In starting this project we had a small number of partners. this increased by one quite quickly as the local history group, sitting on a treasure trove of old images, leaflets and documents about the area, and some 30gb of offline images, were willing to take part.
The history group have particular interests: certainly the early years of Hillfields as the first garden suburb of Coventry and the years as home to the journeymen ribbon weavers, the top shops and Eli Green’s triangle, steam powered looms, funded by community subscription and short-lived antidote to factory capitalism.
We are of course interested in more recent history – the 1970s onwards in particular. The group, constituted by Hillfields aficionados, understood immediately the historical need to save this data. The gaps in their own particular areas of interest told them that. They were also keen to address the general attitude towards history groups as keepers of sepia toned photos.
So we hatched a way for them to be involved. We would introduce them to WATCH, our main community partner, and with the help of WATCH, digitize their valuable collection. This led to immediate results: to support this WATCH applied, with help from another of our partners, the Herbert Museum, to apply for funding for a creative apprentice – and they got it. The apprentice will support the history group in digitizing their archive.
The project itself gets a great partner, keen to provide intelligence on a number of aspects of our work. They are keen to be interviewed, and to interview others, and have put a number of valuable contacts our way which extends the reach of the project.