KIRTON IN 2010 – LOCAL HISTORY RECORDER’S REPORT
The political and economic situation set a dark back-cloth to the year. The election in May led to the Coalition – copies retained of all literature. Planned cuts and actual price increases especially in basic essentials – heating oil for example rose from 40p to 70p in a single month – were pervasive. Many people were daunted by the prospect of “The New Strategic Direction” envisaged by SCC. Their apparent relish for the cuts and their plans to shrink the Council to a purely management role in commissioning services from the private and voluntary sectors featured in the national media along with the salary of their Chief Executive. As the year closed, the outlook for 2011, when the cuts would really start to bite, was a gloomy one.
The weather seemed to match the economic climate with heavy snow both in January and December causing the usual chaos and leaving a legacy of potholes. June apart, the summer was unimpressive. Perhaps by coincidence, the catch-phrase “Global Warming” gave way to “Climate Change”.
There were no major housing schemes in 2010 but throughout the year debate still raged about the number of new houses required in the District. In December, SCDC distributed a leaflet to every household (copy retained) asking people to say what they felt was the right number to be built over the next fifteen to twenty years. The Council’s own proposal was for 446pa – below the 510 target they had set in March – but still far too high for many people. With all the complexity, and further surveys in prospect, it is hard to imagine that even the most resistant to development will not fall victim to “consultation fatigue”.
At the micro-level, another house was approved for the garden of The Maltings following the earlier agreement that the Developer could buy his way out of the commitment to a single “affordable” house. Developers deployed similar strategies in Felixstowe, at the Convent and the Waverley Hotel – securing approval based on a proportion of “affordable houses” and then crying poverty to duck the commitment either in part or in full.
Curtains remained drawn at the old Post Office through the course of the year and its future remains uncertain. To fill the vacuum, two enterprising mobile shops now visit the Village, each on one day a week. The Co-Op’s plans for new premises at Brands Garage in Trimley were refused but they did join the other major supermarkets in offering a delivery service.
Stunning Historical Documents – The Kirton Greyhound
Demolished in 1968, the Greyhound Public House was a major feature on the Bucklesham Road for many years. A Kirton resident, June Wells nee Pooley, had been brought up in the Greyhound and had retained the deeds when the pub finally closed. She kindly let them out of her sight to be photographed and summarised. In total there are fourteen documents dating back to 1744. These were photographed – 53 photos all told – and summarised. In the same bundle were another, by coincidence, fourteen documents relating to the White Elm Public House in Monk Soham, again dating back to the 18th Century. These were also summarised. The property is now a private residence. With no Recorder in Monk Soham it is intended to make contact with the Parish Council.
James Dunnet – A Forgotten Kirton Hero of Waterloo
In July, Richard Cornwell of The Star sought help in researching one James Dennet whose medals were to be auctioned by Spinks in London. Searching the records found no mention of a “Dennet” but a good number of “Dunnets” and we have to conclude that the surname was mis-spelt on the medals. The story featured in the paper along with details of the Dunnet family. The medals sold for £5,760. Rosemary Gitsham, the Trimley St Martin Recorder got in touch to say that two Dunnet men feature on the TSM War Memorial both of whom died in 1917.
Frederick Nursey – More Found on this Man Who Died at The Battle of The Little Big Horn
The Report for 2009 related how this man, son of Sarah Anne Nursey nee Parker who owned property in Park Lane, had died alongside General Custer in 1876. His story had featured in The Crow’s Nest, the magazine of the Custer Association of Great Britain and eventually a copy of this article was secured for the Village Archive.
The Crash of the Whitley Bomber – More On Alec Jaggers Who Died in the Rectory Lane Crash in 1941
In November one of Alec Jagger’s cousins, Roy Walker of Leighton Buzzard, got in touch seeking more information on the crash. It was possible not only to send him photos of the memorial pews in the church and of the leaflet for the Dedication Service but also to put him in touch with a cousin of his, Scott O’Reilly, who had also been working on the same subject back in 2001 and another man, Elliot Smock, who had been looking for help in trying to reconstruct a Whitley. In return, Roy sent across an excellent photo of Alec as a prime specimen of a British airman proudly standing in his flying gear.
David Hockney in Kirton
It is known that David Hockney spent some time here in 1957 as a Bradford Art School student and did several paintings for local people. Geoff Christian kindly added to the file by securing a copy of the History of the Felixstowe Art Group along with more information on the paintings displayed by David – five of them – and his colleague, John Loker who exhibited four. We still live in hope that it might be possible to make contact with David to ask him to record his memories of his time in Kirton – efforts so far have proved fruitless.
The Ellis Family
Tony Black, an Edinburgh-based member of the Ellis family (first recorded in Kirton in the 18th Century, descendants of whom lived in Park Lane from 1862 to 1881) kindly furnished a copy of his research on the family. This tied in with Joanna Ellis who was researching the same family in 2009. Both Tony and Joanna have visited the ancestral home at 2 Park Lane. They are both descended from Pleasant Ellis, born 1784, who had raised ten children single-handedly. They are also both fifth cousins of the Steggles family who visited Kirton some years ago from Oregon.. Another man, Don Poirier of Canada was in touch – also researching Pleasant.
A Little Find : Pleasant Ellis & Rev. Erskine Neale
By chance, Helen Thomson nee Knights, another lady whose family (Parkers & Knights) had lived at 2 Park Lane, had been undertaking some research when she came across a reference to Pleasant Ellis in a book – “The Coroner’s Clerk” a story written by Erskine Neale which also features a rather dramatic drawing of her. Erskine Neale was Rector of Kirton from 1844 to 1854 and a prolific author. He was not without his critics. He created
particular controversy (letters in the Times in 1850) by asserting that Nelson’s daughter Horatia was not by Lady Hamilton but by another lady “infinitely superior …in morals and station.” In 1858 an article appeared in a the Bury and Norwich Post, describing how his erratic behaviour had managed to incense a whole Parish. In 1873 he was forced to pay damages for libelling a parishioner. He is then a subject worthy of further research.
The Kirton War Memorial
Earlier attempts to discover the stories behind each of the men named on the War Memorial had been stymied because the names of their regiments had not been inscribed – in Falkenham they are. It was very welcome then to be advised by Barbara Shout of Trimley St Mary of the existence of a website which gave very specific details for every War Memorial:
Barbara, assisted by Rosemary Gitsham, had undertaken in-depth research over five years on each of the Trimley fallen and held an impressive event at the Trimley Welcome Hall to present her findings. Another potential project for Kirton.
Local History Stall at The Friends of Kirton Church 10th Birthday Celebration
As a member of the Friends Committee, I attended meetings throughout the year. In planning for our 10th Birthday Celebration, we successfully secured a grant of £300 from the London 2012 organisation to participate in their Open Weekend initiative. We put the money towards a flyer distributed to 5,000 homes in the area, inviting people to our event on 24th July and to consider becoming a Friend. The Celebration went well – over 250 people attended, we secured nine new subscribers, raised around £250 and in a remarkable community effort, 65 people pulled together to make it all happen. I mounted a Local History display.
The Barber Family – An Enquiry from Down-Under – Transportation
In January Helen Grevatt got in touch through the Village website and once again, Martin Richmond-Hardy passed the message across. On behalf of friends, she was researching a William Barber who was born in Kirton in 1790 and transported to Australia in 1820 for stealing grain left in the field after harvest. He gained his freedom in 1827 and at the age of 46 married a nineteen-year-old. He went on to have at least five children and to open a hotel before becoming a farmer at Blackness Creek. He died in 1850 when a tree he was cutting fell on him.
The End of Selling Useful Items at Local Tips
The contract for running the Felixstowe tip was secured by WRG, part of FCC – a Spanish multi-national. The sale of any item was prohibited despite the benefits to those who bought the items, to those who got a rosy glow from knowing their still useful or even new items would go to a good home, to whoever got the money – either the employees or latterly a charity and to the Council in saving on landfill. The claim that the same volume is recycled by giving the items directly to charity is plainly spin. A trip to the dump no longer creates an air of anticipation at what might be found.
Animals in the News
The local paper featured several stories. The most dramatic was a sighting of a black panther by Paul Smy in the field opposite the junction of Park Lane and the Bucklesham Road. Follow-on letters revealed that a whole family of them had been seen in Rendlesham. In October, Stanley, a Blue Cross Staffordshire was on the front page having successfully auditioned to appear with Bill Sykes at the Spa. Less than a week later he featured again, his career wrecked by major surgery to remove bits of a rubber toy he had eaten. Also in October, two French Bulldog puppies were reported stolen from a garden.
The Village Hall Refurbished
The revamped hall was officially opened by Patricia O’Brien in June.
Burnt House Lane – Resurfaced – Well Nearly
The majority of residents agreed to share the cost of surfacing the previously un-made private road and to install sleeping policemen. A few residents at the Church end did not feel so inclined so there the surface remains natural. A new sign was put up at the Bucklesham Road entrance which seems hugely out of proportion.
No Fete……But It Will Return In 2011
For the first time in living memory there was no Church Fete but the year ended on a high note – it will be back in 2011, on 11th June and return to its traditional location – the Old Rectory – rather than the Recreation ground.
People in the News & Other Snippets
- Angela & Colin Cope featured in the Star on retiring after 19 years running Kirton News. Suffolk News Delivery run out of Blakenham by a young couple took over the round albeit with some teething troubles.
- Mike & Pat Todd with their Re-Union Gallery producing blue plaques to commemorate the great and the good in the local area. So far no Kirton personality has been sponsored for a plaque.
- Sheila Cornford departed for Hampshire and was given a special presentation in April for her contribution to Village Life over the years. She intends to continue her Publicity role by phone and on-line from her new control and command centre.
- The Sewage saga continued with Anglian Water apparently unable or unwilling to find a solution.
- The Tree Warden post remained empty – it seems Charles Posford is irreplaceable.
- Sam Honour, 19, received a Royal Yachting Assoc. award from the Princess Royal in London.
- The new Crematorium opened at Seven Hills
- Adverts for fields for Wind Turbines and Solar Energy Panels have thankfully had no success in Kirton.
- A power cut lasting over an hour on 24th August gave a little but annoying reminder of our vulnerability.
- The Kirton Run was held in June – over 415 took part.
- The Kirton Ploughing Society held its 7th Day at Walk Farm off Innocence Lane on 7th November.
- The Methodist Plant sale was held on 22nd May.
- Double Summer-Time is being debated again – the arguments in favour seem stronger than ever.
- The “No Sea-Eagles Here” signs on the A14 came down after English Nature abandoned release plans.
- Old Photos came in – of the Shop (from Mr Howden) and of the Old Rectory (from Mr Westall)
- Fred Last ran his Kirton Railway again, raising £2,300 for the Hospice. Fred also kindly donated to the Archive a copy of his article “The Life of a Lad in Great Thurlow – 1929-1943” along with a hand-written history of the struggle to name the then new development “Gray’s Orchard”.
- Photos of a mat of Kirton ivy which had taken an imprint of the bricks and mortar over which it had grown were sent to Prof. Heather Viles at Oxford University. She had just completed a three-year project on the effect of Ivy but remarked: “I have to say we have never observed anything like this…”.
- Trimley School Young Engineers’ Robo-Team won an award in Loughborough and then went on to gain second place in Atlanta at the First Lego World Festival.
- Catholics in the Village were dismayed when short-sighted Church officials bowed to the personal inclination of the Parish Priest to close St Cecilia’s in Trimley and to snuff out its vibrant congregation. This Priest continues to say Mass at the Convent every single day yet, with no sense of irony, cites “the shortage of priests” as the reason why a single Mass a week at Trimley cannot continue.
Kirton Local History Recorder
Phone: 01394 448568