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You can take part in history project

PUBLISHED: 15:00 29 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:45 08 July 2010

HISTORIANS with a passion for their heritage, photographers with an eye for detail or residents with "a little time on their hands," have been invited to delve deep into their collective past for an ambitious new project.

HISTORIANS with a passion for their heritage, photographers with an eye for detail or residents with “a little time on their hands,” have been invited to delve deep into their collective past for an ambitious new project.

It is not often that people living in the Wayland area are asked to pitch in to help write the history of their native villages or towns.

But now, the Wayland Partnership has launched an invitation to anyone interested to set up history groups, take photographs or dig into local archives for any information related to genealogy, trades, landscape, non-conformism, legends and traditions games or the military.

Members of the Watton-based partnership are hoping to get up to £300,000 in lottery grants to help fund the project and the post of a heritage officer to work over the next five years across the Wayland area to bring communities together and support the research.

However, Jan Godfrey, chairman of trustees at Wayland Partnership says the project can only succeed if it has the backing and full commitment of local residents.

“The most important goal of this project is to ensure that the community understands its past and its heritage,” she says.

“Then, we'll be looking at the possibility of putting together school learning packs for pupils in the area, as well as books, DVDs, maps, a website and not least presentations, celebrations, pageants and festivals.”

The dedicated volunteer said the idea for the project was a response to people's curiosity about their neighbourhood or their area's history.

“So many times we have been asked why something is the way it is - why a house or a footpath has disappeared, why a church is where it is, or a farm; what happened to the blacksmith, or some other lost trade, when was the school first opened, or even why the village was there in the first place,” she explained.

“Sometimes we can answer those questions - or we know someone who can - but often it sets us thinking too and, of course, when you start to dig, more and more questions present themselves.

“So we came up with this idea, and it would be good to do as much research as possible before even more of the evidence is lost, putting the results of that research together to create a range of resources.

“We are asking everyone with an interest or a little time on their hands to join in. We do not know at the moment how far back we want to go. It might be the ninth or the tenth century or even further back if we manage to find the necessary information.”

Over the next months, members of the Wayland Partnership will be writing to the regional Heritage Lottery Office to put in their bid for the grant. Meanwhile, they are asking residents who wish to embark on the project to form or join local history groups to help with the research work.

If the bid is successful, the project estimated to run over the next five years will provide training in skills such as research, identification, interpretation, evidence dating, writing or photography.

Anyone interested to take part in the project should write to Jan Godfrey at Wayland House, Watton, IP25 6AR or contact her on 01953 880202.

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