AFTER our AGM in April we welcomed our webmaster John Matthews, showing us the wealth of information on our website. It was first launched at the Thameside Theatre 20 years’ ago when Derek Austin. Hazel Austin, Maggie Smith. Susan Yates and John Matthews formed a sub-committee. Our website was first designed to be viewed from a PC but nowadays was not compatible with a mobile phone. John has since solved this by re-jigging the Home Page, the navigation buttons being changed from the side panel to the top. Carousel images have also been added to the Home Page – there are only three at the moment, but more will be added. Also the Site Map needs to be re-introduced. There is a search button on the home page, hosted by Google, allowing easy access to specific queries.
Our Patrons need to be updated, as sadly Professor G.T. Martin has recently died. People and Places include churches, with links to other information, e.g. Aveley Belhus English Heritage report. Some individual pages still need the navigation buttons changed to the top of the page. Sports and Leisure cover many activities and even include baseball in Thurrock. Publications & e-prints cover Parish Guides, Panoramas (which can also be ordered from Amazon) and others, but the list also needs to be updated.
John pointed out that that our Blog covers several articles, Fifty Fabulous Features being recently added. It includes latest pages, queries and ‘Did you know?’. There are also interactive maps, John citing one showing the whereabouts and information on the seventeen green plaques in the borough, some still to be erected when a suitable location is found. Another map, funded by the Land of the Fanns project, covers sites connected to the cement industry, for which a booklet was recently published.
Our website also includes Twitter where there are mainly re-tweets but we also add information, such as the Orsett Show. We are also represented on Facebook.
During the Covid-19 lockdown John Matthews, together with Phil Lobley, made much use of maps covering Thurrock, particularly Google Earth and Google Street view. Google Earth can also look back at earlier versions, including aerial photos, some going back to the 1940s. The National Library of Scotland have a brilliant collection of English ordnance survey maps, with many dates available. The Genealogist (a pay-per-view site) also has many maps, including tithe maps for Essex, showing the owner and tenant. John used Belmont Castle as an example, showing how it ‘disappeared’ through various map timelines.
John’s talk was an enthusiastic and informative view of the Society’s website, showing many features that perhaps our members were unaware of. It certainly encouraged a further look.
Our next meeting (the last of the season) is at 8pm on Friday 20 May at St John’s church hall, Victoria Avenue, Grays, when Malcolm Harvey’s talk is entitled Hidden History of Hospitals. Visitors are always welcome.