book launch

Meet the Balsham Map Project team

The original idea for this book came from attending a talk in February 2013, by Susan  Oosthuizen, University Senior Lecturer in Historic Environment, University of Cambridge.  The presentation featured the oldest known map of Balsham, dated 1617. Susan suggested that it would be a good idea to work on a project to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the map in 2017. I was convinced this was feasible, but only if people were willing to share their knowledge and keen to do local research could it proceed further. Through the village magazine I appealed for anyone else who thought this a good idea; there was considerable interest, so in May 2013 the Balsham Map Project was formed.

Personally I have been privileged to handle centuries old maps and documents, and enjoyed the hospitality of the Brothers at the Charterhouse. Following the census records and newspaper reports on the families who lived in Balsham in times past has been absolutely fascinating.  The biggest problem we all faced was knowing exactly when and where to stop. 

Not everyone who set out on this journey could commit themselves fully, but they have remained supportive. I am grateful to the remaining group members who gave so generously of their time and expertise

Berenice Smith who shared her design and publishing knowledge, kept us on schedule, created the design of the book and website and material for the launch.

Dick Paden, who although joining the group mid-way, was keen to take on a task.  As well as putting pen to paper, he co-ordinated with other organisations to ensure for a safe and sound Boundary Walk. 

Gene Bridgeman kept copious notes of our enthusiastic meetings, whilst using her local connections and memories, and brought together appealing stories and shares family photos in these pages. 

Jan Ellam very cheerfully shared her vast collection of photographs; plus her own memories of family and friends and for bringing them all together, resulting in remarkable accounts of village life.

Pat Faircloth, who delved into her corner of the village and way beyond, and came up with some enjoyable stories, family history and documents.

Peter Neale's farming experience proved invaluable, and was instrumental in negotiating with local landowners, enabling the Boundary Walks to be held.

Sara Himsworth was unstinting and went to great lengths in her fund-raising efforts, as well as finding out the history and past occupants of her family home.

Seppe Cassettari: without whose skills we would not have progressed very far; he worked his magic on the maps we gathered, and presented them so they could be displayed for all to see at our exhibitions.

Finally, eternal thanks to Ian Creek, my husband, for his enduring patience and for coming to my rescue to see me through some challenging times. Ian is also the treasurer of our group. 

Margaret Creek 

Left to right: Pat Faircloth, Seppe Cassettari, Jan Ellam, Peter Neale, Gene Bridgeman, Dick Paden, Margaret Creek, Berenice Smith and Ian Creek.

Left to right: Pat Faircloth, Seppe Cassettari, Jan Ellam, Peter Neale, Gene Bridgeman, Dick Paden, Margaret Creek, Berenice Smith and Ian Creek.

The story behind the book

We had two speakers at our book launch and here is one of the presentations.

Berenice Smith is a designer who grew up in Balsham. She's also a professional designer with over twenty years experience. A speaker and educator, Berenice has a Masters in graphic design and typography. She explained to the audience about the story behind our book.  To find out more about her you can get in touch via her website here.

The hardest part of any book project is knowing when to stop the research! The book team researched the material for 3 years using resources at the London Metropolitan Archives, Charterhouse and the University Library and many others.

The hardest part of any book project is knowing when to stop the research! The book team researched the material for 3 years using resources at the London Metropolitan Archives, Charterhouse and the University Library and many others.

 
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One of the most important decisions is knowing what direction to take. Is the book printed, or epub? Maybe both? How to plan out the pages too. All big decisions that often have to be made before the book is written.

 
There are many stages to the book and these are the steps that the book team went through since February this year. 

There are many stages to the book and these are the steps that the book team went through since February this year. 

 
We did a lot as a team to keep you in touch with us whilst we were writing and designing too. 

We did a lot as a team to keep you in touch with us whilst we were writing and designing too. 

 
Some of our advice on what you may consider. You can also get tips from our news posts too.

Some of our advice on what you may consider. You can also get tips from our news posts too.

 
Do let us know what you think. Let us know via our contact page or look up Berenice on  social media . 

Do let us know what you think. Let us know via our contact page or look up Berenice on social media