Patrons of the Society


   Christopher Harrold   Professor Geoffrey T Martin John Webb

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Christopher Harrold

Chris is well known as a local historian and author of the best-seller 'The Story of St Clement's', the church at West Thurrock which featured in the popular film 'Four Weddings and a Funeral'. An expert on Heraldry, he has published many articles in Panorama and contributed the 'County of Essex' to the series 'Hatchments in Britain'. He is the author of 'Exploring Thurrock', a historical guide to Thurrock. A music lover and member of Thurrock Arts Council since 1969, he has recently retired from the post of Chairman, a position he held for ten years. His coat of arms illustrates his contribution to heraldry and the arts.

John Webb                                                       

John has lived all his life in Grays and trained as a Civil Engineer. He worked for the Thurrock Urban District Council during the major development period after the '39-'45 war and then for the Basildon Development Corporation, retiring as Chief Engineer. His interest in history and archeology was stimulated by the excellent series of lectures on the subject arranged by Thurrock Libraries and the WEA in the 1960s and '70s and by joining the Society. With many other members of the Society he was involved in the major archeological excavations at Mucking and then with the rescue of Coalhouse Fort and now with the Davy Down project..He is Past president of the Essex Archaeological and Historical Congress. John took over as Chairman of the Society when Aubrey Saunders, who had been Chairman for over 30 years retired to the West country in 1987, and has also edited the Society's Journal, Panorama, since 1990. He stood down as chairman of the society in April 2003. In recognition of his contributions to the society over many years, he was unanimously chosen as a patron.

Professor Geoffrey T Martin

Professor Martin was born in South Ockendon, attended school at Aveley and later Palmer's School in Grays. He was interested in history and archaeology from an early age and his particular interest in Egyptology developed whilst at university. He worked in the Egyptology Department at University College, London and in 1975 he was appointed Director of the joint Anglo/Dutch expedition at Saqqara.

For four seasons from 1999 he was joint Field Director of the Amarna Royal Tombs Project in the Valley of the Kings, Luxor. In 2005 he formed his own small mission (The Cambridge Expedition to the Valley of the Kings) to work in the same location, and is currently investigating the tomb of the pharaoh Horemheb, who was originally Tutankhamun's regent and adviser but eventually succeeded to the throne himself. Professor Martin is now Emeritus Professor of Egyptology at the University of London and Fellow Commoner, Christ's College, Cambridge University. He is also a prolific author; his book 'The Hidden Tombs of Memphis' being of particular interest to the general reader.

Over the years we have lost a number of individuals who have made a major contribution to the society and local history in Thurrock. Here are the obituaries for:

Jonathan Catton, Randal Bingley, Brian Burton, John H Boyes, Margaret Jones, Sherwin Chase and Dr Mike Catton

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