On Tuesday, 6 February 2024, David Warren will give a talk entitled A Personal 60-year Journey on Orford Ness.
David will explain his connection with Orford Ness from when he spent four years there as a Scientific Assistant going on to become a National Trust volunteer Ranger and, later, an independent military researcher. His long-lasting affinity with the Ness increased during his time spent at Aldermaston.
As a volunteer, David led a National Trust programme to find and record the memories of Orford Ness ‘Veterans’. The facts and memories shared by 55 Vets motivated him and other volunteers to work on acquiring and adding new information to that already published by the National Trust. David’s talk will include an overview of the vast range of military technologies that were carried out on the Ness, together with an explanation of the various projects newly discovered by independent researchers – now branded as IR-GON. It will also demonstrate IRGON’s use of CGI intended to give the public ‘virtual tours’ of the Ness and the interior of its many iconic structures. Analysis of the Vets’ recordings by a Framlingham-born, Canadian Sociology Professor in his academic work on ‘Secrecy’ will be explained, as will the boost given to research by AWE Aldermaston supplying 850 de-classified files.
On Thursday, 14 March 2024, Philip Wise, archaeologist, historian, Fellow of the Society of Antiquities of London, an Associate member of the Museums Association and of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, and Heritage Manager at Colchester & Ipswich Museums, will talk about The Fenwick Treasure.
In 2014, the Colchester Archaeological Trust undertook a major excavation at the Williams and Griffin, now Fenwick, department store on Colchester High Street. The Trust uncovered evidence of the Boudican Revolt, including the remains of a house, which had been destroyed by fire, burnt food items inside the house and the remarkable Fenwick Treasure. The Treasure is a hoard of Roman jewellery and coins which was hurriedly buried under the floor of the house shortly before it was destroyed. It consists of silver coins, gold finger rings, earrings, armlets, bracelets, and military awards, which are comparable to finds from Pompeii. In this talk Philip Wise, who was personally involved in arranging for the Fenwick Treasure to come to Colchester Castle Museum, will discuss the significance of the Treasure, especially what it tells us about life in Colchester at the time of the Boudican Revolt.
On Wednesday, 24 April 2024, Matt Salusbury will give a talk entitled The Big Cats of Suffolk. There have been reports of big cats seen in the wild in Suffolk since the 1970s. Witnesses describe seeing black leopards, pumas, lynxes and bobcats across the county. There were even a couple of big cat sightings around Orford in the early 2000s!
In this talk, freelance journalist and author Matt Salusbury will present the evidence – over 200 accounts (and counting) of encounters by people in Suffolk with mystery big cats, as well as “kill signs” – evidence that big cats have been feeding on the corpses of livestock and wildlife. We’ll also see a very small quantity of photographic evidence and a few short bits of video footage of possible big cats filmed in or around the county. The talk will look at the waves of big cat sightings across Suffolk that started around 1996. Some Suffolk big cats were reported so often they were even given names at the time – the Debenham Lion, the Haverhill Puma, the big cat seen around Ipswich known as “Claws.” Also looked into
Are the patterns in big cat sightings around Suffolk – where in the county are the big cat hotspots, the habitats where big cats are more frequently encountered to this day? What are people seeing when they report big cats? Are they the fourth- or fifth-generation descendants of leopards, pumas, lynxes – exotic pets released into the British countryside some 50 years ago? Or is something happening to the feral domestic cats living in the wild that has turned some of them into giants? Or are these sightings just misidentifications? The data has been collected over a decade and published in the book Mystery Animals of Suffolk (Matt Salusbury, Leiston Press, Leiston, 2023). Signed copies will be on sale after the talk. You can report any East Anglian big cat sightings to the author’s website, https://bigcatsofsuffolk.com, which at the time of writing was receiving a couple of reports a week.
Matt Salusbury is a freelance journalist and English language teacher and the author of Mystery Animals of Suffolk (Leiston Press, 2023). Matt lived in Dunwich and in Chediston throughout the 2010s and is still Chair of the Trustees of Dunwich Museum as well as BBC Radio Suffolk’s big cat expert. He was for many years an editor at EL Gazette, the industry magazine of the international English language teaching industry and also an editor at the Freelance, a newsletter and resource for freelance journalists. He is a regular contributor to Fortean Times (strapline: “The World of Strange Phenomena”) and has written for publications including the Guardian, The Independent and History Today. His other books include Pygmy Elephants (CFZ Press, Woolsery, 2013), which took him to Kerala in southern India to investigate reports of adult elephants just 1.5 metres (5 feet) high at the shoulder. He has also written an article entitled The Woodwoses of Suffolk for The Orford & District Local History Bulletin Issue 32 which was published in the summer of 2019.
All talks start at 6.00pm and last about an hour and a half. Tickets cost £15.00 for Friends of Orford Museum, £18 for guests and include a complimentary glass of wine.
To book tickets for these talks, please go to our website at www.orfordmuseum.org.uk or email the Treasurer at email@example.com.