A record of Rayleigh

Since 1991, a group of local historians have been collecting images and material to preserve past memories of Rayleigh. Here Essex Life presents a snapshot

IN 1991, Ernie Lane and Edward Fitzgerald published the first definitive book on the history of Rayleigh entitled Rayleigh, A Pictorial History. Ernie followed this five years later with a second book, Rayleigh, Its People & Places. With this wealth of material, Ernie started to give slide shows and talks to local groups raising money for local charities. In all, Ernie raised more than £15,000. In early 2002 Mike Davies took over as custodian of the collection that now consists of 2,000 35mm slides along with a vast collection of postcards and related ephemera. Mike has continued to give slide shows and has now presented more than 50 talks himself raising more funds for charity. With the help of a Lottery grant, Mike has now digitalised the collection which covers the history of Rayleigh from before the Domesday Book, although the majority of images are from the 1880s to the present time. The images shown here are just a small selection from the collection, including the Regal Cinema, Rayleigh Speedway, the opening of the A127, the Peculiar People's Sect, the Martyrs' Memorial, the Windmill, the Dutch Cottage and the High Street. If you have any memories or pictures of Rayleigh or are a member of a group that would like to host a talk, please call Mike on 01268 785657 or email him at rayleighthroughthelookingglass@tesco.net