Essex Association of U3As

U3A News

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Joyce Woodham
The Association started in 1998 with 10 Essex U3As
Joyce became chairman in May 2012 and stepped down from the committee at the AGM this year (2019)
She wanted to step down as chairman in May 2016 but continued for a further year as no-one came forward to replace her. She was Vice-Chairman for her last 2 years.
During her time as Chairman the Association membership grew considerably from 21 U3As in May 2012 to 54 in May 2017.
In 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016 the Association put on Study Days at the Plume School, Maldon.
She chaired the Study Day planning committee effectively and well and contributed considerably to the success of the Study Days.
Joyce is very experienced in U3A matters as well as being involved in a large number of other areas such as finance and governing bodies. She brought clear direction to the Association and wanted to make it relevant and helpful to its members, her success in this is reflected in how the number of members has grown since 2012
Whilst she was chairman we had various speakers – Lin Jonas (National Company Secretary) on U3A constitutions, Barbara Lewis (past National Chairman), Adrian Breacker (past East of England Trustee), Angela Pleasance (ex Financial Ombudsman) on Finance and the role of Treasurers, Joyce on the role of U3A Trustees, and Brian Arrowsmith (ex information governance manager for Essex County Council) on Data Protection
We had various discussion groups – Chairmen, Secretaries, Vice Chairmen, Treasurers, Membership Secretaries, Groups’ Coordinators. The feedback from these was very helpful.
Joyce went a long way to achieve her aims for the Association to encourage, inform, help and equip its Essex U3A members
It was a privilege to work under her.
(Doug Harryman)

Chelmsford U3A Special Marconi Walk 20 June 2019
This was a guided walking tour performed by a local historian Alan Pamphilon which started at the first Marconi factory and finished inside the second.
Our walking tour started at the building which became famous as the world's first radio factory run by Marconi’s Wireless Company. The building originally was built as a steam driven silk mill but when this went out of business other uses were found until Marconi's advisors took out a 25 year lease on the property. Why choose Chelmsford? Well, there was Mr Crompton here with an electrically trained workforce, this is a flat part of Essex and there was no local aerial interference.
The equipment made at Hall Street was initially used for basic Morse messages over short distances but as the power became stronger so the distances increased. The Royal Navy became interested and so eventually did the Transatlantic liners of the time. Marconi saw this as a commercial way of making money and leased the equipment to the shipping lines charging 5d a word for the use of the radio equipment and his trained operators. The White Star line wanted this great equipment and so it was installed on RMS Titanic. Therefore because of the equipment made in Hall Street over 700 lives were saved when the ship ended up on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
The walk then progressed with some interesting facts, through the city centre and into New Street, finally to the front door of the 1912 Marconi building. The driver behind the expansion of the company and the New Street development was a man called Godfrey Isaacs. He was a real business genius but he later fell out of favour with his boss due to being the instigator of the Marconi Scandal.
Seeing inside the 1912 building was a real treat, especially as this is only available by special arrangement. We did visit the office of Godfrey Isaacs, which is now a heritage room. We learnt more about the marvellous achievements that the company and the people of Chelmsford have made possible over the years. These included the world’s first trans-european radio broadcast by Dame Nellie Melba in June 1920 from the New Street site. We were surprised that the legacy of Marconi continues today under the ownership of Teledyne e2v in Waterhouse lane, with their cancer treatment and deep space imaging equipment.
In conclusion, when the young Marconi used radio waves for practical signalling without wires in 1896 he led the way into the era of practical electronics, including not only radio but television, radar, and space communication.
It may be claimed that Marconi's choice of a disused warehouse in Hall Street to be the birthplace of the world's radio industry makes Chelmsford the starting point of the Electronic Age!
Also, because of Marcon's many talents we now have micro-processors, powerful computers, mobile communications and wireless networks. Chelmsford should therefore be very proud of its Marconi Heritage.
Alan, our guide, thanked us for coming along on that day and sharing it with us.