The Essex History Group was one of the earliest of the Basildon & Billericay U3A interest groups, for many years meeting in the co-ordinator's home but now in a small church hall in Wickford on the first Monday of each month.
We currently have thirteen members, each one regularly contributing to our shared learning experience in some way.
We research as individuals or sometimes in twos or threes and present our findings to the rest of our members. We are a quite relaxed and informal group and depending on the subject, discussion can range quite widely. Over the years we have looked at interesting people and places, social changes which have impacted on our county, crimes, religious sects and so on. We have yet to run out of material or different aspects of something researched before.
We quite often arrange visits to places we have discussed. Quite soon we hope to visit Copped Hall researched by one of our members over a few months, the building had a fascinating tale to tell. Last year we had a guided tour of Coggeshall with its 300 listed buildings, and later in the summer, a quite different tour of Foulness, this time on a horse drawn hay wagon. We have learned much about Foulness and the small islands around it from one of our members who has researched the family history of almost all the families who have ever lived there.
Our Christmas meeting always has a suitably festive feel, with recitations of seasonal or Essex connected poems, fiendishly difficult Essex based quizzes, all helped along with nibbles and wine. It's great fun.
Each month one member volunteers to write a summary of the topics discussed and these are read out at the next meeting. Often others have further information on one or more of the subjects.
We keep an archive of our work and, from time to time, it’s brought along for us to peruse.
Having been in existence for close to twenty five years we hope to continue for many more. I'm sure there's much left for us to discover about our interesting county.