During 2021, Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage worked with a team of volunteer researchers from Southwater Area Community Centre in St Leonards, East Sussex to explore local memories and experiences.
‘My Place Through Time’ was part of Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage’s Census 21 project, in partnership with the University of Brighton’s Centre for Memory, Narratives and Histories, in the run up to Census Day 2021. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the project explored broader issues around the historical census records and highlighted ways to get the most out of using the census, including practical, technical advice and ideas on how to frame the data critically.
The project team worked with Southwater Area Community Centre to coordinate ‘My Place Through Time’, which invited members of the public to take part in an online workshop session and spend approximately 10 hours researching their house, street or neighbourhood using information from the 1901 and 1911 censuses. Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage provided access to the census information, research, tips and advice to the community researchers via an online workshop.
Through a series of local history webinars exploring the heritage of St Leonards and Hastings, Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage supported the participants to learn new research skills and understand more clearly ways to use sources, archives, and online software such as Find My Past to really understand more about their families, the houses they live in and memories of the local area.
Following this, the Southwater researchers uncovered fascinating information about the histories of houses and localities in Hastings and St Leonards, using information from the 1901 and 1911 census records as well as original photographs and other historical sources.
You can download their fascinating local heritage research here. Take a look!