Archive for May, 2010

Speed Watch – Foxearth


After a long winter break and some very cold weather we hope to re-start “Speedwatch” again on a regular basis. There is no doubt that a lot of drivers transiting through the village are coming through at unacceptable speeds and this is one way to slow them down.

The demand for the speed guns in the county is high, with over 30 villages on the waiting list, so as far as we are concerned, its a “use it or lose it” situation. In the past, most of the work has been done by a small group of regulars and I shall be contacting them plus those new residents who have expressed an interest. However, the number remains small and if this initiative is important to the village and is to continue, then more volunteers are needed.

Please contact me if you can help, telephone 310130 – the commitment is small, perhaps a couple of hours every couple of weeks but if it improves the quality of life and even saves lives then it is worth doing.

David Busby

A Load of old Cobblers!

The Foxearth and District History Society met on 11th May 2010 in Foxearth Village Hall to hear a fascinating account of the development of a large, shoe-manufacturing company in Essex. Rev Capt. Brian Sampson told us how he joined the British Bata Shoe Company on a student scholarship becoming eventually manager of one of its departments. Thomas Bat’a was a Czech whose family came from a long line of shoe makers. Aided by a small inheritance he built his first factory in his home town of Zlin in 1896 and he was quickly successful because of the family’s reputation. When Hitler’s growing aggression threatened Thomas decided to look further afield and found England with its associated colonial trade attractive. He settled upon East Tilbury with its ready access to exporting ports and availability of labour and in 1933 he built a large factory with a model village which included a hotel, shopping precinct, sporting facilities including a swimming pool , a cinema and restaurants. The first managers were Czech and all the staff – with the sole exception of the Managing Director – clocked in. Discipline was apparently pretty strict and managers were paid only half salary until the 6-monthly inventories were done when they would, hopefully, get the rest. Only the engineering section was unionised. In its heyday approximately 3,000 were employed at the East Tilbury plant. As a young man, Thomas Bata had spent a short time in America and he introduced production line methods learnt there to his factory. It is said that he did for shoe manufacture what Ford did for car production. About 9,000 pairs of shoes a day were made during the company’s thriving post-war years. However as Britain’s colonies gained independence so the export trade diminished and the entrepreneur built factories overseas where labour was cheap; shoes from Bata Malaysia could be bought in below the cost of the home-produced article. Also competition from industry along the estuary made recruitment difficult and the Bata pioneering and idealistic “dream” lasted about 50 years before the plant closed.

Brian backed up his talk with some lovely archive film of the factory staff at work – and at play, as the company had sports days. He was very warmly thanked on behalf of a rather small attendance of 15 members for a most entertaining session by Chairman Alan Fitch.

The Society’s next meeting will consist of a talk by Pip Wright on Suffolk convicts in Australia; this will be at 8pm on Tuesday, 8th June in Foxearth Village Hall. The Chairman asked that those wishing to go on the visit to the gunpowder mills at Waltham Abbey on July 10th contact him immediately so that transport arrangements may be made.

Ken Nice.


Saturday June 26th at 7.30pm
MIDSUMMER MAGIC ! – 7 Young Musicians – incl finalists from this year’s
BBC TV’s Young Musician of The Year Competition & London’s Purcell Music School, (Flute,Clarinet,Violin,Viola,Cello and two pianists) play Music for a Summer Evening by Mozart, Schumann, Debussy and Brahms etc in aid of Church funds.
Tickets £16 (inclusive of interval wine and canapes) from Claire Flux (375864) or Landers Bookshop, Long Melford from June 1st.

Book early -last year was standing room only!!

Festival Sunday June 27th
11.15 am SUNG EUCHARIST – Celebrant – Father Eoin Buchannan, and Tallis Mass sung by Kirbye Voices. Coffee or sherry after the service.

4pm CHORAL EVENSONG sung by Kirbye Voices with music from their 2010 Cathedral tour – followed by teas in the churchyard and trips up the tower.

6pm POETRY, WINE & MUSIC – an hour of poetry, with a glass of chilled wine, & musical interludes from the Young ‘Purcellian’ instrumentalists. Free admission with retiring collection