Council’s library service wins £86k grant

The St Helens Local History and Archives contains many fascinating images from years gone by, including this one of VE Day celebrations at Windle Sunday School in 1945
The St Helens Local History and Archives contains many fascinating images from years gone by, including this one of VE Day celebrations at Windle Sunday School in 1945

St Helens Council Library Service has been awarded £86,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting new project to preserve local memories.

The ‘St Helens Living Archive’, made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, will focus on the creation of an online virtual archive where members of the community will be encouraged to upload photographs,

videos and stories of their own lives and memories of the town, alongside newly previously unseen images from St Helens Local History and Archives.

In 1868, Queen Victoria granted a Charter of Incorporation, defining St Helens officially as a Municipal Borough.

With 2018 marking the 150th anniversary of St Helens, this project will engage St Helens residents past and present in their own heritage.

Following on from the success of a previous HLF funded project, ‘St Helens Through The Lens’, this new project includes the digitisation and preservation of over 60 unique and historic oral history cassette recordings that will be made accessible to the public.

Community photo-scanning sessions, archives on tour exhibitions, family history and reminiscence workshops, primary school activity and volunteering opportunities will also form part of the project.

Councillor Sue Murphy, St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Libraries Services, said: “We are thrilled to have received support thanks to National Lottery players and are confident the project will support residents to be active citizens with pride in their heritage.

“Our library service has enjoyed a hugely successful 12 months or so, with its Arts in Libraries programme gaining national recognition as best arts project in the National Lottery Awards last year, and more recently when it secured £440,000 in funding after becoming a National Portfolio Organisation.”

The online archive will be launched next year, however preparatory work on the project has already begun. If you would like to learn how to research your own family history, join one of our free courses at Eccleston Library by emailing adultlearning@sthelens.gov.uk - or call 01744 677675.

To volunteer on the project and help preserve historic audio recordings, please get in touch with the project archivist by emailing victoriabrokenshire@sthelens.gov.uk