A COMMUNITY event designed to shed more light on the history of a north Essex village was a huge success.

More than 120 people of all ages turned out for the Learn about Langham afternoon organised by Langham Heritage Group.

It was also a chance for the group to talk about what it does and encourage others to get involved, explains one of its founder members Ian Hollands.

On display throughout the event were a whole host of documents and photographs relating to village life and collated and documented by the heritage group.

The group grew out of a similar but much smaller event, an evening of local history, which was held at the community centre three years ago, explains Ian.

“We have no formal status, there are no rules, no qualification for membership or limit to its numbers, just an interest in local history.”

They set about collecting as much information as possible, gathering and recording memories for digital downloads along with photographs and memorabilia.

Halstead Gazette: Caring - District nurse Lewis with her Austin carCaring - District nurse Lewis with her Austin car

Ian says : “Appeals to residents have enabled the Langham Heritage Group to gather in a large number of documents and photographs dating back to the early years of the last century and even beyond.”

Visitors could also view the digitised material on a computer screen and hear the recorded voices of Langham Primary School children reading extracts from the transcriptions of the reminiscences of older Langham residents.

The main feature of the event was a two-part talk by local historian Simon Gallup on the history of the village.

He says : “Many were surprised to learn that “Langham” does not mean “Long Village” but, as shown in the Domesday Book, “La-inga-ham”, the settlement of the followers of La who was a Saxon chief”

Among the accounts in the digitised collection are that of life before, during and after the Second World War.

Images from that time are among the exhibits, as well as those of the war memorial launched after the Great War in memory of those lost in that conflict, in 1921.

The village played a vital part in the Second World War as home to Boxted Airfield, housing American Airman from the mid 1940s onwards.

Langham was already the name of an airfield in Norfolk, so to avoid confusion the new one was named Boxted.

Simon Gallup explains this decision was actually unnecessary because the two airfields were on completely different flight paths.

The group also appealed for more information about characters and events in the village’s history and were actively working with the primary school.

As a result of that appeal more information was received about district Nurse Lewis who worked in the community for many years.

Reader Margaret Bland remembered Nurse Lewis living above her parents, Ephraim and Kitty, at this time in Dedham.

“I actually only ever new her as Nurse Lewis, that is what everyone called her.”

Margaret says Nurse Lewis lived into her 90s and remained active during that time.

To get involved with the heritage group contact ianhollands33@gmail.com