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Wickham Market: Archive Centre’s first open day, attended by Dan Poulter MP, was ‘enormous success’

12:43 28 March 2014

Dan Poulter MP visits the Wickham Market Area Archive Centre, pictured with group chairman, Philip Tallant, and Dinah Reed

Dan Poulter MP visits the Wickham Market Area Archive Centre, pictured with group chairman, Philip Tallant, and Dinah Reed

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Archivists’ attempts to gain wider publicity for their extensive collection of historical records have been described as an “enormous success” after more than 100 visitors attended their first open day.

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Wickham Market Area Archive Centre opened its doors to the public on Saturday as part of plans to restore the collection of historical books, photographs and documents to its “once great former glory”.

“With a number of new memberships opened, some additional volunteers, the promise of more archive material and a healthy donation pot, the day was deemed an enormous success,” said the centre’s Ray Whitehand.

The 66-year-old local historian and genealogist has spent countless hours painstakingly cataloguing more than 500 books, 2,000 parish magazines and thousands of documents from the 26 parishes in the upper reaches of the Deben Valley. He believes the archive has the potential to be among the best in the county and was keen to demonstrate the wealth of information on offer to visitors on the day.

Among the first to attend was MP for North Ipswich and Central Suffolk Dan Poulter, who was given a guided tour of the facility by the chairman Philip Tallant.

“The Archive Centre is a great asset for the people of Wickham Market,” said Dr Poulter. “I would like to thank the volunteers who work tirelessly at the centre, helping to preserve the rich local heritage of Wickham Market. Local families, schools and individuals are able to find out about their past and see how their local environment has evolved over the years because of the hard work of everyone connected to the centre.”

Other distinguished guests to attend included parish officers, members of the Suffolk Local History Council, University Campus Suffolk lecturers and retired Public Record Office archivists. “Virtually all commented on the vast wealth of material held by this local group, and the simple, easy to understand way it was presented,” Mr Whitehand added.

The group’s next event will be held on the Saturday and Sunday of the May Day Bank Holiday weekend, when there will be an exhibition on the First World War.

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