Get Tomorrow's History Today As North East Archive Goes Online

By David Prudames | 08 December 2003
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picture shows Rachel Peacock (community project leader), Councilor Dennis Morgan, Sue Morgan (NEMLAC Chair) and Councilor Alex Cunningham.

Photo: (l to r) Community Project Leader Rachel Peacock, Cllr Dennis Morgan, Sue Underwood and Cllr Alex Cunningham, Chair of NEMLAC. Photo courtesy NEMLAC.

A £600,000 online project showcasing the unique history of the North East of England has been completed and launched in Durham.

Entitled Tomorrow’s History, the new website provides a digital record of the region’s rich and colourful industrial, social and cultural past.

Created by a partnership of museums, heritage organisations and 116 community groups, the project was co-ordinated by the North East Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (NEMLAC).

Speaking at the launch at Durham County Hall, the Chair of NEMLAC, Councillor Alex Cunningham explained how much hard work had gone into creating the site.

"The Tomorrow’s History website is an ambitious and groundbreaking project," said the Councillor.

picture shows a shot of the home page of the tomorrow's history website

Photo: www.tomorrows-history.com is a huge collection of digitised photographs, documents, sound recordings, film, TV and video from every corner of the North East. Photo courtesy NEMLAC.

"It created many technical and organisational challenges and is the result of an enormous amount of hard work by a very large number of people and organisations - from planning in the early stages, through the project as it was created and in delivering a very exciting and innovative new resource for the Region. This launch is to celebrate your achievements."

A key feature of Tomorrow’s History is the role played in its creation by 116 community projects.

Funded by NEMLAC and guided by four full-time Community Project Leaders, the groups carried out their own research, prepared their material and converted it for loading on to the site.

The result is a hugely diverse range of content, from the story of the 7th Newcastle Company of the Boys Brigade to memories of sheltered housing units in Blyth Valley. There’s also a history of Shotton Colliery as well as reminiscences from South Shields’ Asian Community.

"The enthusiasm and commitment shown by the community groups in the region cannot be overstated, and the work produced has been of excellent quality," said Community Project Leader Rachel Peacock.

"There has been a great sense of partnership from the community groups which have taken real pride in the scheme."

the picture shows members of community groups from the north east using a row of computers to look at the Tomorrow's History website

Photo: test driving Tomorrow’s History at County Hall – community groups at the launch review their handiwork. Photo Courtesy NEMLAC.

With over 20,000 web pages, Tomorrow’s History offers a huge online journey through digitised material taken from 175 collections in the region.

Contributing partners include public libraries, universities, county record offices and a number of museums; ranging from Beamish, the North of England Open Air Museum and Darlington Railway Museum to Hartlepool Museums.

There was also a contribution from the Northern Region Film and Television Archive on Teesside and the site boasts 30,000 photographs, as well as video, audio and 3,500 maps.

However, Tomorrow’s History is an ongoing project with more collections to be added in order to ensure the site grows to reflect changing interests.

The project was made possible by a £400,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, with the other £200,000 supplied by the contributing partners.

To visit Tomorrow's History, click on this link.

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