Essex Craft Guild
Welcome to the home of the Essex Craft Guild
The Essex Craft Guild is a voluntary non-profit making organisation which promotes and supports
genuine hand-made local Arts and Crafts.
In 1984 a series of meetings was arranged by the Rural Community Council of Essex following the response to a notice placed in local newspapers. Cllr. Chris Manning-Press was head of the RCCE at that time and arranged for his deputy, Bob Richmond, to run the monthly meetings at their offices in Springfield Road, Chelmsford.
The RCCE produced a directory of Essex Craftsmen in 1984 and following its compilation it became apparent that there was a need for a Guild of Craftsmen working in Essex, and so the Guild was formed.
David Coleman, a cabinet maker, was the first Guild Chairman, with Jenny Harrison as Secretary. Jenny carried on writing a monthly newsletter until 1989 when Frances Elliott became Chairman of a small committee. In 1990 the Guild moved from the offices of Rural Community Council of Essex in Chelmsford, as a larger room was needed for meetings and the AGM. There were 56 members in that first directory – our current membership is 180.
Originally membership selection was dealt with at committee meetings, but this was changed to a separate evening event as more applications were being received by October 1996. In 1997 this was changed to an annual selection process each April so as to coincide with the Guild’s financial year. This change enabled the details of new members to be included in the annual Guild Directory in the year that they joined.
The one thing that has not changed since the Guild was formed is that all new members are asked to present a display of their craft to the membership at the Guild AGM each May.
Past and current Chairman
1984 and 1985 David Coleman – first Guild Chairman. (Retiring due to ill health in 1986)
1986 Les Parker
1987 and 1988 George Roberts
1989 to 1995 Frances Elliott (Founder Member)
1996 Ann Wood
1997 to 2011 Celia Gwynn (nee Reed)
2011 to 2017 Jean Smye
2017 to present Keith Gravestock
Past and Current Presidents
1984 to 2004 Cllr. Mrs Con Johnson – Art Officer and Past Mayor of Chelmsford.
2005 to present The Lord Petre – The Lord Lieutenant of Essex
Guild Vice Presidents
2000 Frances Elliott – Founder member
2005 Col Manning-Press
2005 Ms Chris Cole – Retired Arts Officer, Havering Council.
2009 David Grange – Vice Chairman 2000 to 2009.
Founder Members of the Guild
Pauline Dowse – current member and served as Guild Secretary from 1987 till 1995.
Frances Elliott – currently a Guild Friend and Past Chairman.