County archive of World War II events

A PROJECT archiving World War II events in West Sussex is to be launched by the County Library Service, thanks to a grant of almost £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

It will be the sixth digital project run in West Sussex financed by the Fund.

The aim is to create an online learning resource about the history of the war in West Sussex. New web pages will contain a timeline of events, and recorded interviews with people who lived through the war. It will also contain digitised versions of newspapers from the time, reporting key events.

At least 20 more volunteers have been recruited to work on the project, which will involve working with archivists at the County Record Office. Volunteers and project staff will be trained to produce oral history interviews, while others will be shown how to research old newspapers. Schools will also be invited to join the project.

“This will be yet another invaluable online resource for everybody in West Sussex, and particularly interesting for young people,” said Deborah Urquhart, County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for libraries and heritage.

More than £300,000 has now been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to West Sussex Library Service historical projects since 2002.

Stuart McLeod, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South East England, said: “This project will create what is essentially a people’s archive of wartime experiences, bringing together personal memories, documents and images. Also, the use of contemporary newspaper reports will give an immediacy to the heritage that is being collected and made widely available.”

The Project will be completed in May next year. Some previous Projects can be viewed via the West Sussex past portal page: www.westsussexpast.org.uk/.