conference season

Being an introvert I sometimes find rooms of strangers somewhat daunting so it was with a degree of trepidation that I booked not one but two history conferences within 10 days. I needn’t have worried as one place studies people and community historians are a friendly and welcoming lot.

The first trip out was to Chorley for the Community Archives and Heritage Group North West Regional conference. After a warm welcome from His Worship we settled down to an enticing series of presentations outlining the help available from the Record Office and Museum conservation service and similar bodies. This was much more extensive than I appreciated and if anyone needs to borrow an eagle owl or hedgehog (stuffed) to illustrate their displays then the Museum is happy to oblige. There are even rumours of the availability of a polar bear but getting him a genuine Springhill connection may be tricky.

There was rapt attention for the lady who was explaining how to get money out of the heritage lottery fund. Interestingly the number of people who had applied for cash greatly outweighed those who had ever played the lottery to help put the money in...

My second jaunt was today to the Society of One-Place Studies inaugural conference. This had a focus on WW1 - local resources, local impact, local remembrances and involving local people in researching. There was an emphasis on lesser known resources and on asking questions beyond the obvious. The construction and siting of war memorials involved much more politics than I had previously appreciated and I will have to do a bit of poking around to look as some of the who’s and why’s behind some of the memorials in this area. Lots of interesting snippets with no known local relevance but still fun, like the 44,000 war horses sold to the French for meat and the image of soldiers writing to members of a knitting guild to thank them for the socks like children writing Christmas letters.

The common message from both events was the importance of preserving and sharing records and involving future generations.

One problem now - so many ideas and so little time...