Purpose of the Recorders

The Local History Recorders scheme originated in Sussex in the 1950s, and was taken up by other counties including Essex and promoted initially by the Community Council of Essex. It evolved, however, into an autonomous body, albeit linked to the Essex Congress. The size of Essex made it difficult for far-flung Recorders to keep in touch, and so in 1998 the Essex Recorders decided to set up branches in each district including Uttlesford. In 2003 it became a fully constituted organisation with the aims to record the present, and to ensure that valuable archives and artefacts of the past are not destroyed. This can be broken down into six inter-related functions: To be a chronicler of current events, not well recorded elsewhere.

  1. To report heritage finds to the appropriate body (such as record office, museum, etc).

  2. To attempt to secure preservation or at least copies of documents and photograph artefacts.

  3. To be a history adviser, returning information to the community, on available resources.

  4. To keep in touch with heritage bodies, so that they are aware of what is happening locally.

  5. to be guardians of local information originals or in duplicate

Most of the 57 parishes in Uttlesford are represented by a Recorder and they are encouraged to pursue their own priorities as to what they do and how much time they can spend. The only thing we like to have is an annual report on village history events and activities to send to ERO. Other projects can include:books, pamphlets and articles on village historyoral history interviewstranscription of village archivesexhibitions, pageants and playssurveys – e.g field names, gravestones, houses, war memorialsparish maps and village signs before-and-after photographs of village developments photos of village events and personalitieshelp school pupils with history projectsshow visitors round the villagetry to answer genealogical enquiries Recorders are volunteers and like everyone else have limited time, so in practice they tailor the role to their individual interests and resources. But whatever they do, Recorders play a vital role, as the preservation and communication of historical knowledge is a vital part of our sense of identity and well-being, our willingness to raise funds for village causes and, when necessary, to provide evidence and give us confidence to speak out in defence of threatened heritage.

RUH supports Recorders in the following ways:

  • workshops on useful skills such as constructing websites

  • occasional talks such as how to date photographs

  • use of the ruth database specially designed for village archives

  • loan of equipment for presentations such as ohp digital projector scanners etc

  • regular e-news bulletins with useful information & occasional newsletters

  • a resource pack with useful addresses and material for projects

  • visitor’s cards which emphasise the Recorders’ local role

  • support in any local queries and problems

  • access to advice about conservation and storage of archives

  • occasional meetings to discuss matters of mutual interest

  • continuity when Recorders retire

  • the chance to be part a wider network of historians

  • with local resource centres such as Saffron Walden town library, museum and ERO

  • to deposit annual reports on village life in ero

The RUH has close links to Saffron Walden Museum the Town Library and Essex Record Office. Recorders are encouraged to work closely with their local parish councils and local history societies. The RUH is run by a committee, who largely communicate by email, with occasional meetings. The current committee are: Jacqueline Cooper (chair & Clavering Recorder), Fiona Bengtsen (treasurer & Manuden Recorder), Kate McManus (secretary & Chesterfords Recorder), Ray Franklin (Elsenham Recorder), David Evans (Newport Recorder), Debbie Lowe (Wicken Bonhunt Recorder), with Rosemarie Gant and Peter Upson as ex-officio members advising on IT.

For further details please contact the chairman