I’m Andy Popperwell and I’m a former BBC World Service Studio Manager (Sound Engineer) and Further Education Lecturer. I’ve been a volunteer at Copped Hall since late 2017 and am now responsible for the creation of the Copped Hall Sound Archive.
Do you have a story to tell about Copped Hall? Did you or your relatives work here on the estate?
We would love to hear your, or their, stories.
The restoration of the fabric Mansion and Gardens will shortly be accompanied by extensive archive material in another dimension – the dimension of sound and that’s where my interest lies. This can be considered as two layers.
My first question is this: what did Copped Hall – the mansion, the estate, the farms – sound like in those days? Not so easy to find the evidence, but it’s there, in documents and in visual arts. William Hogarth, who, like Copped Hall’s owner John Conyers was a director of the Foundling Hospital (so was composer George Frederick Handel) created many significant images, all of which are bursting with contemporary sounds. My challenge is to recreate Copped Hall’s sounds so that we can bring back to life the middle of the eighteenth century and thus help young people in particular and visitors in general to travel back to those days. This will be of special help to visually impaired guests.
The second layer is to look at the people.
I have already started collating some early recordings of those who used to work on the estate, or the recollections of their families, and the many stories passed down through the years. There are also the stories of the volunteers, many of whom have worked, some of them for thirty years, on the Copped Hall project. Quite a few of them are well on in life, and it’s really important to capture their memories of how and why the Trust was formed, how it struggled with almost impossible challenges – and overcame them – and how they see the future of the house.
I’ve started to conduct a series of interviews with our volunteers, asking them exactly these questions, and also finding out about who this extraordinarily diverse group of people are. These interviews will form the basis of the Copped Hall Sound Archive. Posterity, then, will benefit in years to come from the authentic sounds and voices of those who built the place, those who lived and worked here and those who rebuilt it.
All my material will also be offered to the Essex Record Office Sound and Video Archive in Chelmsford.”
Volunteer for over 17 years, speaking in 2019.
Lead gardener in the Walled garden and key to its restoration since 1999, speaking in 2019.