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Suffolk Local History Council

After the Second World War the government of the day looked for ways to give the population some pride in themselves. One initiative was the promotion of sense of pride in local history. County based local history societies were to be encouraged by their County Councils and so the Suffolk Local History Council started in 1953 with secretarial help and a meeting space in the Council Chamber. One focus in those days was the to record the rapid changes in the farming scene.

So Suffolk Local History Council has tried in a number of ways to record the local scene as it changes and continues to do so today. I happened to be Secretary as our 50th anniversary loomed up.   I was fortunate to be able to persuade our committee not to have a dinner for the great and the good of Historical Suffolk but to do something ‘useful’. ‘Useful’ turned out to be, after a chat to archivist, Bridget, helping the Record Office repack and relabel and catalogue the 18,000 photos. That took nearly two very enjoyable years sitting round a table on Thursday mornings opening existing packets of wildly differing sizes, repacking them in archive quality sleeves and labelling them in 10s and cataloguing the results. So the Record Office benefited by knowing what was in each packet and in the meantime, as we did do some work, we were having a whale of a time passing round some of the photos and saying things like ‘have you seen this’, ‘did you know they did that’, ‘wow, that has changed’.

That first meeting was at the end of 2002 and since then we have continued to meet on Thursday mornings, indeed we are known as The Thursday Group. We have done photographs and Union records, ships logs and miscellania, medieval wills, gaol books and coroners records, oral history and portraits.

To sum up, we have, quite as a by-product, had a wide education in local history matters, and entirely for free, and to beat it all, the Record Office benefits too.

Jonathan, Suffolk Local History Council member and Suffolk Archives volunteer.

Before the branch shut to begin the move to The Hold, we held a celebration of their work with us over 18 years. Below is a video that marks the work they have done with us at our Gatacre Road site:

Collections made available through the work of the Suffolk Local History Council:

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