In March 2018 we invited Nick Tyson from the Brighton and Hove MyHouse/MyStreet Project to give a talk at a Norwood Society meeting. We asked local residents from the Norwood area to volunteer if they wished to research the history of their house or street.
In April 2018 our first meeting for volunteers took place in Upper Norwood Library. This was to outline the main aims of the project and to disseminate guidelines on how to write a street history and interview residents about personal memories. We talked through the format and headings for writing a street history. Initially we asked volunteers to transcribe census records onto excel spreadsheet templates from original census material that could be found on www.ancestry.co.uk or www.findmypast.org.uk.
This would enable us to analyse data to explore the history of individual occupants and their lives and work. Completed copies would be sent to the Project Coordinators. The Project Coordinators sent original copies of census and street directory data to volunteers.
We agreed to present our research at meetings of the Norwood Society through Power Point with talks on Rockmount Road, Vermont Road, South Vale and Harold Road in June, 2019 and Woodland Road, Woodland Hill, George Street and Chestnut Road (West Norwood) in September, 2019.
Further research has been undertaken on Cintra Park, Berridge Road, Barnfield Road, and High View Road.
Sharing Good Practice
The main focus of our monthly meetings has been to share expertise and knowledge gained from the research. The Project Coordinator took the opportunity to discuss how to research different aspects of the Street History. This included where to locate archive material, how to use conservation reports and maps, identify key architectural features and date property, search newspapers and the lives of residents.
Visits to Local Archives
Two visits were made to the Minet Library to explore Lambeth Archives. A session in the Croydon Archives was also arranged for volunteers. A session was held in Upper Norwood Library to examine books on the Norwood area and other materials stored in a filing cabinet.
After the talk in March 2018 we advertised the Project at a stall in Crystal Palace Market in June 2019. A West Norwood resident ran a stall at the West Norwood Feast in August 2019. We have also distributed leaflets advertising talks to residents of the roads presented which has produced positive audience figures.
It was agreed in July 2019 by the Norwood Society Committee that we would fund the creation of a project website called www.norwoodstreethistories.org.uk and employ a web designer to set this up. The Project Coordinators would edit material displayed on the website. The website would be used to publish census and street directory spreadsheets by year and street histories completed.