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  • Writer's pictureCurious Spirit Pictures

Chelmsford Light Parade 2023

Over a year of planning, educational trips, history lessons and art and technology sessions for the local primary schools involved, the Crompton and Chelmsford Pioneer's project culminated in a wonderful afternoon of theatre performances, exploring Oakland's museum and participating in a large, community light parade.

For me it was a chance to work with Adrian and Edith again from the Ideas Hub Chelmsford, as well as local creative producer Tony Morrison, to capture the event.

Unlike the Centenary light parade for radio the previous year, this was on a much larger scale. The day consisted of multiple activities taking place at the same time, across a site over 12 acres big. This was not going to be easy. However, we were kindly supported by 2nd year film students from Chelmsford College, who, armed with cameras and working in teams, gained additional footage throughout the afternoon and into the evening for the fire show. It was a positive and the team of learners listened and coordinated themselves professionally and helped us to ensure that nothing was missed.

Once in the edit, it did mean that we were left with over 6 hours worth of footage to sort through and edit with. Our first draft ran at 30 minutes!

Never-the-less, the project was a great success and we hope that the final piece shows off the amazing pioneer inspired historical and futuristic buildings that the primary school children designed and built as lanterns.

So who were the Chelmsford Pioneers...

  • Florence Attridge (1901-1975) was a British woman who was awarded the British Empire Medal for her efforts in overseeing the assembly of secret radio equipment used by the Allies and the Resistance movement during World War Two. She was born and lived in Chelmsford throughout her lifetime.

  • Grace Chappelow (1884-1971) was a leading suffragette and activist who lived in Chelmsford. She dedicated her life to campaigning for women's right to vote and was rewarded in her lifetime when women were granted equal voting status to men.

  • Colonel Robert Edward Bethell Crompton (1845-1940) was an electrical pioneer whose ideas and inventions were seen in Chelmsford's street lights and all around the world, powering the first London Underground trains and lighting Windsor Castle. He lived in Chelmsford for most of his life.

  • Ernst Hoffmann was an industrialist who worked in Chelmsford, England in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He provided ball bearings for use in equipment around the world, as well as providing employment for 10,000 Chelmsford workers in Hoffmann's Factory.

  • Anne Knight was a prominent slave abolitionist and social reformer born in Chelmsford in 1786. She is thought to have produced the first leaflet for women's suffrage and she died in 1862.

  • Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) was an Italian inventor and electrical engineer who built the world's first wireless factory in Chelmsford, England. He pioneered the use of wireless and radio technology, which paved the way for today's mass communications. He worked in Chelmsford for several years, developing his inventions and making great strides in the field of telecommunications.

See if you can spot their lanterns within the video!

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