Clements Hall Local History Group
We’re a group of people with wide-ranging interests in the local history of our neighbourhood – the Scarcroft, Clementhorpe and South Bank areas of York, to the south of the city walls and west of the River Ouse.
Our history group was founded in 2013, following a series of local history events at Clements Hall in York.
We’ve organised an annual programme of talks and walks, performances, exhibitions and occasional workshops. Most of our archival material is digital.
In 2015 we were successful with our bid for £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to explore the Impact and Legacy of the First World War on our Neighbourhood. This has supported our two year project from January 2016 until December 2017. It resulted in events and activities, publications, videos and much digital work.
We have two current projects now the WW1 project has finished. Firstly we’ve been researching the long history of our local shops, to create a publication on these, entitled Bishy Road: a York shopping street in time, out soon.
Secondly we now have available a significant local resource of Poor Law records in York City Archives, which opens a window into the lives of people living in our neighbourhood over 100 years ago. As this is a rare source we’re planning a small research project related to poverty in the area in the second half of the 19th century.
An award-winning project
The Clements Hall Local History Group won the 2018 Community Archives and Heritage Group award for Best Digital Project. The judges commented:
“Clements Hall History Group is a textbook example of scaling up impact through digital. A basic WordPress site was enough at the start, but when the Group wanted functionality across different platforms – eg tablets and smartphones – they needed to upgrade. With the aid of HLF funding and the support of a great local firm, a year later in November 2017 the Group launched the new site. Now, the site highlights the project in a more attractive way, accessibility requirements (WCAG A level compliance) are being met, storage capacity is better and site searching and navigating is much easier for visitors. The real driver of success, though, was the level of thought and planning that went into the project.”
Susan Major, group volunteer responsible for web and digital development said: ”While we make great use of local street noticeboards to promote our talks, we recognise that the web is tremendously important in highlighting our events and researches about the impact of World War 1 for example, supported by social media such as Twitter and Facebook.”
We continue to use social media to promote our blog posts and events and attract new members and in the case of Twitter, to network with other organisations and to discover new resources. In May 2016 we worked with local secondary schools to produce a live twitter feed at @zeppelinWW1live, exactly 100 years from the date of the Zeppelin raid on our area, a moment-by-moment account of the raid, with over 80 tweets.
We also worked with a local documentary filmmaker to create a video record of our project activity, using some special effects. Our videos are now available on our new YouTube channel and via our website: York Zeppelin Raids 1916, Conscience and conscription in WW1: responses from a York neighbourhood, ‘Soldier, Brother, Friend’: A Calendar of the War-Dead, South Bank, York, 1914-18