About the booklets

How it started

Late in 1995 we were asked to research & write the text for the local history display boards in the Heritage Centre to be set up in the Priest's Room in Holy Trinity Church, Loddon.
We began by approaching a local man, Michael Gunton, who had been collecting photographs of old Loddon for many years. He was very helpful and lent us many pictures to copy.

Having decided on themes for the display boards we began hunting out elderly people who might remember the 'old times' and things just grew!
More 'old timers' suggested others who could tell a thing or two or who had old photos or postcards we could use.
Everyone was keen to chat and happy to lend pictures for us to copy.

Having finished the display boards and seen the Priest's Room opened, we were left with lots of pictures and stories not used, particularly of Chedgrave, the village adjoining but separate from Loddon, which didn't feature in the church display. So we checked our facts and details and wrote our first little Local History Booklet, 'Chedgrave Street'.

Several of the old ladies we had talked to whilst researching would get carried away with the story, then stop and say, sympathetically, "well, 'cos you 'ont remember, it were before your time, dear" and so the overall title of what became a series of booklets was born - Before Your Time.

Peter Larter, who lived in Norwich, was at the time presenting expert slide shows on many aspects of Historical Norfolk.
We went to one of his shows, introduced ourselves, showed him the booklets and told him of the photo collection.
He offered to create slides from these photos for a very modest sum, if we could borrow the originals again!
Thus our slide shows of old Loddon and its surrounding villages came about.

We now have a collection of over 600 slides and photographs, some enhanced and enlarged, together with the research notes and data we had collected over the years.

It took up too much space at home so we approached our local branch library and they agreed to make space in a side room for our 'archive material and photo collection' so that it is all more accessible (on request) to a wider public.

Originally conceived as a specific time for free public access to the photo albums, our monthly Local History Group grew into regular meetings with a local speaker or a visit to places of interest.

There are now twelve short books in the Before Your Time series, they are: Chedgrave Street; Down by the Riverside; Medical Matters; Accidents & Disasters; Aspects of War; More Aspects of War; When the Old Town Hall was New; School Days & Beyond and Whose Name is it Anyway.
The three latest booklets are - Lady Dionisis Williamson; Our Noble Hero Aelfric Modercope and Loddon A Guided Historical Walk.

Chris Crease & Carol Carpenter, authors of the Before Your Time booklets.

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