Education Update: Essex Police Museum

Our research volunteers have been working very hard to uncover stories from Essex so that they can be compiled into an exhibition, to be launched in September.

Meanwhile our museums have been meeting with teachers to work together to create educational sessions on the First World War, using collections, that will last beyond the life of the project.

Becky Wash from the Essex Police Museum has been working with volunteer Mick Ford and teachers from Chelmer Valley High School.

EPM logo

Here’s summary of their plans:


Mick Ford has done a large amount of research relating to the Fire Brigade during the Great War.  A Fire / Police connection can be made with the L32 crash near Billericay, although the police museum does not have any material relating to the L32 crash. A model of the L32 is currently on loan to Stow Maries Aerodrome.

The museum’s main WW1 story is the L33 crash at Little Wigborough. This occurred on the same evening as the L32 crash, however there appears to be no fire connection with the L33 crash.

Volunteer Adrian Jones is currently researching the story of Zeppelina and Charles ‘Zepp’ Smith. Trustee Maureen Scollan is researching Dr Salter – a Special Constable and doctor who helped give birth to Zeppelina, and Special Constable Edgar Nicholas.


Mick is a teacher at Chelmer Valley School. He has introduced me to the art and history teachers and together we have arranged for a short assembly on March 12. The assembly will run with a powerpoint presentation. We have chosen ‘Zeppelins’ as our topic.

From our presentation, the year 9 pupils will create a piece of artwork based on ‘The Nightmare’  – a pastel on display at the museum. As an incentive I have offered to choose and display one student’s piece.

The history teacher showed keen for a loans box of objects, photographs and copies of original documents, laminated. This would be fairly simple to create, and there is funding within the project for this.

A combined ‘Emergency Services’ Loans Box could help boost outreach figures for both the Essex Police Museum and Essex Fire Museum and would also help with the limited time curators have delivering a session.

The history teacher was also in favour of visiting the museum for a delivered session and admitted that although it would be more difficult to arrange it would not be out of the question.

More information about the Zeppelin raids can be found in the Essex Police History Notebook No.7 and in our blog post Zeppelins over Essex. The L33 story was also featured on the BBCs WW1 at Home website.

This is a great start and we wish the Police Museum every success with their plans.


So what has the BBC ever done for us?

Written by Sarah Girling

BBC trailer

I am a fan of the BBC, I don’t deny it. I enjoy Call the Midwife, Miranda, Dr Who, Sherlock… Yes, I’m a fan (and as you can tell, a woman of a certain age)…

Well, the BBC seems to have gone all out to ensure that everyone knows about the centenary of the First World War and as Tim Plyming, Executive Producer for the BBC has said in his blog:

“Central to the BBC’s ambition for the World War One season is the desire to reintroduce audiences to a war they think they know.”

So what has the BBC offered us, the viewers?

Firstly, there’s what will actually be on the telly. The trailer on YouTube is pretty good, including the song Pack up your Troubles, made popular during WWI.

Which brings me on to their second offer. BBC iWonder Guides are interactive guides designed for laptops, tablets and smartphones. One of the guides is Gareth Malone’s analysis ‘Why did Pack up your Troubles become the viral hit of WWI?’ and another looks at whether War Poetry has distorted our view of WWI.

If you came to the Researching the Great War day back in November 2013, you will have heard something about the BBC’s World War One at Home project from Stuart Woodward. I’m looking forward to hearing the 100 stories from across the UK.

There are podcasts and lots more, so I’ve signed up to their newsletter to stay informed about what’s coming up next…

There are links to other items on the website at  and you can read more about plans for TV and Radio by reading the blog of Adrian Van Kleveron, Controller of the BBC’s World War One Centenary.

Thanks for reading (and no I wasn’t paid by the BBC to promote this, I just think it’s jolly good!)

Zeppelins over Essex

I’ve just found a  BBC documentary from 1972, “Zeppelins over East Anglia” which can be seen on the East Anglian Film Archive’s website. Although much of it is focused on Norfolk, there is a wonderful description of the Zeppelin shot down over Wigborough.

Zeppelins over East Anglia, a BBC documentary from 1972

Zeppelins over East Anglia, a BBC documentary from 1972

The film tells of the crash of the airship LZ33 between Peldon and Wigborough in Essex, after attack from Fighter Pilot Brandon. The commander Captain Leutnant Bercker, brought the airship down into a field and then tried to warn the inhabitants of a nearby cottage that he was going to set fire to the ship. He received no replay, but did just that. The crew made off on foot. They encountered Special constable Edgar Nichols, who arrested them. James Rout, who lived in another cottage nearby, recalls the Zeppelin crashing. He shows a piece of the Zeppelin to the camera and recalls that a baby girl was born that night and named Zeppelina!

Watch the film from 18min 30 seconds to see the excerpt about Essex.

I hope you enjoy it.