The Wychwoods Local History Society – The First 40 Years 1981-2021

The Initial Vision | 1981: The First Meetings of the Society | 1984/5: Meeting Patterns Established – First Publications | The 1990s: Highlights of the Decade | The New Millennium| Looking Ahead – Members’ Survey | Towards Digitalisation | Embracing Technology – Photograph Archive Scanning | 2016/18: Website Re-launched | The 2020s: Moving Forward

Towards Digitalisation

The Wychwood Magazine had just completed putting its archive of more than thirty years onto a more up to date website with search possibilities. We received a message from Richard Bidgood, formerly a Committee member of the WLHS but who had moved to Kent, telling us about the exciting efforts made by his new society and encouraging us to follow their example. Clearly we were falling behind.

Alan Vickers wrote an article at the time in the Wychwood Magazine which would paint a picture of the benefits which could accrue to the Wychwood Community if the WLHS could at least match the achievement of the Magazine

“What luxury for anybody anywhere in the world to be able to follow life in the Wychwoods over the last thirty years and even to search by name or topic and at no cost. How many small communities enjoy such an asset? However how mindboggling would it be to:

  • Read about life in the Wychwoods over the last two thousand years
  • See all the copy from the twenty eight annual Journals of the History Society and be able to search these instantly for an ancestor, an event, a building or a topic
  • View any significant photograph or drawing depicting Wychwood life over the last two hundred years (more than three thousand)
  • Listen to the recorded memories of former inhabitants speaking about life in the 20th Century
  • View the wills of people living in the Wychwoods in the 16th and 17th centuries

All this information is readily available to the Wychwoods Local History Society. The technology and the equipment is also available as are the funds to add more resources. So what is the problem?

The problem is we need at least ten people with time and computer skills to turn these resources into a digital reality. We have a small digital scanning team which has processed around 300 images but that is only ten per cent of the images we have.

We could set up a Buildings Group to look at the many historical buildings in our villages. We have a new digital recorder for recording local memories and could easily add a recorder for each of the Wychwood villages. We have a rather staid and unexciting website (I know that it is the case because I produced it some years ago) but we need to load all these materials onto a revitalised site….

…. If this does not happen then there is a real risk that the excellent Wychwoods Local History Society, which has done such wonderful work for the community over the last thirty years, will be history itself – how frustrating just at the moment when a real historical dream could become a reality for all time and all over the world!”

This became the template for the Society’s development over the next decade. Much of this has now been achieved although there is clearly some way to go.