It’s just about a year since the Poole High Street Project was launched and time to take stock of what we have achieved. . . .
One thing, of course is setting up this blog and keeping it jogging on with weekly articles. We hope you’ve enjoyed the posts and thanks are due to Andrew Hawkes, Sylvia Tomkins and others for their contributions. We would love to have some contributions from you – long, short, serious or light-hearted, it all adds to the picture. We also plan to have a campaign in the next couple of months to spread the word about the blog, so if you know someone who might be interested, please mention it to them.
Thanks are due to Andy Whiting for setting up his High Street twitter and taking the message out into the tweetasphere. Have a look at http://twitter.com/PooleHighStHist.
In January, with the help of Christine Ballantine, we put on a display of some early findings of the project which seemed to go down well with the public. We have also put on three High Street walks which were fun to do and required us to put separate pieces of research together to create a more complete story. Two of these walks were done for the Oxfam Bookfest and it gave us the chance to see the interior and attics of the Oxfam shop, a building which is probably older than Beech Hurst!
Volunteers have been working on their ‘chunks’ to build up a picture of the buildings, trades and people over the centuries – for example see Sylvia’s article on Thomas Byngley and No. 14 High Street, an old house which probably dates from the time of Henry VIII. There are many more stories to be told so let us know what you have found out and if anyone would like to research another section of the street, please contact me or Katie.
Quite a lot of work has been done to collate records such as the census returns (1841-1911) and street directories (still in progress!). As I can testify, this is a rather mind-numbing repetitive process at the time but yields interesting results at the end. You begin to see trends and changes emerging such as the coming of chain stores and telephones and the development of new trades like gas fitters, cycle dealers and fried fish shops!
During the life of the project, the Poole History Centre’s website has gone live at www.poolehistory.org.uk . This means that we can start fulfilling one of the project’s aims to make the results of our researchs available to a wider audience. Over the next few months, some of the collated records and other items will start to appear on the website for reference. They will be labelled as High Street History items as well as allowing for specific searches.
The more we find, the more we realise is out there so there is no reason why the project cannot go on from strength to strength. Let us hear your ideas and watch this space!
Jenny and Katie