Members of the Group enjoying their first meeting in their new premises
In the Spring of 2010, dozens of photographs and other records of village life were brought to an event in Benhall Church. One result of this was that the Benhall and Sternfield History Group was established, aiming to preserve some of this material for future generations to enjoy.
Since then the Group has organised History Walks, Reminiscence Events, and has published several village calendars. The recording of village lives has started. We operated on a very small budget, with help from the Village Show Committee and some generous donations.
A Big change
In August 2017 the Group settled into premises in the Turkey Shed at Smoke House Farm, Sandy Lane, Sternfield. Here we have been able to bring together all the records collected over the years.The boxes and files include correspondence, accounts, minutes, publicity etc., from all the organisations in the parishes including the Flower Show Committee and the Parish Council; papers donated by individuals and families; planning records; photographs and slides; scrapbooks and albums. Recently all the records of the Women’s Fellowship, now so sadly defunct, were placed in our care.
While it is a great pleasure to have our own premises, they do come at the cost of around £600 a year for rent and insurance. We aim to cover these running costs through our own fund-raising activities, such as talks, quiz nights and the sale of publications - in particular, a local calendar. Watch out for the latest -The Benhall and Sternfield Artists’ Calendar for 2019. We also received two very generous donations from private individuals in the parish, towards the rent for the first two years.
We have made a start on sorting the records with the aim of making them easily accessible one day, both to ourselves and to anyone else who is interested. This involves dividing the records into topics, then organising the resulting piles either alphabetically or chronologically Then there will be indexes to be compiled.
The archival resources - acid-free boxes, envelopes, files, etc., - needed to ensure the long-term survival of the records, cost money and we also need three lockable metal storage cupboards.
We have been really fortunate recently in being awarded grants amounting to nearly half our budget of just over £2,000 from the following organisations: Suffolk Coastal District Council, The Flower Show Committee, Waitress Community Fund and our own Parish Council. Huge thanks to them for their invaluable support with these one-off capital costs.
From our new base we are continuing our programme of activities and publications. See under Coming Events in this website. The Group as a whole meets every two months to discuss activities and take them further. We welcome new members to work with us. Membership costs £10 a year. To contact the History Group, phone Pauline on 602563.