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Where Do You Think You Live?

Trustees were out celebrating a major coup following news from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The Trust had applied for £50,000 to finance their “Where Do You Think You Live?” project and were awarded the full amount. Champagne was the order of the day and the Howard Memorial seemed a fitting place.

The project, which has been trailed in previous newsletters, has the full support of Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies (HALS) and the head of HALS, Dr Jill Barber, has been involved from very early in the project’s planning. Prof Owen Davies and Sarah Lloyd of the University of Hertfordshire (UH) have also offered significant support and although unable to join the celebration on the day sent their
congratulations on the Trust’s success.

Particularly pleasing was the comment from HLF that they thought it was “An excellent project”. As of the end of June the trust was busily engaged in fine tuning job descriptions, deciding where to advertise and a myriad other things we need to put in place in order to get the exciting part of the project under way. Most of the rest of this article is devoted to the project, what it is exactly, what we hope to produce from it, how to participate and how to get involved in volunteering to help.

There are three principal threads to the project.

The main thread is described in the title - “Where do you think you live?” It will enable householders to research the history of their homes supported by talks and workshops by HALS. Visits to the archives in Hertford will be a part of the package and we anticipate their usual support from the WGC Library.

Most, if not all the material will be uploaded onto the My Welwyn Garden City community website. Everyone taking part in the project will be taught how to do this and help will be available from staff and

“Thanks For The Memory” forms the second thread and builds on the work we have been doing for the last couple of years in the programme. Some 30+ audio recordings have been made by our volunteers of the recollections of people who have lived in the town during its early years up to the end of the second world war.

There are many more to do and we will need help with this programme which will be overseen by the Project Coordinator with experience of oral history collection who is being recruited. The recordings will then be transcribed into text and edited with the intention of making both the original recordings and the text versions available to members of the public. If you would like to record your special memories, help with collecting them or with transcribing them please contact the Trust as soon as you can.

Later in the project we hope to be able to make these available as part of any exhibition at premises in the Town Centre “Brick Mosaics”Sunrise, Noon, Sunset formed the basis for a photographic project that could involve all ages, from 8 to 88 and beyond. The mosaics, as shown in the illustration, are found on various houses in the older parts of town.Numerous different designs can be seen all of which are hand made.

Out of this emerged the basis for a photographic strand to the project. For the junior schools some form of project based on the mosaics and for the senior schools a collage representing “My favourite place in WGC”. For adults there is a further option to create a storyboard on “My Neighbourhood”.

Our second professional appointment will be an Artist in Residence with special expertise in digital photography. We hope to involve the Photographic Society in this aspect of the work but volunteers are also wanted for this part of the programme.