Remembering life on the home front during WWII

Remembering life on the home front during WWII

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Were you living in Ely, Littleport, Chatteris or Soham during the Second World War? Or do you know someone who did?

If so, the Street Life project would like to hear from you!

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Street Life’s Emma Sharp, left, and Hetti Wood, at Ely Market last week.

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Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Street Life’s latest local history venture is focusing on what life was like for families living in the area during the War – but unlike most wartime projects, it will be looking at life on the home front rather than on the battle front.

On Thursday Street Life members were at the Ely Market, spreading awareness about their latest pop-up heritage experience and looking for volunteers to take part.

Project manager Hetti Wood said: “It’s about the local businesses, the communities who were living here. It’s going away from the military side that people normally focus on. It’s going to be very interactive, we will have people in costumes and oral histories. This is about bringing history alive.”

Those behind Street Life 1939-1945 have been going into schools to talk to children about life during the war, as well as collecting artefacts, photographs and interviews with people who lived in Ely, Littleport, Chatteris or Soham during the War, or their relatives.

The project, given a £77,500 grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund, aims to enable local people to discover who lived and worked in their towns – possibly even their own houses – during the War from 1939-1945.

Hetti said: “We want people to come forward with their memories.

“There’s so much amazing heritage in the local area. People forget there’s a lot of history right on their doorstep. It’s important to capture it before it’s gone.”

Run by Soham based Viva Arts and Community Group, this is Street Life’s third community heritage project.

The first focused on evacuees in Ely while the second, Rich Soil Rich Heritage, looked at the people who helped shape East Cambridgeshire from the 17th Century to the present day.

Street Life 1939-1945 is looking for volunteers to get involved in oral history interviews, research their local heritage, attend meetings and help out at summer events.

Volunteers will be given training and will go on to find period photos of the buildings, use archives to find out more about the people who lived or worked there, conduct interviews with people who remember the times and talk to local people to help gather and record the information.

The interactive exhibition will tour across the area, including at the Chatteris Midsummer Fair, Ely Aqua Fest, Ely Markets and Soham Pumpkin Fair.

For more information see http://www.hlfstreetlife.org/