The Sudbury Ephemera Archive (SEA) celebrates its sixth
anniversary this year (2019). During those years, it has gone from strength to
strength. Not only has the archive itself been growing, but its ‘fame’ has
spread primarily through its community involvement. This ranges from talks
given to local groups and organisations such as Pebmarsh Ladies’ Group,
Sudbury’s Quay Theatre Local History Sundays (January), Henny Ladies’ Group
(twice), Monks Eleigh Bygones Collectors’ Club, Bulmer Skylarks and St
Gregory’s Fellowship and the Town Meeting March 2018.
SEA has exhibited at several open air summer events including Monks Eleigh Bygones Weekend on Sudbury Airfield, A Bit of a Do at Pebmarsh, Suffolk Day in Sudbury, Heritage Day in Sudbury (September), Sudbury Carnival (August), Remembrance Weekend (November) and the Christmas Tree Festival (December) in Sudbury. The biggest ‘outing’ was to the Suffolk Show (May) in Ipswich when SEA was invited to participate in the World War I centenary commemorations at the show. This proved to be very successful and generated a lot of interest particularly with the children’s game cat’s cradle which was hugely popular with all ages!
At several of these events SEA members have participated in
costume, e.g. Red Cross nurses, widows wearing black ‘weeds’, Edwardian ladies,
agricultural labourer, Land Army girl for the World War I theme at Suffolk
Show. This is fun for the participants but also draws attention, creates
comments and is more memorable than ‘ordinary’ clothes. It also ties in with
SEA’s historical aspects.
Just for fun but also as publicity, SEA has taken part in all the recent five carnivals and has been awarded first place three times and second place once for the best ‘foot float’. See for example SEA wins first prize at Sudbury Carnival 2018.
SEA has also been working with other groups planning events such
as the Silk Film group, the Silk Festival 2019 and the Museum Trust.
SEA itself has benefited from a donation of the Turner Thornton Estate Agent papers. It has taken months to sort and catalogue these but that is now complete and the papers divided into street collections and the town is zoned into areas. Papers for other areas and in Suffolk and the country have been sent to appropriate collections: Essex Record Office or local recorders or Suffolk Record Office.
Another large donation has been from the Christ Church United
Reform Church when it closed in January 2018. SEA ensured that the building and
its registers were photographed and other official papers have been stored in
the Suffolk Record Office but kept photographs and newsletters etc. in SEA
Other donations continue to arrive and SEA is grateful to the
staff at the Town Hall who receive these donations on behalf of SEA.
Another function of SEA is helping members of the public who drop
in with questions about Sudbury’s past. If SEA cannot answer the question then
the enquirer is directed to someone or some other organisation which can.
One particularly interesting donation was a book of business records
from a 19th century blacksmith in Little Waldingfield which was deposited by a
member of his family. SEA was able to provide a copy for another member of that
family while conserving the original.
Cataloguing sessions (three hours) take place twice a month in the Town Hall with a regular core of volunteers as well as more casual attendees. These sessions provide an opportunity for the public and potential donors to drop in and see what SEA does.
The Town Recorder’s Report provided a digital record for the
Suffolk Local History Council Recorder scheme which is an overview of the year
in Sudbury and filed at the Suffolk Record Office.