CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Essex Life today CLICK HERE

Treasures of the Essex Record Office (part 2)

PUBLISHED: 15:01 03 February 2016 | UPDATED: 15:01 03 February 2016

John Walker's Map of Chelmsford: John Walker was an accomplished surveyor from East Hanningfield who drew a number of maps or surveys of their estates for the Mildmay family. This map shows part of the centre of Chelmsford

John Walker's Map of Chelmsford: John Walker was an accomplished surveyor from East Hanningfield who drew a number of maps or surveys of their estates for the Mildmay family. This map shows part of the centre of Chelmsford


The Essex Record Office stores documents from the county’s history stretching back more than 1,000 years. In the second part of this feature, Hannah Salisbury shares a further five highlights that are particularly treasured in this stunning archive

The Essex Record Office (ERO) is the storehouse of Essex history. Its collections cover more than 1,000 years of history and take up nearly eight miles of shelving. The ERO collections include documents, maps, photographs, prints, drawings, architectural plans, sound and video, and much more. While this vast archive holds unique insights around every corner, there are certain ‘treasures’ that are among the most fascinating, rare and beautiful items in ERO’s care.

We are lucky in Essex to have such a wonderful county collection. Essex is a large and varied county with all sorts of stories to tell, and since ERO was one of the earliest county record offices to be established (in 1938) there has been plenty of time to collect and look after all sorts of records.

The ERO is open to the public and welcomes visitors who want to research their family, house or local history, or anything else for which material is available. ERO will also help you look after any historic documents or photographs you might be responsible for, with advice and services available, from conservation through to digitisation.

County Hall of EssexCounty Hall of Essex

Front elevation of the County Hall of Essex, 1788

Now known as Shire Hall, the former County Hall is still one of Chelmsford’s most recognisable landmarks. From its opening in 1791 until 2012, Shire Hall served as the County Court. It replaced a Tudor building, which by 1788 was condemned by the county authorities as ‘not in a fit condition for transacting the publick [sic] business of the County’. The county surveyor, John Johnson, was commissioned to build a new Shire House and his original plans still survive at ERO today

James Deane's notebookJames Deane's notebook

James Deane’s notebook

This volume was compiled by James Deane (1699-1765), a carpenter and builder in 18th century Colchester. It contains designs and detailed, meticulously-costed specifications for houses, cottages, barns, a malting office and kiln, a ‘pigeon house’, a greenhouse, and even a fountain

The Broomfield BibleThe Broomfield Bible

The Broomfield Bible

This Bible belonged to the ill-fated King Charles I, who before his execution presented it to his librarian, who in turn left it to his granddaughter. She left it to Broomfield Church. The elaborately decorated cover of the Bible shows Charles’s royal coat of arms

Chelmsford Borough Fire BrigadeChelmsford Borough Fire Brigade

Chelmsford Borough Fire Brigade, 1899

Chemlsford Borough Fire Brigade proudly demonstrate their new fire escape ladder in May 1899, at the Corn Exchange. The new ladder could reportedly reach the highest building in the borough. The photograph was taken by Fred Spalding, a prolific photographer based in Chelmsford


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Essex Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Essex Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Essex Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Essex Life

Tue, 12:54

The agricultural heritage of the county cannot be underestimated. Here Stephanie Mackentyre visits three farms that have been feeding Essex for generations

Read more
Tue, 12:23

Laurie Page of the Public Rights of Way Team at Essex County Council shares with us this beautiful six-mile walk around Bradwell’s stunning coastal delights

Read more
Tue, 10:07

As an enduring British institution, it’s incredibly important to get your Sunday lunch right. Here are 12 pubs in Essex that know how to deliver precisely what you require.

Read more
Mon, 12:47

For those still figuring out how to spend your Friday through Sunday, we’ve rounded up 5 of Essex’s best things to do to ensure no second of your weekend is wasted

Read more
Friday, October 12, 2018

Over the October half term Essex will be filled with spooky events that’ll be sure to put you in the ideal mood for Halloween. Here are 15 great places for kids and adults alike

Read more
Wednesday, October 10, 2018

We’ve put together 15 questions that will push your knowledge of Essex to the limit - let us know how you’ve done on social media!

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Paycocke’s House and Gardens, now owned by The National Trust, is one of the county’s most precious historic sites and 2018 marks 500 years since the death of the man who gave the house its name. Ruth McKegney tells the tale of this Coggeshall jewel

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Essex Life Food & Drink Awards for 2018 took place on September 27th at Down Hall Hotel

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Treat yourself to a pint of real ale surrounded by fresh sea air and coastal views at any one of these 12 glorious Essex pubs

Read more
Friday, October 5, 2018

With one of the warmest and driest summers on record, this year has been a difficult one for gardeners. Susie Bulman from The Beth Chatto Gardens at Elmstead Market shares some top tips for plant survival, even in these conditions

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search