The ancient market town of Rayleigh is rich in both its history and in the historians who have told the tale. Limelight Lantern lectures were first shown in 1884, when the population was just over 1,000, the railway had not yet arrived, and the roads were at best comprised of compacted earth with granite chippings and had no drainage. That tradition continues today as historians continue to explore Rayleigh through slideshows, lectures and books. During the ensuing 128 years, the stories of the motte and bailey castle, the martyrs burnt at the stake, the windmills, and the rapid development once the railway arrived in 1889 have not lost their fascination. The photographs in this book, most of which have not been seen in print before, present Rayleigh's rich and varied heritage in vivid detail, from its origins as a small agricultural village to the thriving town of today.
After a career in banking and finance, Mike now spends most of his time researching local history. He is chairman of a local history group called Rayleigh through the Looking Glass as well as Chairman of the Historical Society of Rayleigh and a member of the Friends of Historic Essex, the Southend Pier Museum Trust, the British Titanic Society, the Milestone Society of Great Britain and the RNLI. Sharon is heavily involved with Rayleigh Town Museum and local history group Rayleigh Through the Looking Glass. She has a great interest in Antiques and Collectables and regularly attend Antique fairs and local auctions.