Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Following the National Council on Archives' gathering at UCL last week, the six towns in this part of Essex are adding more material to their individual archive websites. See the Billericay contingent at Below is a line-up of some of our local interviewers pictured at the Essex Record Office in April.  

We have below, too, some film footage taken in Billericay in the summer of 1962 showing citizens going about their business, shopping, having fun in Lake Meadows, taking part in the Carnival and many clips of a life that was very much more leisurely.

A huge thank you to  Ian Rough who supplied this film footage and so much more.  Ian became a professional photographer and top advertising executive in later years.  He now lives in France, but keeps an eye on us from time to time.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Managed to get to Brentwood in Essex yesterday to take part in the above service - glad I made it. Many friends from the Royal British Legion were there and members of our local societies.  Took lots of photos which I will post on this site soon. Also some small  film clips. Watch this space!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Wednesday 22 June brought the super Juliet Mushens from the Peter Fraser & Dunlop Agency in Covent Garden to an enthusiastic bunch of writers last night at The Fold in Billericay. The novelist, Elizabeth Lord organised a great evening for us all and Juliet had an avid audience - hanging on her every word. Now many are beavering away polishing their manuscripts in readiness for sending off. Juliet gave us the inspiration and all we need is a little luck. Here we have Juliet (left) pictured with talented writer, Paula Readman.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Enjoyed meeting the lovely Mistress Angharad (pictured) who gave an excellent talk the other night giving us all a taste of Kentwell Hall in Long Melford, Suffolk, a place I’ve visited in the past. As a ‘Tudor nut’, Kentwell Hall is the place to be in the summer. Every year, their Great Annual Re-Creation is set in a different year of the 120 years of the Tudor period. Kentwell's Tudors react to the outside events of that year as if they were actually taking place then and they really do speak ‘Tudorese’. Mistress Angharad is the cook at Kentwell and showed us how to make ‘Tussie Mussies’ using herbs and edible flowers.

There's so much for visitors to experience at Kentwell Hall. More than 200 participants (up to 400 at weekends) at any one time are there, creating the dress, speech, food, drink, music, dance, crafts, activities, pleasures and way of life of the chosen year. This year is 1553 and visitors feel they have been transported back to a whole 16th century community in which everyone is dependant upon each other. This is how life actually was not just a series of demonstrations.

At the Hall- meet members of the Clopton family (who built and lived at Kentwell during the 16th century), their friends as well as those retainers working at the Hall and in its service building those who serve them. All carry on as each might have done then. Here and in its original service building of 1500, the Moat House, you may meet members of the Cloptons and their friends from young children to aged relatives perhaps engaged in business or relaxing with music & dance; their Stewards, Butler, Housekeeper & Pages attending upon them. Mistress Angharad and her cooks in the Great Kitchen & Subtlety-makers, Bakers in the Bakehouse, Brewers in the Brewhouse, Dairymaids in the Dairy, Ladies making potions & lotions in the Stillroom.wordsmen & Gunners, Wrights, Netmakers and Bookbinders among dozens of other craftsmen. Not everything takes place every day but most things do on most days.

Opening Days & Times: The Re-Creation is Open to the public on Saturdays & Sundays and the last Friday between 19 June and 10 July from 10am to 5pm. Other days are reserved for pre-booked school parties. Telephone: 01787 310207

Thursday, June 16, 2011


A great day was enjoyed in Brentwood, Essex, where members and visitors linked to the Brentwood Writers' Circle who celebrated their 70th anniversary. Michael Casey from Thurrock arrived to film members for his U tube set-up. Here he is with President, Frances Clamp. The press turned up and we have a centrefold in the Brentwood Gazette and, of course, our team will appear in the Brentwood Weekly News. Gyles Brandreth played a part in our early years, as well as many other well known celebrities. Few images here showing our Chairman, Colin Taylor and guest speaker, the author Paul Doherty - a great inspiration to all writers present.

Friday, June 10, 2011


Super day out in London yesterday. The New Cavendish Club (Marble Arch) was the venue for our SWWJ Summer Festival celebrations. Great to see so many friends from the past and also many new members and guests. Sandra Howard was wonderful and judged the Elizabeth Longford poetry competition which was won by Fay Marshall. The Theodora Roscoe Trophy for a short story was judged by Vanessa Gebbie and was won by Emma Louise Timpany (a Probationer from Falmouth, Cornwall), again a superb entry and both writers were present to receive their beautiful trophies.

Nicola Beauman, founder of Persephone Books was our guest speaker and was such a huge inspiration to all the writers present. (She is pictured with Patrick Forsyth, columnist with the Writing Magazine). Also pictured is Sandra Howard and Doreen Friend and Catherine Miller who will be handling the Society's Press & Publicity.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


After a ten year gap, it was a great privilege to catch up with the Brentwood & District Photographic Club members when I arrived last week to give them a tribute talk dedicated to a super colleague, the late Dennis Rookard. Dennis was not only a journalist, short story writer, photographer, radio station enthusiastic, Talking Newspaper aficianardo, steam train fanatic and a man interested in everything fascinating about people and places (the name of one of my columns for the Weekly News Series). Dennis died a year ago and last Friday evening's session was devoted to this large, funny, friendly and kindly gentleman of the press. It was wonderful to meet so many of his friends, fellow members of this distinguished photographic club and some new members. Oh, and they do take some great photographs both traditional and modern, copies of which were on display. Check them out on Their gallery gives you a taste of brilliant images. A warm welcome is offered to all newcomers at their weekly Friday evening sessions. Picture above shows Dennis Rookard (right) with my sub-editor (till 2009), Steve Crancher, also a great writer.