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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

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Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Saving Our Coronavirus Memories

Friday, 26 June 2020

Our Local Studies and Archives service is the beating heart of community history and memory in Tameside. If you’ve ever seen our “Looking Back” series on social media, you’ll have an idea of the sheer number of resources and memories stored in our archive centre in Ashton. Every month more than 1,200 people come to explore the exhaustive range of books, maps, documents and church records, covering everything from the experiences of Tameside residents during the World Wars to photos of how our streets and towns looked in decades, and sometimes centuries, past.

Every so often we live through some truly significant events in history, the kind that you know will be taught in schools to your children or grandchildren one day. In my own lifetime I can think of both wonderful achievements like the Moon Landing, and terrible disasters such as the Manchester Arena attack. From a more local perspective, I’m sure the Tour of Britain coming to Tameside, and the way the whole community took part in the event, will be fondly remember for years to come. As we continue to struggle against coronavirus, it is clear that it will be remembered as one of those historic moments. Once the pandemic is over, and let us all hope that it will be soon, we need remember more than just the cold numbers of how long it lasted, how many cases there were or how many sadly died. We need to preserve the individual voices of the men and women who lived through it.  

It is for that reason our Local Studies and Archives centre has teamed up with interference-art, a design company with experience in art projects across the North West, to ask Tameside residents to save and share their memories of the few past months. It could be something about how you helped others, or stood out on Thursday nights to thank our key workers, or celebrated Ramadan or Easter in lockdown. Or perhaps you just want to tell us how you felt. Did you struggle to cope without a trip to a pub, café or restaurant, or did you enjoy working from home and seeing fewer cars on the road? All stories– good or bad - are welcome. The only request is that whatever you submit is true and personal to you. Items will be chosen to be placed in our archives in order to record the living history, in written and visual form, of Tameside and its residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

Since we still need to take precautions to avoid spreading the virus, we are unable to accept any physical copies of memories at this time. However, we can collect digital items like uploaded photographs, blog posts, arts and poem, or even a recorded talk with friends or family members – anything that represents Tameside. Our Local Studies and Archives service have provided helpful information and advice on how to get started with journals, photos and interviews. Any contributions or further enquiries can be sent to us via e-mail at archives@tameside.gov.uk. You could also start collecting paper based material like scrapbooks or diaries to save until the time when you’ll be able to bring them in to the archives in person. Our Archives team will get in touch with you if we need any further information or details.

No matter what you choose to do, please remember to comply with the lockdown guidelines and do not put yourself or anyone else at risk at any time. Please also make sure that anything you submit to us is your own work and that you have permission to use other people’s thoughts and comments.  We can keep items anonymous if requested and will take into account all laws around data protection in the assessment, description and access of any material offered to us.

I think it’s fair to say that nobody back in February could have predicted the challenges we would soon be facing as individuals and as a community. Under the most difficult of circumstances we have pulled together to help and support each other. If that isn’t worthy of remembrance, I can’t think what else is. I would encourage you all to get involved in the creation of what will be a fascinating and unique piece of Tameside’s local history.

 

Posted by: Executive Leader


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