Village's photo appeal

A BOOK detailing the life of a west Norfolk village through the ages is nearing completion a decade after it began, but help is needed to complete the final details.

A BOOK detailing the life of a west Norfolk village through the ages is nearing completion a decade after it began, but help is needed to complete the final details.

These photos were taken of various people enjoying life in Bridgham, near East Harling, and will appear in an historical compilation, due out in the autumn.

Bridgham - One Thousand Years of Village Life, compiled by amateur historian David O'Neale, will appear in colour alongside these, and other, archive photos.

The first was taken in 1926 and although 84 years old, several of the people involved have already been identified. However, the first girl on the left remains a mystery, along with four boys; the first on the left, the fifth from left in the middle row, the boy behind his right shoulder, and the boy on the far right back row with a large cap.

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The second is a picture of Bridgham Infant School, class of 1953/54 where the boy in the centre of the photo has yet to be named.

Meanwhile, the third picture, is that of the Bridgham division of St John Ambulance cadets, 1982.

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Complete unknowns in this picture are two boys on the far left of the front row, and far right of the back row, and two which are uncertain are the boy on the far right of the front row, and the girl right of the middle, also at the front.

Mr O'Neale, 55, a music teacher with Norfolk County Council Music Service, of Mill House, Bridgham, said: “We've had to delve into areas we knew nothing about. Things like the Anglo-Saxons and we've had a lot to do with the Icelandic Institute.

“I've been quite outside my comfort zone, although not outside my interest zone. We thought that if it's going to be in print it needs to be correct so I've been badgering professors and academics.

“We've also spoken to a lot of the older residents about their memories and anecdotes and photographs.”

The book, which was the idea of Tony Dobbin and written by children's author Kevin Crossley-Holland, covers the years from 1007AD when Bridgham was given to the monks of Ely by a dying Saxon widow called Aelfwaru, to the present day.

A survey of the entire village in 1251 is included in which all the heads of households are named along with the services and fees they owed to the Bishop of Ely.

The book, funded with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and several community events, is also a photographic record of the village in the year 2000 and finishes with the past decade of community celebrations.

Mr O'Neale added: “We're hopeful it will galvanise the community and bring them together.”

Some 650 copies of the book will be printed and 500 sold to the public for �20, for the first month, and �25 thereafter. A total of 150 copies will be given to local residents, schools, and museums.

Anybody who can help with identification, or would like to find out more about the book or pre-order a copy should call Mr O'Neale on 01953 718266, or write to him at Mill House, Bridgham, NR16 2RS.

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