Exhibitions chronicles working lives in Haverhill

Well over 100 people attended the opening night of the Haverhill At Work exhibition at Haverhill Arts Centre.
Well over 100 people attended the opening night of the Haverhill At Work exhibition at Haverhill Arts Centre.

The auditorium at Haverhill Arts Centre was brimming with people last Thursday (2) evening who either took part in the Haverhill Family History Group’s (HFHG), ‘Haverhill at Work’ project or was somehow involved.

Aided by funding from ONE Haverhill and various forms of other support the history group invited anyone who had worked in the town from 1960 onwards to drop-in sessions where they could meet old colleagues and friends.

Many of the sessions were recorded (the first taking place in November 2015) and it was those recordings - some 100 hours worth - that were edited by Glyn Baker into a 45 minute film that was watched by the audience.

Some 300 people were involved in the sessions, with 100 being interviewed, and their co-operation was acknowledged by the HFHG chairman, Brian Thompson, prior to the film being shown.

He said: “This began well over one year ago and it is with great pleasure that we’ve finally managed to organise this exhibition, which is as much yours as it is ours.

“It was an ambitious project and without any previous experience in this field the Haverhill Family History Group ventured into new territory.

“Our drop-in sessions showed just how interested you all were in participating. Without your support we would have nothing to display.”

The film included contributions, often humorous, from the employees of many well-known companies, some still here and some not, including Gurteens, Mansol (Preforms), Addis, Halliburton and Hille.

The exhibition, which features artefacts and photos, continues in the arts centre Bistro and History Room until the end of March.

Mr Thompson felt the contributions evoked one powerful sentiment.

He said: “A lot of people with the big companies felt they worked with a family.

“A lot of people that came in with the (London) overspill stayed with these companies for 25,30 or 40 years because they knew each other. It’s almost like a family.

“The sports and social aspect also stood out. It was so important for the morale of the new people in the town to make friends.”

John Mayhew, chair of ONE Haverhill Partnership, said: “We were delighted to support this exhibition detailing some of Haverhill’s rich history.

“Our community grants scheme was set up to support projects within the town and we would like to congratulate Haverhill Family History Group for producing such a fantastic and fascinating exhibition.”