'Suffolk Crafts and Craftsmen' is the theme of the 2009 Belstead House weekend course offered by the Suffolk Local History Council (SLHC). These study weekends are an annual event held during the May Bank Holiday period which in 2009 falls on 1-3 May. A range of crafts such as millwright, wheelwright, blacksmith and those of the fishing industry etc will hopefully be included, with individual craftsmen among the speakers. An excursion to a place of interest connected with the course theme is always included. Information on this weekend will be found in the Belstead House brochure, which usually comes out early in the New Year. Any Ipswich Society members should apply direct to Belstead House.
The SLHC - a federation of Suffolk societies, mainly local history and genealogical but including others like our own with a wider remit, and with individual members as well - has been in consultation with Suffolk County Council expressing the concern of member societies about the care and maintenance - or lack of it - of the Local Studies Collection of printed and published material held in the Ipswich branch of the Suffolk Record Office. Much of the collection is available on open access in the search room: public use is consequently heavy. There is no professional librarian in situ to oversee the collection, and general lack of resources seem to preclude any immediate overhaul other than the withdrawal of particularly damaged or vulnerable material, with temporary protection given to other items still on open access. Like the archival collections, much printed material is irreplaceable. It would be a pity if short term rescue still leads to long term loss.
The SLHC also organises the work of the Recorders' Group. Individuals located in parishes and towns across the county record aspects of environmental change (buildings, facilities, etc) in their area, and such material and reports are preserved in the local studies collections in the various branches of the Suffolk Record Office. Recorders are at work in a number of areas across Ipswich, and it may be that some Ipswich Society members would like to take part in this scheme.