1st August sees the formal launch of an exciting new website celebrating the ‘living history’ of the Sopwell area of St Albans. Funded by the National Lottery the website, www.sopwellmemories.org.uk, contains stories and photographs contributed by local people, as well as an extensive and increasing archive of oral history interviews with both recent and long-standing residents. It aims to capture memories of living in Sopwell as it changed from a rural farming community to a culturally diverse suburb of St Albans. Over 40 people have been interviewed so far, resulting in 137 posts. Once launched and open to the public, the website will be fully interactive, and residents and others will be able to view the archived material as well as make their own contributions.
The project to research Sopwell’s early history and collect more recent local memories for the benefit of future generations was begun by the Sopwell Residents Association (SRA) in 2009. The amount of material generated resulted, in 2012, in a self-published book Sopwell a history and collection of memories. It was on the strength of this original research, carried out with minimal help and resources, that SRA was awarded £10,000.
Project Manager, Sandy Norman, says: “It has been really enlightening talking to past and present residents about their memories. These would be lost to future generations if we had not decided to preserve and celebrate them. Their stories and photographs will be an invaluable resource for education institutions and social historians as well as the general public.”
As part of the website launch an exhibition telling the story behind the project will run throughout August at the Museum of St Albans in Hatfield Road. Admission is free.
Notes on the SRA
Sopwell Residents Association was formed in 2003 and seeks to improve the lives of people living in the Sopwell council ward as well as celebrating all the good things about living here.
The Sopwell Memories Project is funded by the Heritage Lottery All Our Stories Project Fund.
For further details please contact Sandy Norman, Project Manager , Sopwell Memories Project. 01727 865061 / 07710207919 or Jennifer Taylor 01727 835747 / 07906 655646
Sopwell Residents Association website: www.sopwell.org.uk
Sopwell Memories website: www.sopwellmemories.org.uk
Sandy Norman’s blog: blog.sopwellmemories.org.uk
A party to celebrate the launch (invitation only) will take place on Sunday 10th August from 2-5pm. The Mayor will be present.
The Sopwell History book. Sopwell: a history and collection of memories was written and edited by Sandy Norman. 978-0-9567399-1-9.