...and all who sail in her

Launches are usually associated (in my mind) rather more with champagne than tea and cakes but by the time our Needham and Brockdish Heritage Project launch arrived tea was definitely the stimulant of choice.

I had volunteered to dress one of our newly painted, but naked, walls with a display that illustrated the building's heritage as a school. Simple.

But I had not anticipated: dodgy laminators, burning the midnight oil preparing examples from the Croxson archive, trips to buy felt, the single-handed installation of a large display board: nor that the question I would be asking myself increasingly as the hour approached - is it all worth it?

The answer? Of course it was worth it. A display can show you care and what you care about. It can give you a sense of a shared enterprise. That sense was certainly helped when the sun shone, smiling people arrived and exchanged greetings, precious items were brought for loan and discussed, tea was poured and my partner arrived with a large bunch of spring flowers.

The meeting proper began when Project manager Stephen Poulter introduced our patron, Baroness Elaine Murphy, who explained how her fascination with social history began and grew from a study of poor houses leading to the publication of a book about the history of her ancient house 'The Moated Grange'* and the imminent publication of a book about Monks Hall in Syleham

Geoff Doggett, our chair, thanked everyone involved and mentioned other upcoming events at the centre. Stephen outlined some of the exciting talks, walks and visits he has planned for the project - keep an eye on our what's on diary.

The redoubtable Robin Twigge served tea and cake. Those who stayed were treated to an excellent talk by Stephen entitled 'Becoming a House Detective' tracing the history of his 17th century house in Needham through the archives.

A shared enterprise indeed.

* Copies of The Moated Grange are available from The Waveney Heritage Centre at the special price of £10.00 with all proceeds to the Centre.

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