Spring 2021 Newsletter

Chairman’s message
Chris Bellamy

Editor’s comments
Paul Chaplin

Note from the President
David Simmonds

From Pam Swaby

Keeping up a reputation
Shirley Deering

From Pam Swaby

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A lady wearing glasses and holding a blue plaque

Pam is a member of Chelmsford & District NT Supporter Group and Chelmsford Civic Society was awarded a British Empire Medal in 2021

When we moved to Chelmsford in 2008, Malcolm Noble, Chairman of Chelmsford Civic Society, was launching a new initiative entitled “Changing Chelmsford” stimulating community action to celebrate and grow the culture, character and creativity of Chelmsford. At this meeting, workshops took place and as a result the consensus was for a much-needed community space in Chelmsford and also an annual Chelmsford Festival. Leonie Ramondt willingly stepped up to the plate. I was tasked with organizing the first Purely Essex Food Festival, a River Festival on the River Can and Springfield Basin and a mock Magistrates trial in Essex Council Chamber which was repeated the following year. As there is so much industrial history in Chelmsford, I challenged someone to take on the role of a walking history guide. Alan Pamphilon, who picked up the gauntlet and ran with it and is now responsible as well for Heritage Open Days and blue plaques.

In 2015, we campaigned to save the World’s First Wireless Factory with crowdfunding but sadly the developer did not give us sufficient time to raise the money for crowdfunding. However, we ran a Marconi exhibition there for 3 months including talks by Prof D George of Manchester Uni, Dr Elizabeth Bruton Science Museum and Tim Maltin Titanic Expert- on that occasion we were donated a full-size replica of the Titanic Radio Room which now resides at Oaklands Museum. We were strongly advised to submit an application to Heritage Lottery Fund but once again the timescale was not conducive. As a result of my requesting in 2016 that the British Science Festival add Chelmsford to the nomination list in 2020 - we were delighted to succeed - however Covid intervened and it will not now be until 2021. Hence Marc De’ath of Chelmsford City Council set up monthly “Ignite” Meetings to start the ball rolling- with the launching in Jan 2020 - the Chinese New Year.

2020 was the Centenary of Marconi’s first radio broadcast by Dame Nellie Melba at the New St factory and we unveiled the first blue plaque in the City Centre with support of Michael Hurst of CCC on 15 June 2020. A play was created by Tim Wander, author and historian, and sadly took place without an audience. The hope is to repeat it again next June - 12 months later.

Finally, I came across this quote from Michelle Obama “if you want to have a say in your community, if you truly want the power to control your destiny - you have to get involved - where you live!.”

My new wish list - Shire Hall - ongoing discussions with East of England NT director and others - for science and heritage centre, punts on the river, rickshaws for taking elderly in the park, outdoor musical instruments in parks, Birth of British Broadcasting 2022, 2025 City of Culture.

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