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More than £80,000 has been awarded to photography project

By Clare Butler | Sandwell entertainment | Published: | Last Updated:

More than £80,000 has been awarded to a major new Black Country project based around photography collections.

Lynette Richards (middle) on her wedding day, circa 1960. Photo Courtesy: The Beverly Harvey Family Album

Called 'Living Memory' it will work with communities and groups across the Black Country to explore and celebrate their unique photos from the past - such as those kept in family albums and hidden away in shoeboxes.

A grant of £85,200 has now been awarded to Sandwell Advocacy, who are behind the project, by the National Lottery.

Pigeon Fancier, Druids Head, Coseley, 1969 Photo: Alan Price Collection.

Geoff Broadway from Sandwell Advocacy has developed the Living Memory project in partnership with CHAS - The Sandwell Community Archives Services.

Living Memory will host more than 100 public and school based workshops, training sessions and celebratory events exploring different aspects of the photography collections and related life stories.

Maureen Waldron, senior archivist at CHAS, said: “We are really excited to partner with Sandwell Advocacy to make this exciting project come to life through working with our many diverse communities.

Bilston Steel Works from Sedgley Beacon, June 1979, Photo: Keith Hodgkins Collection.

"We are convinced that this project will make a much needed contribution in raising the awareness of how important it is for all our Black Country communities to treasure and preserve our shared photographic heritage. In doing so it will celebrate Sandwell’s unique identity, its cultural diversity and some of the many important life stories of our communities.”

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A new touring exhibition, the production of a series of short films and a book containing some of the photographs and life stories will also be created via the project.

Keith Hodgkins, president of the Black Country Society, said: “Living Memory is an important and timely project that will preserve and share many of the rich photographic collections held by family and private collectors."

Pride of the Black Country Whippet Race, Tipton Sports Union Ground at Gospel Oak late 1960’s. Photo: Alan Price Collection.

The project will also record many oral histories around the life stories and memories represented in collections created by dedicated amateur enthusiasts such as Alan Price of Walsall and Ron Moss of Old Hill.

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Staff from CHAS and Dudley Archives will be working closely with the project team, more than 60 recruited volunteers and wider community members to raise awareness of the importance of these collections.

Working together, they will choose more than 1000 images that will be professionally archived and feature in the final exhibition.

Ice breaker scene, near Brades Locks, circa 1950’s. Photo: Will King Collection

Support will also be gained from Dudley Archives, The Black Country Living Museum, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council and Sandwell College.

There will also be a new project website that will showcase many of the gathered photographs and life stories, the commissioned films, as well interpretative texts and learning materials for schools and colleges.

Workers from Tipton in the 1970’s. Jubilee Arts Archive.
Clare Butler

By Clare Butler
Senior Reporter - @CButler_Star

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