The Beginning of the Story
All Our Stories started with television series on the BBC, presented by Michael Wood, The Great British Story – A People’s History. When the series had finished there were a variety of community events to promote local history, one such event was held at Hall Place. Bexley Archaeology Group was one of many local groups who attended with a stall to promote ourselves and the work we do locally and to encourage adults and children to join us.
The Heritage Lottery Fund team were also present, giving advice and to encourage applications for the All Our Stories fund. As a group we decided that it would be good to offer free workshops to adults and schools/groups to encourage people to find out the history of their house/street through archives and digging a test pit in the garden to see if the finds supported their written history, the finished results would be published in a book.
Our funding application was accepted and we ran 5 workshops for up to 15 people. Each workshop comprised of a session led by Bexley Local Studies and Archive Centre ( who then supported all the participants who visited them) on the use of maps, census, tithe records, photographs and other documents held at the centre. We also had a pottery identification session and the history and dating of clay pipes. After lunch we went to our dig site and had a hands-on pottery sherd identification session and taught our participants how to dig a test pit. We gave all participants a booklet to help them and gave support and guidance throughout the project.
We had 4 schools involved and 3 have produced stories. As a group we have a ‘Young Archaeologists’ Club’ and therefore have a team of police checked adults who went out into the schools and dug test pits with the children.
The workshops have been great fun; we have had lots of positive feedback. We are very proud of everyone who has taken part and written a story.