Dennington Parish Council

mobile menu button
Home > Clubs and Organisations > Alde Valley Suffolk Family History Group

Alde Valley Suffolk Family History Group

Alde Valley Suffolk Family History Group Programme 2019

The Family History Research Centre 

The Group runs an informal family history Research Centre in Leiston.  It is in the Leiston Council offices, open to all — members and non-members — free of charge. 

Opening times are 10 a.m. to 12 noon on the first and third Saturday mornings of each month.  It can also be open on Wednesdays, by prior appointment — but if you wish to request such an appointment, please contact our Secretary, Angela Skelcher, on 01728 830949 or 

The Research Centre contains much local information which is not available online, including graveyard catalogues for Benhall, Saxmundham, Leiston, Eastbridge, Aldringham and Sutton, censuses, directories, information on local war memorials, books and historic maps.  We have a large number of CDs and microfiches of local interest — in fact, we hold a wide variety of records for Suffolk and other counties.  An index is available.  

There are also computers with internet, a printer and a scanner. 

Experienced family history researchers are present to give assistance if required.  The Group looks forward to helping you with your research, including the guilty pleasure of tracing those elusive black sheep!

The Research Centre is upstairs in the old Council Offices, Main Street, Leiston, IP16 4ER, in the same building as, and to the right of, the Library, opposite the Long Shop Museum.  Please note that access is by a steep staircase.  You can park outside free of charge for one hour, or there's an “unlimited” free car park in Valley Road — go straight down past Barclays Bank and it's 100 yards or so on the right.

To gain access to the Research Centre on a Saturday morning, you will need to ring the doorbell, and wait for one of the volunteers on duty to 'run' down the stairs to welcome you and let you in — we keep the door locked to deter nefarious intruders.

Visitors are always most welcome.


MONDAY 21st Oct   “Grandparents in the Great War" Dave Empson, 7.30pm Leiston Community Centre
David has collected medals and related military items all his life. He will present some of his collection, and tell you how you can research family members who served in WW1 or WW2. David's passion has always been WW1, but with the 75th anniversary of the end of WW2, it is important to remember what both our grandfathers' & fathers' generations did in two World Wars: they fought to end tyranny and wars. It’s a shame politicians are not medal collectors!

The talk will be at 7.30pm on Monday 21 October at Leiston Community Centre, IP16 4JX. Admission is £1 for members, £3 for non-members, including tea/coffee.

For further info see our website   or contact Angela Skelcher on 01728 830949 or

Please bring along any family medals or paperwork you may have.

Wed 20th Nov  “Rope Family Artists”, Arthur Rope, 2.30pm Knodishall Village Hall, IP17 1UD 
The November meeting of the Alde Valley Suffolk Family History Group will be a talk by Arthur Rope on the artists of the Rope family. It will focus on five artists with strong local connections. Of the older generation, George and Ellen came from Blaxhall, one a graphic artist and naturalist, the other a sculptor. One niece, Margaret (a stained glass artist), although born in Shrewsbury maintained close links with the family's Suffolk base, while two other nieces, Dorothy and a second Margaret (another sculptor and another stained glass artist) were born and raised in the parish of Leiston. We will look at images of as many of their works as time allows and hear how their creative lives developed in Suffolk and in the wider world.
Arthur Rope, born in Leiston into the same family, is a researcher into the works of these artists, particularly the two Margarets and the sculptor Ellen Mary Rope. He is the author of one book "Margaret Rope of Shrewsbury" and of the chapter in "Blaxhall's Creative Past" on Ellen Mary. He also has a website covering these artists: 

The talk will be at 2.30pm on Wednesday 20 November at Knodishall Village Hall, IP17 1UDAdmission is £1 for members, £3 for non-members, including tea/coffee.

For further info see our website   or contact Angela Skelcher on 01728 830949 or