Your memories needed to tell the story of Warwickshire

A new project aims to tell the history of Warwickshire in 100 stories and residents’ family heirlooms, photos and letters are needed to help bring it to life.

Funded by Warwickshire County Council, the Warwickshire Bytes project will combine historical materials with digital technology to gather stories commemorating anniversaries like the end of World War One and the county’s world-famous industrial heritage as well as those celebrating the everyday lives of Warwickshire’s people.

One of the project’s early tasks will be to collect stories of armistice celebrations throughout Warwickshire next month to include on the community website ‘Our Warwickshire’.

Councillor David Reilly, portfolio holder for Environment and Heritage and Culture said ‘Centenaries remind us that to be able to celebrate events and people in the future information about them need to be stored and preserved now. Please help us to record what’s important about your family, business, community, workplace or local area by contributing to the Our Warwickshire website and becoming part of the Warwickshire Bytes festival.

‘There is such a wealth of significant objects and knowledge in our communities and a thirst to find out more. Working with Warwickshire Libraries, the project will allow every Warwickshire resident and visitor to access the British Newspaper Archive freely at your local library. It will also develop a pop-up exhibition and talks as well as online activity.’

For those who are handy with a keyboard, there will also be an opportunity to try something new as volunteers are needed to work from their home computers to help make historical documents from the archives more widely available.  No experience is necessary, just a computer and an internet connection, as full training will be given.

The culmination of the project will be a digital heritage festival in 2020, celebrating the achievements of the virtual volunteers and the 100 stories of life in the county available to read on the dedicated Our Warwickshire website.  Our Warwickshire is a community history site designed to make it easy for anyone to access and share their recollections.

WCC’s Archive and Museum services already hold a wide range of objects and documents, from a 170 million year old dinosaur fragment to records of coal mining in the Keresley in the 1990s.  The collections only exist because people recognised their value and found a place to preserve and provide access to them.   Visit ourwarwickshire.org.uk for information about how to take part and email bytes@warwickshire.gov.uk to register.