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Halstead & District Local History Society

Halstead, Essex, England. Registered Charity No. 289304

Patron: Adrian Corder-Birch, D. L.,  President: Malcolm Root, FGRA

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Website by Andy


1976 -2016


Sharing Our Heritage

Adapted from a speech given by the Societies Patron, Adrian Corder-Birch, at the opening of the Halstead Heritage Museum on 26th April 2009

The new Halstead Heritage Museum is the latest but by no means the first location occupied by the Halstead and District Local History Society since its formation in 1976.

Many will remember the Brewery Chapel Museum in Adams Court, which the History Society occupied as a museum and storage building from 1985 until 2006, but you may be surprised to learn that this was not the first building to be occupied by the Society.

The story starts in 1980 when through the generosity of Evans Electroselenium Limited the Society was given the use of 23 Parsonage Street. This was previously an empty cottage near the entrance to the former Evans car park. It consisted of two floors with a large ground floor room, set up as a museum, but it was never called a museum and was always known as the Headquarters. The opening ceremony took place in September 1980 attended by Arthur and Phyllis Evans, who travelled from their home in the Channel Islands, Ted Hall, also a Director of Evans Electroselenium and a Vice President of the History Society and our first President Sir Ronald Long.

A few years later new management at Evans Electroselenium Limited (by then called Corning Medical) asked the History Society to vacate its Headquarters because they wanted to convert it back into a dwelling for an employee.

The Society then occupied part of the first floor of the former Kings Head Public House in Colchester Road for storage, some committee meetings were also held there. The occupation of this second building was only temporary until the Society moved into the Brewery Chapel in 1985. This was conveniently situated near to the workshops of Halstead Retirement Industries who carried out much useful work in the museum including the construction of shelving and a new wooden floor. The occupation of the Brewery Chapel was made possible through the generosity of Halstead Town Council following lengthy negotiations between Adrian Corder-Birch and two successive Mayors namely Tony DeFrates and Michael Gage. The Town Council owned the freehold and allowed the History Society to occupy it at a peppercorn rent namely five pence a year. A grand opening took place in 1985 performed by Victor Gray, then the County Archivist for Essex. (Victor is now the archivist for the Rothschild family). The Brewery Chapel Museum flourished for many years with numerous different exhibitions relating to the history of Halstead and District.

During the last thirty years a number of members have been active in looking after the collections of the History Society including both the archives and the artifacts and also arranging exhibitions. These have included Albert Cross, Graham Slimming, Anne Stockill, Brian Turner and Penny Hill. They have been supported with much practical hard work by staunch dedicated members such as Mary Downey, Doreen Potts, Doreen Middleton and the late Percy Bamberger to name but a few. It is through the hard work and long and loyal service of these and other members that the collections of the Halstead and District Local History Society have grown and been preserved during the last thirty years for the benefit of Halstead and District.

The new Halstead Heritage Museum will continue in the tradition set during the past thirty years. Under the guidance and encouragement of Jim Davis and Jane Winch volunteers from the Society have created the first displays depicting some key industries that have shaped Halstead its surrounding towns and villages.

Return to the Museum page

A short history of the Halstead Museum