‘Not 1066 and all that’ – a different approach to conventional history
In conventional history-making what seems to unite different historians is a particular subject matter, such as a period in history. The ‘Not 1066 and All That’ event on Saturday 8 October is not quite like that. Instead our emphasis is on how we have made history and ways of sharing this so that others can pursue their own interests, writes Hilda Kean, one of the organisers of this event.
And we can promise that there will be no sessions on kings and queens, be they Harold, William the Conqueror or Queen Victoria and her bullet-ridden statue in Warrior Square!
Local historians will describe the way their own projects came to light. They include Ann Kramer, who discusses a project uncovering women’s pasts and then through writings and artwork presenting a pop-up exhibition at Hastings Museum, while the Halton and Ore history group explain the relationship between their enthusiasm for their locality and their own memories. Radiator Arts bring the past into the present with their work on John Hancox, the Hastings Hermit, and their recent work with homeless people in Hastings and St Leonards in equally creative ways.
Others bring their personal experience to bear on the relationship between local, national and personal histories. Thus Paula Radice explains about her own research on Quaker history, ‘Never before have the lives of “ordinary” people in the past been so accessible, and so able to show that all lives are, as Quakers would say, “unique, precious…”’ In similar vein John Siblon describes, ‘After my father died, I discovered in his papers that my grandfather was a member of the British West Indies Regiment during the First World War who served in France and Italy. The memorial and monumental landscape that was created after the war does not appear to tell his story or those of colonial servicemen in general.’
We are particularly pleased that William Eiduks and Len Clarke, co-organisers of the Early Pestalozzi Children Project, will talk about their aim of recovering the lost story of the children who came to this Sedlescombe community north of Hastings between 1959 and 1965. William and Len, two of the original resident children, will talk about how two novices, with nothing other than a passion for their story, came to undertake this oral history research project and how they are approaching it.
The day has an interactive approach, with workshops on making shadow puppets and using photographs as a way into family history, as well as an emphasis throughout the day on participation. We hope it will be an opportunity to share our experience of creating histories and the different ways of bringing pasts into the present that are relevant for us today.
Not 1066 and All That Saturday 8 October, 9.30am-5pm, St Matthew’s Church Centre, 5 St Matthew’s Road, St Leonards-on-Sea TN38 0TN. The day is free but advance booking is essential through Eventbrite as places are limited. A waiting list will operate if demand necessitates.
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