Many people have been wondering about the fate of a proposed project looking into the industries that helped shape the history of WGC...
An initial proposal to the Heritage Lottery fund was turned down but undaunted a second proposal was submitted squeaking in just before the deadline after which the application criteria would change.
Towards the end of March came a phone call from the Heritage Lottery Fund to tell us that our bid for £62,500 for a project on the industrial heritage of the town had been approved. The only snag was that we could not go public with this until we had received and confirmed acceptance of the offer in writing. A couple of weeks later the letter had still not arrived, however, there was a note from the post office concerning a letter with insufficient postage on it... Yes, that was it and we were finally able to get to work confirming everything and went public locally in late April.
Since then we have been contacting all the schools and other organisations that said they would like to participate and getting together notes to enable them to create their own individual projects. The project will run for a year with a month each side of that to launch and then to collate the results. The Trust will be publishing a book with contributions from all the participants as well as putting material online.
The Trust is being supported by the University of Hertfordshire (UH) and Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies (HALS) as with the previous Where Do You Think You Live? project. Part of the HLF grant will be used to transfer the archive of the WGC Company into proper archive boxes to prevent deterioration. In addition the papers from the Shredded Wheat Company will be catalogued and also re-boxed while the large collection of film and photos will also be catalogued and placed in appropriate storage to protect the film from damage.
HALS have agreed to make the catalogue of the WGC Co available to us on their website and to allow us to bring in volunteers to both the cataloguing and storage in order to learn the proper techniques. This arrangement will bring some of the skills from within HALS into the public domain in WGC for future needs.
Oral histories will continue and work will recommence on generating audio clips and cataloguing the Trust’s entire archive. All being well the catalogue should be uploaded to our website, to HALS and the community site Ourwelwyngardencity.
As with our previous project there are many different ways for groups and for individuals to get involved and we hope that as many people as possible will want to participate in this exciting opportunity to add to the knowledge of the history of the town. We will shortly be putting the project specification up on the website but in the meantime if you are interested and would like to get involved please do get in touch.