village was reclassified as a “Local Service Centre” and all proposals rejected.
An interesting foray into the subject of Radon followed SCDC's classification of several of the proposed sites as “radon protection areas”. Naturally many people thought this could mean outright rejection, either on “Health & Safety” grounds or because the costs implied would render development financially unviable. Unfortunately neither angle would prove a “show-stopper”.
Meanwhile, Felixstowe councillor Mike (Nimby) Nimney continued to push for his “Trimley All Saints” and Trinity College for a huge lorry-park and marshalling yard- both on the same site, south of Innocence Lane. Any major development on the Kirton side of the A14 would effectively destroy the environment here.
The Boundary Committee Review – another external threat came with proposals to create either “One Suffolk” or to split the county between Ipswich & Felixstowe and the Rest. Many people feel that the Village would have a much greater affinity with a return to a rural East Suffolk rather than being lumped in with the County as a whole or with Ipswich in the strangely-named “North Haven”. As the year ended, debate had yet to be concluded.
The Maltings – early in the year, the Archaeologists and Developers were alerted to the fact that the ashes of both Mrs Porter and her husband had been buried in the garden.
The Archaeological investigation began at long last. The Village had been distraught when the first new owner wreaked havoc, wilfully destroying a nationally-unique WWII Observation Post. It was gratifying then to learn that Bob Carr of the Archaeological Unit had set a Brief & Spec in mitigation. The site would be fully surveyed and we would learn all there was to learn about its history - especially as an early 19th C. Maltings and a nationally important WWII deployment. Findings would be combined with documentary research to include material in the Village Archive.
The Suffolk Unit won the contract, presumably in competition, but despite having set the Brief themselves, it seems no effort was made to clear the site gently so as to expose both Maltings and WWII walls and floors to enable detailed recording before complete destruction. I pleaded the case several times with both Bob Carr and John Newman but to no avail.
At year end the Report has yet to be released, waiting apparently for the invoice to be settled, even though the work was completed nearly a year ago. Building commenced in earnest in March. Later in the year the Developers bought themselves out of a commitment to an “affordable house” for the princely sum of £45,000. With all that transpired previously, this is a striking example of how the whole system is tilted in the Developer's favour.
On a brighter note, and perhaps influenced in some way by The Maltings debacle, SCDC apparently for the first time, not only issued but actually stood by a Building Preservation Notice – on Trimley Railway Station pending the reaction of English Heritage to a Listing Application. Unfortunately the request was eventually rejected by EH but at least SCDC have been seen to shake off their timidity and to deploy the powers they have had for many years.
The Shop – was sold at auction by Goldings in March for £157,000 but there is still no sign of it re-opening nor of an application for change of use. Towards the end of the year, a new Lidl opened at the Old Bus Station in Felixstowe, an application for a new Co-Op at Brands Garage in Trimley was apparently rejected, and Tesco announced plans for a huge development at Walton to include a store and 250 houses. A putative new owner would have to face all these challenges,
Electricity – a brief power-cut on 17th January reminded us all not to take it for granted. In March contractors worked their way through the Village cutting trees back from the lines – more of a chain-saw massacre than the arboricultural art at its best. In the summer they were followed by engineers who stripped away the old three lines and replaced them with a single cable – hot work with all the safety gear they had to carry. Households were advised that power would be cut off on two occasions. Hopefully interruptions to our supply will now become very rare.
Park Lane, Weir Place, Rivett Close and All Points East Cut Off – on 22nd July a brand-new tractor broke down outside the thatched cottage in Park Lane – its brakes electronically seized. For several hours the road was blocked. Thankfully none of the Emergency Services had required access. The opening up of new road from the Village to Rivett Close was apparently rejected out of hand but even a footpath seems to have proved beyond the wit of man.....or woman.
Local History Happenings –
The “Memories” Project – The “Memories” Project – Jane Bradburn visited the monthly Lunch Club on a couple of occasions at the invitation of Susan Harvey and asked members if they would be interested in coming to a K&F Memories Group if it was held in the Church Hall prior to the lunch. A successful inaugural meeting was held on 19th August. The room was packed. Rowland Reynolds, who had lived in Kirton in the 1930's and 40's came to talk to the group and many other people brought photos. A subsequent meeting was held on 21st October in the Methodist Chapel, kindly arranged by Les Leggett. Cynthia Savory (nee Burrows) who grew up in Kirton, gave a talk about the Rivett family which she is currently researching. Further meetings are planned for 2010. They provide a great opportunity for people to get together and share memories. These are recorded and the old photos they bring are copied – all for the Village Archive.
The Fete on 13th June – Jane Bradburn, Alison Patton and I ran a Local History Stall.
The GEE Event At Blaxhall - 25th/26th July – George Ewart Evans is considered by many to be the father of oral history. To mark the centenary of his birth, the Blaxhall Recorders had organised a nationally-significant event with, it seemed, everyone who is anyone in the field in attendance. Jane Bradburn secured a stall for Kirton and between us we were present throughout. Our stall had many visitors and we availed fully of the “networking” opportunities afforded by the event.
Local History Snippets –
From Kirton to the Little Big Horn – Park Lane derives its name from Thomas Parker who lived in our house in the 18th century. After much research, we discovered his descendants still in the leather trade in the form of Nursey's of Bungay and made contact this year. It turned out the last Parker to own the house – Sarah Ann - married a James Nursey and one of her sons, Frederick born in 1848, went on to die with General Custer at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876.
Ellises Back in Kirton After Nearly 130 Years – Joanna Ellis got in touch early in the year looking for her ancestors' grave in the Churchyard. I had a photograph and sent it on. I researched the family and found an impressive lady named Pleasant Ellis who, despite never marrying, went on to raise ten children single-handed. Later Joanna came back to me. She had found a new cousin who discovered their mutual ancestors had been living in Park Lane. On checking it turned out to be in our house, apparently from 1862 to 1881. It was touching when the Ellis family paid a visit.
From Kirton to Salt Lake City – some years ago, John Steggells, a US serviceman, called in researching his Kirton ancestors and we were able to help him. A few years later his parents Carmen and Leonard paid a visit from Oregon. This year Leonard got back in touch. He kindly sent me a copy of his family history research. The US dynasty stemmed from one of his Kirton ancestors who became a Mormon and in 1861 settled in Utah after a long journey by wagon-train – we have a copy of their log. A further revelation was that he shared an Ellis ancestor with Joanna and her cousin – so I was able to unite three fifth cousins.
A Famous Man Researching a Bucklesham Organist – David Aprahamian Liddle contacted Martin Richmond-Hardy - Village Webmaster. Martin passed on his query. David is an internationally-renowned organist who has played in Cathedrals and other prestigious venues across the world. He is writing a book with mini-biographies of all the people who had been Organist of St Barnabas, Pimlico, London SW1, since the church's opening in 1850. One man, Arthur Watts, had lived at Bucklesham but had since died, leaving a son who at some stage had lived in Kirton. With the help of Susan Harvey and Jen, Martin's wife, we were able to put the two in contact.
Herr Grimm – in researching the village during WWII, several people over the years had recalled a German man taking photographs all around the locality just before the outbreak of war. Perhaps inevitably, some thought he was a spy. With only his surname to go on, we had little prospect of finding the real story. On a visit to Kirton, Roland Reynolds – son of Angus, the wartime Manager on Paul's estate – brought an album of photographs taken by Herr Grimm which he had presented to the Reynolds in gratitude for their support of his study of English agriculture. The dedication gave his full name, Wernt Grimm, and address. After searching on the Internet, I made contact with his family who were delighted. Wernt had sadly died in 2000 but the family were only too pleased to draw up a mini-biography and send several photographs. Mystery solved.- seventy-one years on!
People and the News
Jessica Sheeran – receiving the Queen's Scout award – Star 9th January
2nd Kirton Girl Guides – & the Mayor in the Felixstowe in Flower Competition – Star 28th March
Robert & Daniel Case – running the London Marathon – Star 13th April
The Advertiser - delivery to every household of the only remaining weekly free newspaper, The Advertiser, was stopped as a result of “the media wars” – end April.
Peter Amos – honoured for 65 years membership of the Bowls Club – Star 12th June
Fred Last – running his railway for charity – Star 30th July and for his 80th birthday – Star 14th Oct.
Geoff Christian – with the Felixstowe Art Group 58th Annual Exhibition - 6th August
Dust Storms – Star 3rd October
James Rioux – British-born, deported for an unspent driving offence in the US – Star 9th Nov.
Trimley St Martin Robot-Team – winning a regional award at Duxford – Star 9th December.
Charles Posford - retiring after over ten years as Tree Warden for Falkenham & Kirton
The Kirton Snow Family – a family of four snow-people suddenly appeared in the bus-shelter and a photo featured in the Star on 22nd December asking whether anyone knew who had built them. On the 28th it was revealed that the sculptors were Will Straw and Jake Monaghan-Grey.
Kirton Local History Recorder
Phone: 01394 448568