I went along to High Green in Bloom’s Party in the Park on Saturday 5th Sept. The Heritage High Green Group had a really interesting display about local farms around the Mortomley / Greengate Lane area. I increased my knowledge some more and must make time to have a good walk round. They also kindly offered me a bit of space on their display to publicise the project. It was the first opportunity to hand out some of the new Volunteer Opportunities leaflets. I enjoyed talking to several different groups who were taking part encouraging people to consider putting together a few images / memories about their group to add into the archiving project. I’m keen to get more up to date stuff as well as the more historical so that we can make records for the future. If anyone has ideas for groups or would like to consider putting together a set for their own group / organisation, please let me know.
I also had the time to talk to the Ecclesfield Library Group which had a stall at the event. They were also going to Ecclesfield Gala the following day and agreed to take more leaflets so I am hoping that this will generate even more interest.
Our Walk down Memory Lane at Ecclesfield Library was very successful and we are planning another afternoon session in September. It was not only a chance for people who have lived in the area for many years to meet up but we also had visitors from much further afield (London & North Germany) who were former residents.
Ecclesfield Library Event August 15
One of the main themes through the afternoon were the changes that have taken place in the area. This was prompted by a 1948 edition Ordnance Survey map which showed the expanse of fields and farmland that existed then. Several of the people who came remembered the ‘new’ estates being built and moving there as children. Further memories were prompted by a series of old adverts from local shops and businesses, and some photos that people had brought along. There were around 20 people in total, some of whom had not seen each other for years and others who realised that they used to live quite close by as children but went to different schools because of the Sheffield / Yorkshire West Riding boundary.
Thanks are also due to Ecclesfield Library for providing the facilities and to the helpers for keeping us supplied with refreshments!
I am hoping at the next meeting we will have more photos to look at and stories to tell.
The first training workshop took place on 18th July at Grenoside Reading Room. We were fortunate to have Michelle Winslow from the Oral History Society’s network of trainers leading us through the day. After a few early technical glitches, participants were introduced to all the different aspects of carrying out an oral history project which led to a very full day. We all agreed at the end of it that more practice was needed with the equipment, it wasn’t as easy as it looked and that transcribing and putting the oral history interviews together for the archive is a big part of the work. In some ways the easier bit is the interviewing!
We’re starting a list of people to be interviewed and will decide on topics. However, what it also showed was that we needed to get old interviews from audio tapes to digital as it is often the voice and phrasing of the person being interviewed which is the most revealing thing.
There were 12 of us at the Newgate Close ‘down memory lane’ event on 21st July. We chatted about a range of topics over a couple of hours and a cup of tea. I learnt that the site of Newgate Close flats used to be a swampy field with springs running through where people used to pick watercress. The springs have been culverted and I’m assured that after heavy rain if you stand outside at a certain point you can hear the water rushing down under your feet. A pair of semi-detached houses were knocked down to make way for the road entrance when the scheme was developed. It was built under Wortley RDC and there is a picture of the ‘new’ scheme in their celebration brochure. I had a few more geography lessons amid tales about the estate which surrounds it and the roundabout at the end of Jeffcock Road. It was really interesting to hear about daily life not just in High Green but other areas during the 1930s and 40s. A couple of the people who came along said we could go and talk to them again and knew others who would be good to talk to regarding the project.
Joy and Mary joined me on my visit to the Scouting archive at Hesley Wood Scout Camp today. Thanks to Paddy and his colleagues who, over a cuppa or two and biscuits, showed us some of the collection they have started to put together over the last five years. The material covers a wide range of topics taking in the early history of Scouting in the Wentworth District, the development of Hesley Wood Scout Camp and the connection with Sir Harold West and Newton Chambers right up to the latest South Yorkshire Challenge camps. It was great to hear some of the history of the site and the crews who have been responsible for building and maintaining it. In the early days this included apprentices from Newton Chambers sent over to help out. We agreed it would definitely be worth another visit or two to look at the archive in more detail and have a walk to look at some of the evidence of earlier industrial history. I am particularly interested in looking at the development of the camp and the connection with Newton Chambers as part of the Archiving Project.
Highlights of the session included a chorus of ‘We are the Ovaltinies’ prompted by one of the mystery objects ( a Horlicks drink mixer) from the Libraries Services’ memory box. The contents of the box together with a few additions was set out on display. People were asked to choose one object that they had definitely used, one they knew what it was and another that they didn’t have a clue about. Given the age of the group, most knew all the objects and could remember their use. This broke the ice and we had a wide ranging discussion about what life used to be like before mains electricity, gas, running water etc. etc. and how houses and industry had taken over farm land. Prices of bus fares and a comparison with today was made using ‘old’ and ‘new’ money. Notes from the talk were taken by Beth, from Ecclesfield School, who was on work experience with me. These will be tidied up and then added to the project.
Please get in contact if you would like something similar for your group.
The project now also has a presence on Facebook with its own group page. Chloe, one of the project’s new volunteers will be helping me to maintain and regularly update the group page with posts, comments and notices of events. We are hoping that this will reach a wider audience for the project and encourage more people to get involved. Other Facebook users will be able to join and ask questions or leave answers and comments about the archiving project material.
The coffee morning held at the Parish Council Offices was the first in a series of ‘Meet the Project’ events where people can find out more about the project and the opportunities there are to get involved.
It was organised by the project co-ordinator helped by Beth and Clare, two work experience students from Ecclesfield School. We set out a selection of archiving material,presently stored in the Council Offices, for people to look at.
There was lots of enthusiasm for the project, offers of help and much discussion. It also generated some new ideas that can be followed up.
I really enjoyed going along to the Gala on 20th June. On the way I called in to St Mark’s Church. Whilst the flower festival had taken place a week earlier the flower displays were still in the church and looked good. I had a chat with a couple there and looked at the history display as well as the church itself. It was also an opportunity to shelter from a sharp shower! I wasn’t at the Gala formally but took the opportunity to talk to some of the groups and hand out flyers. Hopefully this will bring in more new contacts, requests for talks and more involvement with the project. I’m already thinking I need to book a project space for next year.
I went along to the talk at the Reading Rooms on 18th June which was linked to the new exhibition on Health in the Grenoside area put together by the Local History Group. It was very interesting and gave a good insight into the progress made in medicine and the way that attitudes to health have changed. The talk drew on the work for the series of display boards around the Reading Room. These cover different aspects of health and medicine. In particular I was struck by the number of hospitals around the Grenoside area linked to Wortley RDC; the isolation hospitals being necessary in the pre-antibiotic era and where many lived in overcrowded households which lacked proper sanitation. There was a discussion at the end about scarlet fever and of households being unable to use their wells because of fear of contamination from nearby middens. A very different situation from today. I was able to have a few minutes to publicise the archiving project at the start of the evening which was appreciated.