Docking exhibition sends message across generations

William Henry Wells' postcard home to his parents from 'in France somewhere' MLNF15PB05444 ANL-150705-134739001
William Henry Wells' postcard home to his parents from 'in France somewhere' MLNF15PB05444 ANL-150705-134739001
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It is a tantalising glimpse into history ... written 100 years ago by a William Henry Wells on two postcards from the trenches of France.

The cards from the village teenager, written “somewhere in France” was found by a member of Docking Heritage Group browsing eBay.

Eighty-six year old Reg Wells examines the display about his family which includes photographs he is seeing for the first time. MLNF15PB05446

Eighty-six year old Reg Wells examines the display about his family which includes photographs he is seeing for the first time. MLNF15PB05446

The group could not obtain a third but got a facsimile of the message on the back.

It was only one of several new bits of fascinating historical information brought to light for the village’s eighth annual Heritage Exhibition in the Ripper Memorial hall over the Bank Holiday which attracted a constant flow of visitors on Sunday and Monday.

Group secretary, Helena Aldis said: “The cards belonged to a book and postcard dealer and had come from a house clearance.

“We don’t know where the house is but it was a long way from Norfolk.”

The display, also included previously discovered family photographs which brought back memories for William’s 86-year-old son, Reg Wells.

“I recognised them as my family. I had never seen them before,” he said.

Perhaps the most poignant was of himself and sisters Betty and Biddy in the 1930s.

There was also a Shoeing Certificate, awarded by the School of Farriers, in Woolwich, showing that William had been trained to shoe horses.

A major feature this year was a collection of photographs and information on the many business in the village which at one time boasted no fewer than ten public houses, two butchers, three bakers, two barbers, two cobblers, a clock repairer, four blacksmiths, a harness-maker and three carpenters.

Chairman, Paul Hewitt, was handed scores of new photographs over the two days of the exhibition.

Already responsible for an archive of 5,000 village photographs, some a 100 years old, he knows that somewhere there are more pictures of village life still waiting to be unearthed.

The group plans to start a new joint project, after a chance meeting with one video-skilled visitor from Lincolnshire, of a new collection of living video diaries of residents with recollections of World War Two.