Sea-Change:  Wivenhoe Remembered  


These interview extracts are a greatly expanded version of the material which was used for our book Sea-change: Wivenhoe Remembered, published by Tempus, which is available through the Wivenhoe Bookshop. 

This web selection, the book and the accompanying DVD are the outcome of `Remembering Wivenhoe�, a community oral history project which has been based on voluntary contributions of many kinds. 

Most crucial of all have been the over 190 people listed at the end of this book, whose memories have been recorded for the project and for the benefit of all interested in the history of Wivenhoe in the future. We are deeply grateful to them, and to all those others who have given their time, knowledge and energy to make the fulfillment of the project possible.

Paul Thompson


The project has been directed by Paul Thompson and administered by Brenda Corti, and the project committee have also included Annie Bielecka, Ken Plummer, Don Smith, Janet Turner, and (chair) Rev David Thomas.  Jacqueline Thomas as library representative was succeeded by Jane Stanley. 

At the core of the project was an enthusiastic and talented interviewing team, some experienced, some new to recording life stories: Lisa Baxter, Libby Bishop, Annie Bielecka, Ann Clarke, Brenda Corti, Ellie Crichton Stuart, Ann Dale, Shirley Dow, Bruce Gant, Diana Gittins, Marcel Glover, Alison Kent, Caroline Munn-Giddings, Carol Mitchell, Helen Polom, Kate Powis, Lin Roberts, Brian Sinclair, Tony Swift, Paul Thompson and Jan Thurlow.

In the early months of the project there was also a parallel research group, which provided valuable historical background information, consisting of Elizabeth Baines, Ann Clarke, Pat Marsden and Janet Turner. We also were also very much helped with maritime historical information by Bill Ellis.

Our earlier presentations of material from the project were particularly helped by the technical and audio skills of Marcel Glover and Janet Turner, and by Don Smith�s collecting of photographs. For illustrations we were also generously helped by Colin Andrews, John Bines, Joyce Blackwood, the Congregational Church, Tim Denham, James Dodds, Peter and Diane Duffield, Phil Faucheux, Tony Forsgate, Jan Frostick, Marcel Glover, Marjorie Goldstraw, Annabel Gooch, Betty Govan, Ken Green, Pat Green, Peter Green, Jean Harding, Frank Hodgson, Glendower Jackson, Kitty Funnel, Dennis Marsden, Ralph Moss, Sue Murray, the Nottage Institute, Ellen Primm, John Stewart, Don Smith, Janet Turner, Ernie Vince, Graham Wadley, and Dave and Sylvia Weatherall.

In launching the project we were especially helped by support from Andrew Philips and Colchester Recalled, the Wivenhoe Town Council, the Sociology Department at the University of Essex, the Friends of St Mary’s, the Sailing Club, Millfields School and Broomgrove School.

Finally, for their crucial financial support we thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for their grant of �43,000 which has made the project possible. We also received a grant of �2,750 from Professsor Ivor Crewe, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex, which enabled us to include some interviews with early university staff members. 

The Heritage Lottery Fund grant has in particular enabled the skilled transcription of the interviews by Marion Haberhauer, the production of a DVD by Steve Humphries, Andy Attenburrow and Mike Pharey of Testimony Films, and the appointment of Teresa Crompton to assist in writing the book and in the creation of this extended website selection.

The interviews will archived as be part of the `Colchester Recalled� collection and can be consulted at either Colchester Museum or the University of Essex Library, and also at the Essex Sound Archive.

Some other books on recent Wivenhoe history

The most comprehensive account of Wivenhoe in the 20th century, particularly strong on industry and social organisations, is Nicholas Butler, The Story of Wivenhoe, 1989. Dick Barton, Wivenhoe: Its Attractions, Pleasures and Eccentric Natives, 1975 gives another briefer and spicier general picture. Janet Cooper with Shirley Durgan and C.C. Thornton, Victoria County of Essex, Vol X, has a very interesting entry on Wivenhoe. The maritime aspect of Wivenhoe’s life is recounted in John Leather, The North Seamen, 1971, and The Salty Shore, 1979, and Margaret Leather, Saltwater Village, 1977, gives the parallel Rowhedge story. David Craze, Wivenhoe: a Portrait in Pictures, 1998, records many of the visual changes up to the mid-century. On more detailed themes, the many interesting local publications include Rosemary Feesey, Wivenhoe Park. A History of the House and Grounds, 1963; Paul Brown, The Wivenhoe and Brightlingsea Railway, 1965; on the gravel pit, Bill Loveless, Destiny Delayed, 2003; C.G. Ellis, Nottage. A Viking Influence on Wivenhoe Quay, 1984; Peter Kay, Wivenhoe Pubs, 2003; Rev Clementina Gordon, Wivenhoe Congregational Church, 1966; Geoffrey King, `We nearly closed�: A History of Wivenhoe Methodist Church, 1980s; and Leonard Drinkell, Colne Lodge No 2477: The First Hundred Years, 1993.

A note on boundaries

Many people with homes in Wivenhoe have spent their lives working in Colchester or London, and some much further away, as sailors or soldiers, as colonial administrators in India or teachers in Africa. Here however we focus on their Wivenhoe-based working and lives. But rather than confining ourselves to the administrative boundaries, which during our period have shrunk on the north side and expanded on the east, the history described here is of a `greater Wivenhoe’, which includes the whole of the Wivenhoe Park Estate, the gravel pit and farms on the east side, and the Colne estuary to Brightlingsea and beyond.

image This Wivenhoe Oral History Project has been majority-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund

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