Town's history in the spotlight

PUBLISHED: 12:34 24 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:01 04 May 2010

Authors Donna Martin and Mac Dowdy

Authors Donna Martin and Mac Dowdy

A DANCING vicar and architectural historian helped to celebrate the launch of two books on the history of Soham. African dancers and youngsters from the Stage Chance dance school transported guests to the time of Olaudah Equiano, a former slave who becam

A DANCING vicar and architectural historian helped to celebrate the launch of two books on the history of Soham.

African dancers and youngsters from the Stage Chance dance school transported guests to the time of Olaudah Equiano, a former slave who became part of the movement to abolish the salve trade.

He married Soham girl Susannah Cullen in St Andrew's Church, in April 1792.

"Equiano was a man who did an awful lot to change our world," said community history museum chairman Donna Martin. "We are incredibly proud of his links with Soham."

More than 50 guests at Lodeside Hall heard Mrs Martin give an in-depth talk on her forthcoming book, Soham at the Time of the Abolition.

Ely-based architectural historian Mac Dowdy introduced his book Soham: An Improving Town, which uses new photographic techniques to reveal what the town would have looked like during the 18th century.

"One of the things that really struck me about Soham when I started walking around is that it has far more buildings of high architectural standard than Ely, a significant number of which would have been standing at the time of Equiano," said Mr Dowdy.

A copy of Soham: An Improving Town will be delivered to every household in Soham.

The evening of talks, exhibitions and dancing, with St Andrew's Church vicar Tim Alban-Jones acting as compere, was funded by the National Lottery.

Olaudah Equiano's links with Soham can be explored on a new website set up by Soham Online web designer Chris Scurrah. For more information, visit www.equiano.soham.org.uk

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