We’re now a few months into our project, and since the new year we’ve been really busy collecting stories of Hull’s post-war history and chatting to people about what the city & its heritage means to them today.
First of all, we’ve been hosting more of our workshops, where we use historic and contemporary maps, archival photos from the Hull History Centre, and walks around the city to open up conversations about place, memory and identity. In January, we spent a few hours with the Carnegie Heritage Centre, where we heard about caravan holidays and “Corned Beef Island”, and got into lengthy discussions about the differences between East Hull and West Hull. It was a real treat to spend the morning inside the absolute treasure trove that is the Carnegie and get an insight into not only our attendees’ personal stories, but the local history research they are doing themselves too.
In February, we held two more workshops, first with the Portobello Street Methodist Church Leisure Day and then with the Boulevard Breakfast Club. At Portobello Street, in East Hull, we collected stories about playing at the Lido and Splash Boat in East Park, the evolution of shopping on Holderness Road over the years, and of course, watching Rovers play at the old Craven Park. One of the real highlights of our morning at Portobello were the objects that attendees brought with them to show us – including old family photos, a First World War commemorative school book, and even a century-old swimming costume! Over in West Hull, Charlotte walked with the Boulevard Breakfast Club around Hessle Road and St Andrews Quay, where we explored how much this area has changed during the last few decades and had really insightful and exciting conversations about what ‘heritage’ and ‘history’ can mean. We also got the whole family involved in the conversation with the help of some Hull A to Z colouring books – and the kids were really enthusiastic about finding their own homes, schools, and other special places on our historic and contemporary maps!
We’ve also been really busy travelling around Hull and East Yorkshire for our oral history series, interviewing people about their lives so far, and their connections to the city. We’ll be sharing more about what we’ve found out in future blog posts, but for now, we’re still looking for more interviewees. Whether you’ve lived in Hull for just a few months or for your whole life, whether you live in the city or in the area around it, whether you’re 18 or 80, we’d love to have you (or someone you know – the more the merrier!).
In other words, our project is now starting to really build momentum, and we know from talking to lots of our contributors and participants that people want more ways to keep in touch with us, and keep up to date with what we’re working on. Not everybody uses social media, and even if they do, we know that people find it useful for updates to be rounded up in one place, in a format that they can save and come back to whenever they want. With that in mind, we’ve launched a Half Life of the Blitz newsletter, where each month we’ll email people about the stories we’ve been collecting, the workshops and other events we’re hosting, we’ll share our latest blog posts and research findings, and more.
We want this newsletter to be a space for dialogue, to keep the conversations flowing. And we want to shape this newsletter about what people want to hear – so please do let us know if there’s something you’d like to see featured, or explored in more detail, and we’ll make sure to include it. You can sign up for our newsletter here, or simply drop us a message and we can add you to our mailing list.
We hope you enjoy reading and hope to hear from you soon!