Thursday, 2 October 2008

Local Archives

For some seventeen weeks now I have been adding to some church archives, scanning parish magazines from mainly 1972 and 1973, but some before and a number in the early 1980s, editing, processing and turning them to .html and .pdf files (and some image files) to give a snapshot of church life in Barton-upon-Humber.

These archives have been added to the website of the Parish Church of Saint Mary in Barton-upon-Humber, run by Dr. Peter Large.

This has been alongside producing the first weeks of a theology course or discussion resource (next session next Tuesday 7th October) and also taking a 1971 dissertation and reproducing it from an oddly sized carbon reproduction of typing to full digitised and academic standard reproduction - working out the bibliography as none was given.

The archives are set up so that they are magazine (eras of magazine titles) based and then subject based within them. In some cases, for example, this meant splitting up the Vicar's Letter into subjects covered, and then relevant paragraphs for a subject were added to other relevant paragraphs in the rest of that month's issue to produce one webpage. So, it is one month and one subject per webpage. To follow up a Vicar's Letter means using the links to jump across documents and monthly issues.

1972 to 1973 features heavily because, well, they were immediately available, though much more is available thanks to the preservation habits of a churchgoer. Nevertheless, 1972 saw a real effort to produce a community magazine centred on St Mary's Church, Barton-upon-Humber. It is a good snapshot because it is a time of transition: the creation of Humberside, the coming of the Humber Bridge, and thoughts that Barton might end up effectively as a suburb of Hull. It was also the time of the closure of St. Peter's, the transfer of its organ to St. Mary's, the argument for the closure of St. Chad's, the prospect of resources of the Church of England being squeezed, the failure of the national Anglican-Methodist merger scheme, and uncertain local ecumenical contacts. This era also reflects still the assumptions that generations of local people move through the church as part of their formation, rather than simply there being formal links with local schools. The Sunday School was still large and the choir was a busy central activity for young and older.

Times have changed, but the archives tell a story of transition.

No comments: