Archive for October, 2011

Help us to create a timeline of the Broadway’s history from 1912-2012 by suggesting an item to go on it. All you need to do is nominate a date plus an event, character, location, shop or personal experience appropriate to that date.

To make a start: on 10 February 1989 the historic Market House, located next to the Clock Tower, was gutted in a mystery blaze. It was at the time owned by Bexley Council and leased to a tiling supplier, Mr Discount. It was one of Bexleyheath’s oldest buildings, dating back to around 1831. It had served as a grocer’s premises, Congregationalist Sunday School, mineral water factory and motor service station. [Sidcup Times, 23 February 1989]

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People’s memories are an important source of local history knowledge. They tell us about the events, places and people which aren’t in the text books. They give us the tiny details and the emotions felt. Individual personal experiences can illustrate big events on a level that we can understand. And every person’s experience is just as important and valid as another’s.

But these memories are hidden away. Once that person has gone, the memories are gone with them. How many times have we said to ourselves ‘if only my grandparents were still around to ask…’?

This is why oral history projects are so important. They unlock the memories before it is too late. The ‘Changing Times’ project will collect and record as many oral histories as possible to piece together a history of Bexleyheath, telling it from the viewpoint of those who have lived, worked and shopped there. All ages can take part: local history is living history, and present-day experiences need to be recorded just as much as those from past times.

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