Culture Magazine

Making History Books

By Carolineld @carolineld
Obviously, I need no persuading on the value of local history; but I do love new ways of exploring it. One of the most creative is artist Amy Lord's The Takeaway Shop. In an hour-long session, participants make their own book before filling it with images and text about Deptford's history. 
Making history books
The mixture of craft and historical discovery is irresistible. Lord has put together a wonderful selection of materials, from maps to images of buildings to photographs of events. That allows everyone to choose their own approach and create a unique personal archive to take away. It's also an opportunity to chat to other local people and share knowledge of Deptford's past. 
Along with the cutting, gluing and creating, I loved exploring new documents. Among my favourites was an advertisement from a job applicant in 1840. I've explored similar approaches to job-hunting by other Deptfordians, but this appeal for the job of gravedigger was new to me. The applicant didn't emphasize relevant skills (as an unemployed sugar-mould potter he presumably had none) but rather his personal misfortune: he and his eight children were left dependant upon his wife. His unemployment, he was careful to explain, was because wrought-iron moulds had rendered him redundant. What a wonderful combination of industrial, social and local history: a perfect illustration of the value of The Takeaway Shop. 
Making history books
There's only one day of this event left, but if you want to book a last-minute place for Friday then click here. Transpontine has also visited.

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