This touring listening bench is currently located at the Guildhall in Finchingfield, near the main entrance.
The clips feature memories from the 1940s and 1950s; personal memories of Spains Hall; information about straw-plaiting; and a performance of Holst’s ‘Brook Green Suite’. The bench will be at the Guildhall until the end of June 2018, the final destination in our two-year tour. Read more about the bench tours on the project blog page.
This bench has been generously purchased by the Friends of Historic Essex.
Audio clips on this bench
Roger Guppy's childhood memories of Finchingfield (Button A Clip 1)
Roger Guppy shares his memories of growing up in the village in the 1950s, including the local bookie and pea-picking. This clip comes from an interview recorded by the Finchingfield Guildhall and is used with their kind permission.
Finchingfield in the Second World War (Button A Clip 2)
Clifford Gilbey and Vinn Gunn share their memories of Finchingfield during the Second World War, including air raids, servicemen stationed in and around the village, and the nearby Prisoner of War camp. These clips come from interviews recorded by the Finchingfield Guildhall and are used with their kind permission.
Holst's 'Brook Green Suite' (Button A Clip 3)
Piece composed by Gustav Holst, played here by the Essex Youth Orchestra at Thaxted Church in 1989. Read more about the recording on Essex Archives Online (SA 1/927/1).
The work of a thatcher (Button B Clip 1)
Clifford Gilbey describes his father’s work as a thatcher, both thatching houses and thatching stacks during harvest. This clip comes from an interview recorded by the Finchingfield Guildhall, and is used with their kind permission.
Straw plaiting (Button B Clip 2)
Two more clips about working with straw. First, Jules Bellerby describes the history of straw plaiting in Essex, from a BBC Essex piece broadcast in 1987 (SA 1/236/1). Then, Jill and Robert Goodwin explain how to grow straw for making corn dollies, from an interview recorded for the Kelvedon Speaks project in 1998 (SA 44/1/23/1).
Personal memories of Spains Hall (Button B Clip 3)
Sir John Ruggles-Brise, former owner of Spains Hall, shares some of his memories of living in the house. He also talks about the changing relationship between his family and the villagers. This piece comes from an interview recorded by the Essex Record Office in 1990 (SA 13/4/5/1).