Monday 31 March 2014

What happened "In the Olden Days"?

Daffodils planted by members of the Sopwell Residents Association
For the past few weeks, we have been part of a project at St Peter’s school to teach schoolchildren about local history. Letters were sent to parents encouraging them – or friends, neighbours and relatives - to come along to speak to the children. Each class took part with one or two people coming in to be interviewed. The older children had been taught how to use the recording equipment beforehand and they did very well.

There were two days of interviewing and I sat in on several sessions. There was no shortage of questions. All the children were fascinated by the fact that there were not many cars on the roads “in the olden days” and so children could play on the streets and wander far and wide. They were also amazed that we did not have televisions or computers. The children in Year 5 asked very good questions such as what was school like and what was it like in the war. It was so nice to see their enthusiasm. Years 1 and 2 interviews inevitably degenerated to repeating the same questions or asking questions about pets! However, I think it has been a success as an awareness raising exercise and we will definitely be able to use some of the material on the website.

Talking of which, the website is ready for beta testing and I have let the committee and the history team loose on it. I only have a few comments so far, but these are mostly positive. I have now uploaded 93 posts and I still have plenty more to do. Just today, I recorded another interview and collected several more original photographs. 

The project finishes in August and we are going to showcase it for the whole of the month of August in the city museum in Hatfield Road. More on that in a later post.

Sandy Norman