HISTORY MAKERS – Looking back
The HISTORY MAKERS PROJECT has created a digital archive of local people’s family connections to the First World War. We have been delighted by the response by participants and overwhelmed by the interest locally and nationally since the website went live.
This project began in autumn 2014 with students from Mary Webb School filming interviews with older members of the community about their WW1 memorabilia. As an intergenerational project it was poignant to see the students using the latest iPad technology to video and photograph paper documents from the early 20th century – letters, diaries, postcards, decommission papers, even a communiqué announcing the end of hostilities at 11 am on the 11th November 1918. Remembrance Sunday provided the students with an opportunity to publicise the project and screen our first video – Autograph Book – as an example of what we were aiming for. We also filmed the Remembrance Sunday service: it seemed too good an opportunity to miss the 100 years’ commemoration. Both these videos can be viewed on the website: Remembrance Sunday is on the Home page and search for Mary Worral: Autograph Book. Her Great Aunt gave her the autograph book and it is signed and illustrated by convalescing soldiers.
By now the project was firmly established on the local map. During the first six months of 2015 the students completed a further twenty-seven interviews in their spare time, working in front and behind the cameras. We started on a January day in heavy snow and finished in glorious sunshine at Milson Flying Club near Ludlow. The editing was completed during July and August. In early July an ‘antiques road show’ style event was held at Pontesbury Public Hall to encourage more people to take part in the project and bring things in for the exhibition. From late August through to October the website was developed and populated. And from September an inter-generational a cappella choir rehearsed and recorded the specially commissioned HISTORY MAKERS Anthem. We planned for the Exhibition to coincide with the website launch and the choir performed the anthem’s (world) premiere. It was a great success! You can view the anthem being sung at Park Hall Trenches’ Experience as it is the first post on the website.
There are now 34 interviews, over 90 Gallery posts of participants with photographs of their family’s memorabilia and longer stories detailing fascinating extracts from family history. Thank you to everyone who took part! The stories in particular have provided an incentive for others to begin investigating their own family’s link to the Great War.
Do explore the HISTORY MAKERS site for yourselves. http://ww1historymakers.co.uk/
We would welcome any comments either via the comment box or email. Details of how to contact us can be found on the About Us page. We look forward to hearing from you.