We have wonderful support from a range of funders which enables us to meet more people and develop new skills and activities. Remembering the Past’s work brings together two completely different types of work with exciting results. We describe these as ‘talking therapy with a purpose’ and ‘today’s memories, tomorrow’s history’.
Talking therapy with a purpose
We can only collect the memories we need for the collection by keeping closely in touch and involved with local communities and individuals, encouraging them to share their stories. We often find that working with us is the first ever opportunity a person has had to tell their own story and acknowledge some of their own achievements. The process of sharing is deeply liberating and affirming, especially if you’re on your own or have lost your family and friendship networks.
This contribution to personal wellbeing has been recognised by the Community Foundation, R W Mann Trust, Awards for All, The Joicey Trust, Sir James Knott Trust and Greggs Trust. We get to know the hidden essence of a person, a process which might take time but is very rewarding for all concerned. Listen to one of Norman’s stories to get a flavour of our work.
Today’s memories, tomorrow’s history
We don’t just collect memories, we archive them, actively share them and use them to add another dimension to the local history of our area. So much of the 20th century history of the area has been lost and the only way some of it can be retrieved is by encouraging people to talk about their lives. Having a list of dates and events is one thing, but getting a feeling about them can only come from another person’s lived experience.
“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.
The contribution of our memory collection to local heritage has been recognised by the National Lottery’s Heritage Fund. An earlier grant from them enabled us to develop our oral history recording and sound archiving skills. In 2019 they have supported us again to archive and display our catalogue in a modern, more accessible format. You can see what we’ve been able to achieve with this support in our Special Project pages.
Here’s a little taster: