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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

'From a Borough to A City: A History of Chelmsford 1888-2012' by Stephen Norris

New Publication

The Latest Chelmsford Publication
The new book titled “From a Borough to a City: A History of Chelmsford 1888-2012” was launched at Chelmsford Museum on 19th November.  The event was organised by the author, Stephen Norris, supported by the Friends of Chelmsford Museums.  It took place in the presence of Lord Petre, President of the Friends, and the mayor of Chelmsford who received a copy of the book from the author.
This book is the outcome of nine years dedicated research into the ways in which Chelmsford has changed over the past 125 years.  During this period the town evolved from a small county town dependent upon the local agricultural economy into a noted industrial centre, but more recently has become a rapidly expanding de-industrialised city.  There are 28 chapters organised by topics which cover individual economic, social and political themes.  Central to the story is the development of industry and technology as represented by a number of specific companies i.e. Christy (engineering), Crompton (electrical engineering), Marconi (telecommunications), and Hoffmann (precision bearing manufacture).  Surprisingly publications about these companies have been relatively limited which makes the individual chapters devoted to each of particular importance to industrial heritage researchers.  There is also a chapter about EEV, Britvic and other post-war industries.  Throughout the book the influence of the big firms on all aspects of the lives of the town’s population is made clear, extending even to their participation in and enjoyment of sport and entertainment.
The book is not a light-weight read at 553 pages, excluding the index, and the author in his launch speech said that it was no cover to cover read.  However, with so much new information about the industrial history of Chelmsford firms it will be an essential reference for researchers and also of general interest to anyone wanting to know more about their town.  It is published by Authors Online Ltd., but can be obtained direct from Stephen Norris for £14 (

Taken from the Newsletter No. 2 of the 'Essex Industrial Archaeology Group', just sent to members.

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