Absolute delight was how the Trustees of the Welwyn Garden Heritage Trust (WGHT) greeted the ‘fantastic’ news that the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) had approved their bid for £50,000. The funding is to support a broad ranging heritage project in Welwyn Garden City.
Where Do You Think You Live?’
will be an opportunity for homeowners to research the origins of their homes. Working with Hertfordshire Archives and Local StudieS (2HALS) the Trust will offer workshops and study visits to the County Archives in Hertford to enable people to learn how to research stores of information. The sort of data which the project is hoping to unearth is the date when the house was built, who was the architect, the builders and who has lived in the house since and any other unique information about the house
Running alongside the research part of the project will be an expansion of the ‘Thanks for the Memory’ programme of audio recordings of residents’ recollections of their early days living in WGC. The funding available from the HLF grant will enable recordings to be typed up and the Trust is planning to recruit an oral history specialist to help develop the programme and make the original recordings and the text versions more accessible to the general public.
The third arm involves photographic projects by school pupils with the title ‘My favourite place in WGC’ or ‘My Neighbourhood’ which can be developed by a group of residents to show the rest of the town what is special about where they live. To assist anyone wanting to get involved the Trust is planning workshops for old and young alike to improve their skill is using digital cameras. The town’s junior schools will be invited to get involved in some designs based on one of the odd features of some houses in the older parts where the bricklayers have created pictures the size of a single brick in the walls. Both these ideas will be supported by an Artist-In-Residence employed by the Trust.
The whole project will link to the Our Welwyn Garden City community archive
www.ourwelwyngardencity.org.uk and is supported by the involvement of the University of Hertfordshire’s Humanities Faculty, which has a very active local history unit.
Commenting on the project Tony Skottowe said “We have been very lucky to have such tremendous support from both HALS and the University. It is also a great coincidence that this has all come together during the year of the 90th Anniversary of the town and we are hoping lots of people will want to get involved in finding out and showing off the special nature of this wonderful place”
To get involved in any of the parts of the project go to the Trust’s website at www.welwyngarden-heritage.org, or write to Welwyn Garden Heritage Trust,
c/o 60 Bridge Road, WGC, AL8 6UR.