Looking forward to Braughing Society events

We hope to be able to spend a day out in Ely on 8 July for a guided tour of one of the UK's finest and oldest cathedrals, known locally as ‘the ship of the Fens’, because of its prominent position rising above the surrounding flat landscape.

There will be the option to have lunch at the quirky Old Fire Engine House, which doubles as an art gallery.  After lunch we will return to the cathedral where half the party will climb the Octagon Tower whilst the rest of us enjoy a visit to the Stained Glass Museum. A stroll through the cathedral parkland to Jubilee Gardens and the river will be rewarded with tea and cake at Peacocks – a multiple winner of Britain's top tea shop award. Other options are a visit to Oliver Cromwell's house or Waterside antiques, or perhaps a half hour river cruise. The visit to Ely is self-drive with lifts available. The tour is limited to 24 people with five places still available. Cost is dependent on the options chosen

For further details email Roger Stainton.

Braughing’s historic photo collection

In the last issue of Braughing LIFE readers were asked to dig out photos that they had taken over the past 10 years, and to take new ones, for the ‘Braughing Aplenty in 2020’ photographic exhibition, which the Braughing Society is planning for 16-17 October. 

Similar exhibitions were held in 2010, 2005, 1995, 1985, and a few times before that. The photographs displayed then, together with earlier collections going back to 1880, are an important historic photographic record of life in our community. 

The collection comprises around 65 photo albums, which are also indexed and digitalised in various formats. 

For many years the collection was housed in the room above the Old Boys’ School. Last year it was transferred to Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies (HALS) at County Hall in Hertford

Where did the collection come from?

Soon after the Braughing Society was established in 1972, the minister at the Braughing Chapel, Revd. David R Smith, suggested producing a collection of ‘old photographs of Braughing’. The following year he sold the society an accumulation of historic photos for the sum of £75. These included wedding photos taken 90 years earlier.  The following year (1974), the society held its first photographic exhibition displaying 315 prints. This event was financed by a £90 grant from the same Revd. Smith, together with a donation of £20 from Don McCullin. 

Don McCullin lived at Redstack in the 1970s.  Widely acclaimed as one of the 20th century’s greatest photographers, Don worked as overseas correspondent for the Sunday Times. His many dramatic, and at times shocking, front covers of the Sunday Times magazine, featured photographs taken during the conflicts in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Nigeria, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and more recently Iraq.  These images earned him several worldwide awards, as did revealing photos showing extreme poverty in industrially depressed parts of Britain. He was knighted in 2017 for his contribution to photography. Sir Don now lives in Somerset.  His many books, including one published in Italian, include photographs of rural scenes attributed to Braughing. 

Seven photographs taken by Sir Don will be on display at the exhibition in the community centre in October.

Roger Stainton

Make the most of staying at home

Let's make the most of staying at home. Now is an excellent opportunity for you to dig out all those photographs you have taken during the past 10 years. Amongst them will be some that remind us of special events that took place in the village and the wider parish. We need these to add to the unique historic photographic archive that so far spans 130 years. It is important to record how and when aspects of the village, buildings, its commerce, surrounding countryside and farms have changed for all time. 

Ten years ago, the "Now and Then in 2010" photo exhibition was held and 280 photographs, chosen from a wider selection, were displayed. Following the exhibition these were added to the accumulated archive. The amassed collection is now safe-guarded for public access by Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies at County Hall. A digital version is accessible on the Braughing website.

Covid-19 confining us to our homes also offers another opportunity. Everyone has had to adapt to a modified way of life, so record this for future generations. We need to have a photographic record of what life in 2020 was like whilst having to work, school, and play at home. Be imaginative and click away on your mobile phone or DSLR camera. 

Planning is under way for “Braughing Aplenty in 2020” to be held over the weekend of 17/18 October. Towards the end of the summer we would like to receive your photographic contributions on a flash memory stick or a camera's SD card. We shall also be holding a competition open to all under 18s in the parish. For further information about this or any aspect of the exhibition please contact me or any member of the committee.

Roger Stainton