Quote of the week

Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing
Edmund Burke
If you cannot mould yourself entirely as you would wish, how can you expect other people to be entirely to your liking?
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/wish.html

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

End of the season at Little Waldingfield History Association

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The last event in this year's programme was a fascinating talk about Joan of Arc by Joy Bounds, pictured left.  A full report by Andy Sheppard can be found on the 'Joan of Arc' tab above.  It includes some interesting new information about a ring belonging to Joan that was only discovered a year or so ago.





Joan rallies her troops
The next event will be at 7.30 in the Parish Room on 20th September, when Sarah Doig, a local writer, researcher and brilliant speaker on local and general history, will take us through her own A-Z of Curious Suffolk.  As described by Amazon:

The book romps through Suffolk’s rolling countryside and along its shingled coastline, unearthing the curious along the way. Sandwiched between ecclesiastical penances handed to adulterers and fornicators, and the odd porcelain incendiary bombs commemorating the Zeppelin raids, is an alphabetical cornucopia of strange, spooky and mysterious facts about the county.
 
Its going to be great, so make a note in your diary.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Summer of Silk in Sudbury

This summer Sudbury will host a number of events, and one exhibition, celebrating the silk industry's importance to the town.

Yesterday evening we attended one of these,  a talk at the Quay Theatre given by art Historian and television personality Dan Cruickshank, pictured here,  in which he looked at the roots of the English Silk industry in London's Spitalfields.

The industry was brought to this country by Hugenot emigres, protestants fleeing persecution in France at the end of the 17th Century.   They settled on former monastic land in Spitalfields, which was at that time a little way outside the city walls.

Dan Cruickshank lives in Spitalfields, and has written a book about its history.  His primary interest is in architecture and it was interesting to see his old slides of substantial properties belonging to the silk merchant families. Many of these were sadly demolished in the last century but some properties still exist, notably in Fournier Street.  He also showed slides of the recently restored magnificent Hawksmoor Church that forms the centre piece of the area.  Cruickshank did point out however that as strict Calvinists, the french families would not have worshipped here, but as leading citizens, they would have used it for civic purposes.

Cruickshank also traced the roots of one family from Spitalfields to Sudbury, via Bow Lane, and pointed out some Sudbury properties that still bear the signs of weaving lofts.

An exhibition dedicated to the silk industry has just opened at Gainsborough's House and I hope to visit it next week.  A review will therefore follow shortly.

Silk merchants' large houses, sadly demolished



What were the Council doing?

During the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire I have been perplexed at the reaction (or rather the non reaction) of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

When I was at Babergh District Council there was a good deal of focus on Emergency Planning.  Indeed all councillors were encouraged to attend training, Parishes were, and are still, helped to produce their own emergency plans,  and in the few situations when emergencies occurred during my period of service, the council acquitted itself well.   Shelters were immediately set up where necessary, and action plans were triggered.

Of course nothing of the enormous scale of the North Kensington disaster ever occurred, but I cannot help feeling that the Babergh response would have been immediate, well organised and effective,  and also that other Suffolk councils would have offered assistance and support.  I remember during the tidal surge last year (that never actually happened) officers from all parts of Suffolk plus the Fire Service and Police, were all on hand, manning emergency relief centres, which, thankfully, never had to be used.

The leadership of Kensington and Chelsea has been notable by its silence, and yet they are directly accountable for the tragedy, and are responsible for the immediate response. Several days have passed now and I find it  very odd that the Government has now had to call on the Red Cross and civil servants to fill the gap.

On the face of it, it seems to be that councillors in leadership roles at the London authority should be considering their positions.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Babergh ward boundary review



Where's Babergh?

Yesterday I went to Bildeston’s Chamberlin Hall on behalf of Sudbury Town Council to hear more about the review currently taking place with a view to changing Babergh District Council’s ward boundaries. 

The changes are being made at the council’s request so that it can reduce the number of councillors from 43 to 31.  This means that the number of residents per councillor will rise from 1667 currently to approximately 2400 in the future.

It is likely that all ward boundaries will change, and the Boundary Commission is now working on where they should be.  They are seeking help from Town and Parish Councils to draw up a pattern of wards on the basis of three criteria

  1. Each ward should have a similar number of electors with a tolerance of plus or minus 10 percent of the average
  2. Wards should represent the local interests and identities of the local communities, taking into account factors such as history, the location of local shops and other facilities such as schools and places of worship.  Concrete examples of the existence of a community would be useful.
  3. The arrangements should lead to convenient and effective local government.  This means that the plans should be convenient for local councillors, not cross natural boundaries such as major roads or railway lines, not be too large geographically or contain too many separate parishes.

How to engage?
There will be two consultations of which this is the first.  There will be another when the Boundary Commission comes up with its draft recommendations.
 One can respond by letter, e mail or on-line.
The internet portal will contain maps and an interactive tool which will enable consultees to experiment with possible alternatives.
All submissions will be published.

Timetable
Preliminary Period: when the council size is agreed with Babergh.  (This stage is now complete, but can still be challenged through the consultation process)
Current consultation on ward boundaries (13th June 2017 to 14th August 2017)
Draft Recommendations published
Consultation on Draft Recommendations (3rd October 2017 to 11th December 2017)
Final Recommendations (which cannot be changed) (February 2018)
Order to be laid in time for May 2019 Elections
It was stressed that it is important to get involved with the process NOW.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Congratulations to James Cartlidge

James Cartlidge (right), with MEP Geoffrey Van Orden and Philip Mutton

A number of Conservatives got together today in Angie Rogers's lovely Bildeston garden, to congratulate our Member of Parliament James Cartlidge on being returned to Westminster with an increased majority and over 60% of the vote.


Given the events of recent days it would have been understandable if the atmosphere had been a little downbeat, but the general feeling was one of relative optimism, and a strong desire not to have to return to the campaign trail too soon!

James was looking forward to the meeting of the 1922 Committee tomorrow afternoon.

Bildeston Branch Chairman, Mike Creffield with raffle tickets

Thursday, June 8, 2017