Wishes granted for local history group

PUBLISHED: 06:21 02 November 2006 | UPDATED: 09:58 31 May 2010

Michael Southgate with some of the artefacts to be archived - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

Michael Southgate with some of the artefacts to be archived - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

A GRANT of almost £12,000 has helped a local history group launch an online records database. Recording Uttlesford History, known as RUTH, will give internet users access to descriptions of documents and artefacts held in the district and help them carry

A GRANT of almost £12,000 has helped a local history group launch an online records database.

Recording Uttlesford History, known as RUTH, will give internet users access to descriptions of documents and artefacts held in the district and help them carry out research more easily.

The Uttlesford Local History Recorders, which was founded in 1998, have used the £11,374 awarded to them by the Local Heritage Initiative to set up the database and buy a new laptop, A3 scanner and video projector.

Radwinter recorder, Michael Southgate, came up with the idea to have the records on the web.

"I inherited a large number of cardboard boxes stuffed with documents from my two predecessors, Dick Lloyd and Francis Brereton, when I took the post three years ago," he said.

"Every time somebody rang me to ask about some aspect of local history I had to sift through the piles of documents, so the database will help enormously.

"Family history is very popular at the moment, and now anyone with access to a computer will be able to discover what dastardly deeds their ancestors may have been getting up to in the 17th century and beyond."

New material will be added to the catalogue regularly and already villages including Radwinter, Clavering, Manuden, Great Chesterford, Newport, Elsenham, Littlebury and Strethall have signed up to start cataloguing their collections.

Mr Southgate added the database would allow people with precious documents a chance to share them with others.

"People who have items which are valuable and mean a lot to them can now share them with other like-minded people without having to part with them," he said.

ULHR used some of the grant to employ Gantwell Solutions of Ashdon to get the database up and running, and Uttlesford District Council are hosting it on their website.

Jacky Cooper, chair of ULHR, said: "This is a most exciting development for the history scene in north-west Essex."

"For the first time, it will be possible to find out about the documents and artefacts, which until now, have been known only within villages or groups.

We hope that more parishes will want to take part and allow their historical material to be listed.

"It is a way of conserving records for the future generations because, once catalogued, they are less likely to be discarded and forgotten, as has been the fate of many potential archives."

The database goes live on November 16 at www.ulhr.gov.uk

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Saffron Walden Reporter