Celebrate! £20,000 in HLF funding secured for the WW1 in the Vale project!

We’re on our way! I’ve had to be very quiet about this one, whilst it was in development, but I am now happy to report that Pershore WI and Pershore Heritage & History Group (alias the WW1 in the Vale team) are celebrating the award of £10,000 each from the Heritage Lottery Fund First World War: Then and Now programme.

Getting started! (From left to right) Back row: Professor Maggie Andrews, University of Worcester, Susanne Atkin, volunteer researcher, Audrey Whitehouse and Beth Milsom of Pershore WI Front row: Elspeth King, University of Worcester, Audrey Humberstone, Margaret Tacey and Jean Haynes from Pershore Heritage & History Society

Getting started! (From left to right)
Back row: Professor Maggie Andrews, University of Worcester, Susanne Atkin, volunteer researcher, Audrey Whitehouse and Beth Milsom of Pershore WI
Front row: Elspeth King, University of Worcester, Audrey Humberstone, Margaret Tacey and Jean Haynes from Pershore Heritage & History Society

It’s been a long journey and a lot of hard work all round since Maggie Andrews and I produced the first public consultation event back in October 2014 at the Almonry in Evesham, but this grant award means that we can now get cracking on our research and events programme to find out more about life in the Vale during World War One. 

Over the next year, each group will follow a particular theme:

Pershore WI members will celebrate the centenary of their branch, founded in November 1916 as one of the first Women’s Institutes in the county. They will uncover the lives of its original members, including Viscountess Deerhurst of Pirton, Mrs Beynon, wife of the manager of the Pomona Jam Factory, and the wives, daughters or servants of engineers, bricklayers, tradesmen and market gardeners in the area.

Pershore Heritage & History Society will be investigating ‘How the Pershore Plum Won the War’. The fruit and vegetables grown in the Vales of Evesham and Pershore were essential to the nation’s food production. Many local residents combined market gardening and fruit growing with other trades such as pub landlord or wheelwright.

The project team will be co-ordinated by Jenni Waugh Consulting Ltd (me!) and supported by Professor Maggie Andrews, students from the University of Worcester, the Voices of War and Peace World War One Engagement Centre, Pershore Library staff and Pershore Town Council,.  We will also work with artists, an oral historian and a film-maker to record our discoveries, and have a year’s worth of exciting events and activities planned.

We also plan to produce touring exhibitions, a WW1 Pershore Town Trail and films of Food Preservation Demonstrations. We will also host a number of craft activities for children in the local library and other public events.

A book based on our research, How the Pershore Plum Won the War, will be published by the History Press and available for sale in time for the Pershore Plum Festival in 2016.

For further information about World War One in the Vale or to get involved, follow the project blog or contact me directly.

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New websites: Museum of Carpet and Anything But Ordinary

Check out these two new websites: Logo blue strap[1]wendy banner 960x125 copyHappy to announce that I’m just finishing up work on two more new websites for clients. As usual I have used WordPress to create them, because it is a cheap/free, easy-to-use application with loads of friendly, accessible online support.  Clients can then carry on managing their own websites without having to pay lots for hosting and maintenance. For the first time, however, I have used WordPress.org to create Anything But Ordinary for WendyHarrup.co.uk costume services and bespoke tailoring.  Wordpress.org is the downloadable, customisable version of the software.  Working with an associate who supplied all of the IT server know-how, we went on a crash course to learn all the things that WordPress.com provides as part of the template.  It was a bumpy journey at times, but we think we have cracked it now – see what you think. The best part of the new site was learning how to create good quality picture galleries so that I could show off the marvellous costumes and clothes that Wendy makes for her clients.  I shall now be revisiting the Top Drawer Costume website to update their image galleries with this in mind. The Museum of Carpet website has been an adventure of a completely different kind.  The Museum opened in Kidderminster in late 2012.  Last summer the Carpet Museum Trust commissioned me to refresh their web presence, train their staff and volunteers to blog and to provide advice on building their social media profile. Since then, I have worked with the team to create a website that reflects the full range of activities now on offer in this lively museum.  It now has a lively blog – all of the staff and now 4 volunteers have been trained to contribute articles, ensuring that readers read about a range of voices and interests. The facebook and twitter feed keep visitors up to date and seem to be particularly popular with family groups.  The museum even has its own Soundcloud album.  As a result, visitor numbers are climbing and the website is currently averaging 130 visits a day.  The next step will be to add the archive catalogue to the site so that researchers from all over the world will be able to see what’s in the collections. Both projects have taught me a great deal about working directly with clients to create websites that suit both them, and their own customers and visitors.  I look forward to the next!