‘The poetry of history lies in the fact that once, on this earth, once, on this familiar spot of ground, walked other men and women, as actual as we are today, thinking their own thoughts, swayed by their own passions, but now all gone, one generation vanishing into another, gone as utterly as we ourselves shall shortly be gone, like ghosts at cockcrow.’ – G.M. Trevelyan
This famous historian’s quote underlines the importance of preserving memories and records of local people. The Littleport Society has a vast collection of old photographs, letters, and printed village records. Conversations recorded on cassette tape 20 years ago are now expertly digitised for preservation long into the future. Our digitised film records preserve moving images of a life that will one day be lost. One of our volunteers has been adding newspaper reports about Littleport to the Society’s archive for over 30 years. Imagine Littleport residents, your descendants even, in 50- or 100-years’ time being able to listen to your memories of village life or see how and where you used to live.
Most importantly, the Society’s records give ordinary people like us a name, a face, and details of real lives lived. Records of politicians, wealthy landowners and royalty have been preserved down the centuries but the activities of groups like The Littleport Society preserve knowledge about the lives of all of us, of the majority.
The Society’s recorded conversations with Littleport residents recently caught the eye of Britain’s best-selling Family History magazine, featuring in the March edition of ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ with a whole page spread about the project.
The Littleport Society has more than 1200 members locally and across the globe. Many more people around the world can trace their families back to Littleport. For this reason, two of our expert volunteers are working hard to produce an online catalogue which will list every item the Society holds. People anywhere in the world will then be able to go online and see details of what we have and contact us for copies or for photographs of objects. With many thousands of items to list this is a mammoth task but is well on the way to completion.
Did you grow up in Littleport? Have you traced any of your family tree back to Littleport? Do you live here now and want to know what your house or road looked like 50 years ago or even longer? If so, come along to The Barn in Littleport which houses the Society’s archive and collection. It is open on Tuesday afternoons from 1.00 pm until 4.00 pm. Helpful, friendly volunteers with a wealth of knowledge will be there to help you discover your story.
The Littleport Society provides a programme of monthly Tuesday evening talks and events at the Village Hall, Victoria Street, Littleport. Next up, on June 4th at 7.30 pm Paul Howe will be talking about ‘The Birds and the Bees – Insights into Animal Behaviour’ and on July 2nd at 7.30 pm Chris Carr will be revealing all about ‘Boudicca and the Two Empires.’ All welcome. Free entry, refreshments.
For family history information and details of events and how to join The Society see www.littleportsociety.org.uk
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