About us

What is Remembering the Past?

Remembering the Past is a volunteer led charity which collects and manages a digital collection of stories, sound recordings and memorabilia which reflect every aspect of local life in North Tyneside since the turn of the twentieth century. We began collecting memories in 1997 and our collection is one of the longest running and diverse community history archives in the country.

Why we do what we do?

Hidden away in the minds of people all over North Tyneside are fascinating memories of life throughout the twentieth century. We are committed to ensuring that this priceless material is saved for future generations and that the special people who share their stories realise what an important role they can play in creating such an important resource.

We are passionate about encouraging people to realise how important their life experience is and how it can add a vibrant context to what could be just bare facts. We feel strongly that this is the way to give local communities a voice and a presence in the telling of the area’s history.

An example from our collection

Turning today’s memories into tomorrow’s history

My earliest memory is of seeing a great big ship go past. My father had a little boat, a rowing boat which he kept on the river, and my earliest remembrance is of being in this little boat with father on the river. There was this great big thing went past and he said to me “Now, remember this, it’s very important”. When I asked him afterwards and I said “I was sick on my bonnet strings”, he said “Yes, you were”, and he told me it was the Mauretania going out – but I didn’t realise it at the time. He just told me to remember it, and I did remember it, the maiden voyage in 1907.

The lady telling the story had just celebrated her 100th birthday when she told it to us and her recollections encapsulate the joy of our work. The memory is invaluable and she thoroughly enjoyed sharing it with us.

A Little Of Our Story

Our own history

Remembering the Past was set up in 1997 by North Shields Library Club as a means of meeting the need for innovative and engaging responses to the issues around loneliness and social isolation of older people which had been identified in North Tyneside at that time. In particular, the founders wanted to address the common fear of digital technology, using the collection of memories and life experiences as their method of engagement. This resulted in the creation of a website which was, and still is maintained by volunteers who were trained in the skills required to manage it. Our aim was always to create a site that was easy to access by novices in the digital world and filled with content that would hold their interest.

What people say about us

Remembering the Past is an organisation which provides an important resource for the benefit of the whole community. Through their work and their cross generational approach it has contributed to a number of projects in our town centre including the 'Gannin Shoppin in Shields' exhibition. Project like these provide important learning and education to participants and visitors.

David BavairdChair, North Tyneside Business Forum

It is an excellent resource for young and not so young. The experience, tales, and ‘life as it was’ contributes to the knowledge of the area for everyone. The very fact that contributions are continuing to be provided shows how successful Remembering the Past is.

Lucy Alexander

Volunteering on the project enables me to meet people and make new friends. I share my own expertise and I gain new skills through the training provided. I enjoy working on the various projects, meeting contributors, recording their memories and taking copies of their photographs. It is very rewarding to see our work displayed and very well received both by schools and the wider community.

Dorothy ColeVolunteer

The importance of Remembering the Past is paramount to the education of the young people of today, so not only can they learn about the past, but they can learn about it through the memories of those who lived and suffered through those hard times.

Angela HunterHead Teacher, Burradon Primary School

What is good? - there is a wealth of local historical information available via the volunteers who are always keen to be involved and give their support.

Alan HildrewVolunteer