No sooner had we held the first steering group meeting of this wonderful project than we were all overwhelmed by the coronavirus, and now with the lockdown. For a project that was supposed to be putting the meeting of the generations at its core, this was hardly ideal. No longer could we take groups of primary school children to interview the older residents of their villages and districts. Then the schools actually closed, or if they did remain open it would be only for the children of key workers.
I am delighted to say that our school partners have come up with novel ways of how the project can continue, with children talking to their older relatives digitally. We hope to put the result of these conversations on our website in the coming weeks.
We will also be researching school log books, some of which date back to the 1860’s. Bury and Shipley schools still have these historic documents on their premises and this allows us the opportunity to continue with this line of research. Most of the other log books are in the safe keeping of West Sussex Record Office at Chichester, which, alas, is now closed for the duration of the crisis.
However – and by lucky chance – about ten years ago I made extensive notes from the log books of Ashington, Findon, Fittleworth, Harting, Pulborough, and three Worthing schools.
Over the coming weeks we will be uploading themed extracts from this research onto the school log books page of the website.
Chris Hare, South Downs Schools Living History Project Manager.