Where we started...
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 Rural Community Council of Essex (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 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 around 100.
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.