Archives Awareness Campaign project reveals the stories of post-war Britain

By Nick Owen | 10 August 2011
a 1950s photo portrait of a woman
Eastside Community Heritage: A portrait of Muriel Simpson (circa 1950), daughter of Kamal Chunchie, who founded the Coloured Men's Institute in Canning Town© Copyright 2011 Eastside Community Heritage
A series of archive exhibitions and events across the UK is highlighting the stories and artefacts which represent the varied communities and social and economic classes of post-war Britain.

Unveiled this week by the Archives and Records Association, the varied events take place between now and Christmas 2011 as part of a scheme to honour local artists who have made an impact on the history of British communities.

Culture and Diversity: What's Your Story? continues the work of the Archive Awareness Campaign and has been launched to coincide with the 60th anniversary of The Festival of Britain.

Geoff Pick, of the Archives and Records Association, said: “Uniquely, [The Festival of Britain] told the story of contemporary culture and diversity in the ways different communities marked the occasion.

“Now this campaign offers everyone the opportunity to explore the rich resources and discover the fascinating quality of the UK’s cultural heritage.”

Among the stories being told by archives across the country are those of local Olympic sportswomen Denise Lewis and Tessa Sanderson, which are on display at Wolverhampton Archives.

In Scotland, a collection of previously forgotten foods and recipes from across the generations will be tried and tested at the Scottish Council on Archives.

Cornwall Record Office is launching a series of exhibitions in November using their resources, as well as those of their partners in the Cornish Archive Network (CAN). The exhibition content will delve into Cornish culture, traditions, arts and festivals.

Angela Owusu, of Archive Awareness Campaign, said: “Diverse activities are being held all over, from exhibitions, talks and competitions to an archive feast where the public will have the chance to taste a Regency-era seed cake”.

Recent studies have shown that thanks to programmes such as Who do you Think you Are? interest in archives and family histories in the UK is growing.

More images from the Culture and Diversity: What’s Your Story? exhibitions and events:

a photo a man with dreadlocks talking to an elderly man in a suit
The Guardian News & Media Archive: Lord Leslie Scarman meets residents in Brixton in October 1986 following the riots that had affected the area. Image by Garry Weaser for The Guardian.© Image by Garry Weaser for The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Archive 2011
a black and white photo of a chef with a large pile of Haggis
Scottish Council on Archives: Chef with a large pile of haggises at Gleneagles Hotel, 1974.© Crown Copyright 2011, National Records of Scotland
An old black and white photo of students in a life drawing class
Cornwall Record Office: A photograph of an art class taken circa 1900 in an artist’s studio in St Ives.© Image reproduced with permission from Andrew Lanyon 2011
a photo of Asian and African boy scouts with an older man
The Scout Association: Scouts recording and listening to messages, August 1951.© Reproduced by the kind permission of The Scout Association Trustees 2011
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