Beyond the Point
‘Beyond the Point’ is a heritage archive organisation which is set up by two teenagers Liam Heatherson and Joe Mander. Because we are surprisingly young-aged compared to those usually interested in local history, we are able to give an innovative and new perspective to the field. We approach archiving local history by exploring the remains of it within South Essex’s landscape, which allows us to pitch towards younger people as well as more senior enthusiasts. This is due to our content heavily involving exploring local heritage which is sometimes ‘hidden’ (for example wartime tunnels amongst a heavily wooded area), which appeals to young people more than the traditional run of old photographs and childhood memories. We believe this makes us unique and also forward thinking in the way we document local history today, for the future. Beyond the Point has also enlightened those interested in traditional local heritage to the realms of what exists today, as well as what once had been.
We receive an average of 50 views a day, and get around 1,500 views each month on our website, which range from adults who have discovered our innovative way of presenting local heritage whilst on a search for bog standard local history. For example a visitor commented ‘This is a wonderful new resource, especially for old exiled [Canvey] Islanders like myself.’ which portrays how our site gives an innovative breath of fresh air to traditional enthusiasts in heritage. These views also come from people our own age who would usually not find local history interesting. An example of this would be where a 17 year old commented ‘Your adventures seem impressive and should become a book. I would buy it.’ This illustrates the way in which the ‘adventure’ side to Beyond the Point has drawn in young people towards our historic content.
Beyond the Point has got young people deeply interested in local history on a number of occasions, such as how some people our age wanted us to show them around a disused 1930s theatre which was once a prominent attraction in Southend. They agreed how the exploring aspect of how we document heritage had initially captured them, although the history then truly added a precious quality to the experience. Another example would be how one boy of 16 read our website and watched some of our documentary videos, and wanted to join us on an ‘adventure’ looking into an area on the Mucking coast once used for barge unloading. He explained how he had followed in our footsteps, and went off to explore a historic railway himself, and feels this could become a new hobby of his. When he met me, he printed off his own images to show us of his finds, highlighting his enthusiasm we had impacted on him.
Our website and organisation could certainly inspire traditional community archives to begin covering local historic remains, which could come from the innovative approach to local history we have shown. Being in close contact with the traditional ‘Canvey Island Community Archive’, we could be likely to influence them. A local museum which focused on military and local history decided to allow us a permanent cabinet for display of our own work, and in this we have injected our innovative content into them.
Our aims are:
- Raise awareness of local history and its impact on our modern environment.
- Document and explore what remains of South-East Essex’s local history.
- Research into areas of history not usually covered by conventional local historians in-depth.
- Present a new perspective of history, especially to younger people, by means of exploration, and history in relation to themselves/their local area.