In the January 2014 edition of the Newsletter, there was an appeal for a volunteer to represent the Ipswich Society on the Suffolk Local History Council committee, following the resignation of Ruth Serjeant. I was happy to offer my services as I am already on the SLHC committee, where I share the position of Secretary for the Local History Recorders scheme.
The SLHC is an umbrella group for local history societies, family history societies, museums and individuals interested in local history in the county, and The Ipswich Society is a 'Society Member'. The SLHC was formed in 1953 and the Local History Recorders scheme began soon afterwards. The aim is to find a dependable person in each parish to collect and record what is happening 'today' as that will become tomorrow's history. My particular responsibility is to recruit recorders for those areas without a representative.
In the case of Ipswich - it has been divided using the parliamentary boundaries - which give 16 areas today. Only 5 Ipswich areas have a Local History Recorder and through the auspices of this Newsletter I would like to appeal for a volunteer in each of the following areas: Alexandra, Bixley, Gainsborough, Gipping, Holywells, Priory Heath, Rushmere, St Margaret, Sprites, Westgate and Whitehouse. I also have a number of vacant parishes throughout the county for anyone interested who lives outside Ipswich.
I should emphasise that being a Local History Recorder does not involve research into the history of the parish or to do other people's family history. The Suffolk Record Office is full of interesting documents recording events of the past, and used by researchers in a myriad of ways, but those documents had to be created and deposited for us to benefit today.
We have only two requirements. First, that the recorder is on-line to aid communication and secondly that they submit a short report each year. This can be as little as one side of A4 and it is not an academic essay but a summary of the changes and activities in the designated area. Over a period of time the reports make extremely interesting reading enabling a future researcher to see the changes. Several of our recorders have submitted reports in excess of 30 years so you can imagine the many changes that have been noted over this period of time. We do ask that an initial report is submitted to describe the area and set it in context for comparison against future reports.
To further enhance the role, we ask that parish/local magazines are collected, as well as local leaflets, events that take place are recorded, relevant newspaper articles are cut out and changes noted, such as closure/opening of shops, new buildings etc. In 2012, for instance, the Jubilee celebrations featured heavily in many areas.
A starter's pack is available on the SLHC website - www.slhc.org.uk, click on 'Recorders' and then click on 'Recorder's Pack' within the text on the left hand side to read guidelines on what is involved in the role. No two parishes/areas are the same so there are no definite rules on how to carry out the task.
In return the recorder would receive the SLHC Newsletter, free of charge, and an invitation to attend our annual conference specifically for our Local History Recorders. This is always a successful day that gives the recorders an opportunity to meet other recorders and hear relevant lectures.
If you are interested in becoming the recorder for the area you live in, please have a look at the starter pack on our website and e-mail me on: firstname.lastname@example.org