“I thought I knew everything about the town I grew up in until I came across a book in my local library and found out some interesting facts about royal visits and the origin of street names. It sounds dull but local history doesn’t need to be ‘dull history’. It’s a great feeling being able to conjure up pictures from the past and relate them to things you do now around about your community”
Did you know it’s Local and Community History Month?
No, me neither ….. well I didn’t until I stumbled across it through my work with the CCU. Let’s face it there are so many memorable dates and national awareness days to jam into our calendars! Couple that with birthdays of cousin’s three times removed (not sure what that means but I’m sure it’s an authentic genealogical family history term), that you see once every few years at a family occasion but feel obliged to send a card to. I think we can be forgiven for not always having these national days or months etched into our very being.
Local and Community History Month throughout May is definitely for you though if you are passionate about your local community and want an excuse to spend time finding out more about it. It’s also for you if you’re looking for a vehicle to involve others and inflame them with your enthusiasm. The aim of the month is to increase awareness of local history, promote history in general to the local community and encourage all members of the community to participate. The Historical Association has put together a searchable database which has details of a variety of activities happening across the UK including trips, library exhibitions and local lectures. And you can use the Local and Community History Month website to visit your community home page on your council or library website.
Plus there appears to be a variety of events and resources out there to help you do it. Check out the links below where you can access resources or add details of your own for others to use:
I had a bit of a browse at the resources and there are some excellent ideas, albeit geared to teaching children or young people, but they would be easy enough to adapt for an adult audience. There are suggestions on how to use graveyards and cemeteries to unearth stories about community members of the past, an interactive historical artefacts game, Victorian homes and community’s project and my particular favourite called Postcards from the Past. This involves locating historical photos of places within your community and then going to the location and re-shooting the photos providing you with a then and now comparison.
Here’s some historical photos to start you off. We’d love it if you would give this a try and send us your pictures of how these places look now. Or maybe you have an old photo of somewhere near you that you can send us along with your updated version too.
Send us your pics either via this blog or through the links below and we’ll create a then and now montage for everyone! ,