Pictures of Birch website

The Pictures of Birch website came out of a collection of pictures built up by the late Pat Adkins. Most relate to the village of Birch in Essex, and in particular to Birch School.
Pat Adkins died in 2003 and the pictures were then looked after by Peter French from Colchester. They were on display in Birch Memorial Hall in 2014 and enjoyed by many visitors. It was felt that the future of the pictures needed safeguarding - Tony Millatt has scanned most of the photographs and the photographs then left in Mersea Museum archive store. The pictures were made available in 2014 on a private website.

July 2017 the pictures have been integrated into the main Mersea Museum website and generally made available to the public. However, we do not know where Pat got many of these photographs from - if they came from your family or you can add background to any of them, please do get in touch via CONTACT US on this website.

To read more about Pat Adkins, see PBC_103 .

Author: Tony Millatt

Related Images

 Birch pictures have moved.
 There is now a major category under IMAGES on the menu.
 We have also added over 400 images that came from the former 'Pictures of Birch' website. See <a href=mmresdetails.php?col=MM&ba=cke&typ=ID&pid=PBS_011>PBS_011 </a> for some background.  PBC_101PBC_101
Birch pictures have moved.
There is now a major category under IMAGES on the menu.
We have also added over 400 images that came from the former 'Pictures of Birch' website. See PBS_011 for some background.
21 July 2017
 Pat Adkins
 1933 - 2003
</p>
<p>
Sadly, Patrick (Pat) Adkins passed away in hospital on Monday 29th December 2003 after a long illness, which he fought bravely. His funeral service held at Colchester Crematorium on Tuesday 13th January was attended by members of family and many friends.
 Pat was born and brought up in the small country village of Birch.
 Pat and his four brothers and sisters had a challenging time in their early years and the family had to survive on very little through the war years.
 However, Pat has always made the most of life and he had many fond memories of his childhood, playing with friends in unspoilt meadows, woods and ponds, walking his dog and riding the farm horses.
This love of the countryside remained with him throughout his life and Pat was always happiest when excavating at a remote rural location surrounded by the sights, sounds and smells which reminded him of his childhood adventures.
</p><p> 
Pat met his wife to be Betty, at a fair in Tiptree in 1950.
After being apart while Pat trained as an aircraft engine mechanic during his National Service, Betty and Pat married in 1955 and Pat moved to Tiptree.
 Pat soon became a very popular member of the local community.
He worked initially for a local builder and then ran his own building business in the village.
</p><p> 
In 1962 Pat joined the local Fire Brigade in which he made many close friends during his 26 years service. Pat was so eager not to arrive late at the Fire Station for his first shout that when the siren sounded he forgot that he was working on a bungalow roof, dropped his tools, ran down the roof and fortunately had a safe landing in a heap of sand!
After leaving the building trade Pat later worked as a Shipwright for Colvic Craft at Witham.
</p><p> 
Pat's main interest was archaeology and through his enthusiasm and determined hard work he discovered, excavated & recorded a number of sites, some of national importance, mainly around the Blackwater estuary area in Essex.
 These sites include a very rare early Saxon iron smelting industry at Rook Hall Farm , and Neolithic settlement at Chigborough Road, Little Totham, Essex.
</p><p> 
Pat was a member of Archaeological groups in both Colchester and Maldon, where he made many friends, especially on the early MAG digs at Lofts Farm and the Maldon southern bypass site.
</p><p> 
One of Pat's favourite activities was finding new archaeological sites as cropmarks from the air. He and his son Kelvin spent much time together flying and piecing together the ancient landscape of the Blackwater, Colne and Stour valleys.
</p><p> 
Pat's first job was as a Woodman's assistant on the Birch Hall estate. It was probably this experience together with growing up in a small rural community which helped him to understand how man was able to work in harmony with nature. He had hands-on experience of the environmentally sustainable practices of hedge laying, coppicing, hurdle making, charcoal making etc. and was able to call upon this experience in interpreting archaeological evidence from his excavations.
</p><p> 
Most of Pat's discoveries were made in the 1980's under very difficult salvage excavation conditions. In which Pat would follow the tracks of box scrapper machinery in the process of topsoil clearing on gravel extraction sites. Pat worked usually single-handed, shifting hundreds of tons of soil by shovel and trowel, through all weather conditions.
Due to his warm genuine personality Pat soon made friends with the site managers and machine operators. By gaining the interest and support of the gravel site operators he was able to negotiate favours in extending time for his archaeological investigations. This vital co-operation resulted in the discovery and recording of many sites which would otherwise have been totally lost without trace.
 Pat amazed many professional archaeologist by his sixth sense for finding features from the most subtle marks in the subsoil. He was also adept at divining and produced remarkably accurate plots of features by this method.
</p><p> 
Pat's dedication to archaeology was acknowledged when he was awarded a British Archaeological Award in 1988 for his excavation work in advance of gravel extraction (photo).
</p><p> 
To see summary of some of his work, click 
<a href=MMPDFs/PBC_105.pdf target=PBC>PBC_105.pdf</a> (opens in a new window).
</p><p> 
Pat was also interested in local history and genealogy. He collected and presented an album of old photographs of Birch Primary School to the school on their Centenary.
He also made records of churchyards and he recorded all of the monumental inscriptions in the churchyard of St Luke's Church, Tiptree.
Pat made many presentations to local groups on his archaeological and local history work.
</p><p> 
Following complications after a routine operation in 1997, Pat suffered a heart attack. Having accepted that he would have to slow down and give up his strenuous hobbies he was then faced with a devastating blow in 2001 when he was diagnosed to have a terminal lung condition (Mesothelioma).
Unfortunately, this meant that Pat was unable to complete the processing and reporting from many of his excavations, which he had planned for his retirement.
 Therefore, all of his finds (amounting to several tonnes!), photographic records and working notebooks were handed over to Colchester Museum stores.
</p><p> 
Despite suffering a long and painful illness Pat remained positive and was determined to fight back, remaining his usual friendly cheerful self.
Pat continued to make the most of things almost to the end and enjoyed the simple pleasures of life. He always looked forward to rides out in the familiar countryside of his childhood and revisiting sites of his excavations with his wife Betty and his children Kelvin and Lorraine.
</p><p> 
Throughout his life, Pat would always find time for others, whether it was an old person in need or to answer the enquiring mind of the smallest child.
 Sadly, for someone who always found so much time for others his own time ran out on December 29th, just before his 70th birthday.
</p><p> 
Pat was a true salt of the earth whose warm friendly smile will be sadly missed by all who knew him.
Pat leaves a wife Betty, son Kelvin and daughter Lorraine.
</p>
<p>This photograph and text have been saved from adsl06805.freespace.surfree.co.uk/patarchobitC.htm and http://www.angelfire.com/pa5/arch/index.html 
</p>  PBC_103PBC_103
Pat Adkins
1933 - 2003

Sadly, Patrick (Pat) Adkins passed away in hospital on Monday 29th December 2003 after a long illness, which he fought bravely. His funeral service held at Colchester Crematorium on Tuesday 13th January was attended by members of family and many friends.
Pat was born and brought up in the small country village of Birch.
Pat and his four brothers and sisters had a challenging time in their early years and the family had to survive on very little through the war years.
However, Pat has always made the most of life and he had many fond memories of his childhood, playing with friends in unspoilt meadows, woods and ponds, walking his dog and riding the farm horses. This love of the countryside remained with him throughout his life and Pat was always happiest when excavating at a remote rural location surrounded by the sights, sounds and smells which reminded him of his childhood adventures.

Pat met his wife to be Betty, at a fair in Tiptree in 1950. After being apart while Pat trained as an aircraft engine mechanic during his National Service, Betty and Pat married in 1955 and Pat moved to Tiptree.
Pat soon became a very popular member of the local community. He worked initially for a local builder and then ran his own building business in the village.

In 1962 Pat joined the local Fire Brigade in which he made many close friends during his 26 years service. Pat was so eager not to arrive late at the Fire Station for his first shout that when the siren sounded he forgot that he was working on a bungalow roof, dropped his tools, ran down the roof and fortunately had a safe landing in a heap of sand! After leaving the building trade Pat later worked as a Shipwright for Colvic Craft at Witham.

Pat's main interest was archaeology and through his enthusiasm and determined hard work he discovered, excavated & recorded a number of sites, some of national importance, mainly around the Blackwater estuary area in Essex.
These sites include a very rare early Saxon iron smelting industry at Rook Hall Farm , and Neolithic settlement at Chigborough Road, Little Totham, Essex.

Pat was a member of Archaeological groups in both Colchester and Maldon, where he made many friends, especially on the early MAG digs at Lofts Farm and the Maldon southern bypass site.

One of Pat's favourite activities was finding new archaeological sites as cropmarks from the air. He and his son Kelvin spent much time together flying and piecing together the ancient landscape of the Blackwater, Colne and Stour valleys.

Pat's first job was as a Woodman's assistant on the Birch Hall estate. It was probably this experience together with growing up in a small rural community which helped him to understand how man was able to work in harmony with nature. He had hands-on experience of the environmentally sustainable practices of hedge laying, coppicing, hurdle making, charcoal making etc. and was able to call upon this experience in interpreting archaeological evidence from his excavations.

Most of Pat's discoveries were made in the 1980's under very difficult salvage excavation conditions. In which Pat would follow the tracks of box scrapper machinery in the process of topsoil clearing on gravel extraction sites. Pat worked usually single-handed, shifting hundreds of tons of soil by shovel and trowel, through all weather conditions. Due to his warm genuine personality Pat soon made friends with the site managers and machine operators. By gaining the interest and support of the gravel site operators he was able to negotiate favours in extending time for his archaeological investigations. This vital co-operation resulted in the discovery and recording of many sites which would otherwise have been totally lost without trace.
Pat amazed many professional archaeologist by his "sixth sense" for finding features from the most subtle marks in the subsoil. He was also adept at divining and produced remarkably accurate plots of features by this method.

Pat's dedication to archaeology was acknowledged when he was awarded a British Archaeological Award in 1988 for his excavation work in advance of gravel extraction (photo).

To see summary of some of his work, click PBC_105.pdf (opens in a new window).

Pat was also interested in local history and genealogy. He collected and presented an album of old photographs of Birch Primary School to the school on their Centenary. He also made records of churchyards and he recorded all of the monumental inscriptions in the churchyard of St Luke's Church, Tiptree. Pat made many presentations to local groups on his archaeological and local history work.

Following complications after a routine operation in 1997, Pat suffered a heart attack. Having accepted that he would have to slow down and give up his strenuous hobbies he was then faced with a devastating blow in 2001 when he was diagnosed to have a terminal lung condition (Mesothelioma). Unfortunately, this meant that Pat was unable to complete the processing and reporting from many of his excavations, which he had planned for his retirement.
Therefore, all of his finds (amounting to several tonnes!), photographic records and working notebooks were handed over to Colchester Museum stores.

Despite suffering a long and painful illness Pat remained positive and was determined to fight back, remaining his usual friendly cheerful self. Pat continued to make the most of things almost to the end and enjoyed the simple pleasures of life. He always looked forward to rides out in the familiar countryside of his childhood and revisiting sites of his excavations with his wife Betty and his children Kelvin and Lorraine.

Throughout his life, Pat would always find time for others, whether it was an old person in need or to answer the enquiring mind of the smallest child.
Sadly, for someone who always found so much time for others his own time ran out on December 29th, just before his 70th birthday.

Pat was a true "salt of the earth" whose warm friendly smile will be sadly missed by all who knew him. Pat leaves a wife Betty, son Kelvin and daughter Lorraine.

This photograph and text have been saved from adsl06805.freespace.surfree.co.uk/patarchobitC.htm and http://www.angelfire.com/pa5/arch/index.html


2003
 Birch School - presentation of school album by Pat Adkins to Head of School Geof Graham.  PBC_107PBC_107
Birch School - presentation of school album by Pat Adkins to Head of School Geof Graham.
20 November 2000
ID: PBS_011


This item is part of the Mersea Island Museum Collection. The information is accurate as far as is known, but the Museum does not accept responsibility for errors.