Events aim to preserve Second World War memories

Cllr Jenny Lynn, Calderdale Council's Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities

Libraries in Calderdale are asking people to bring their stories and objects relating to the Second World War to upcoming Digital Collection Days, as part of a national programme to preserve items from this period of history.

Calderdale Council is taking part in the nationwide campaign organised by Their Finest Hour(external link), a team based at the University of Oxford and funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, which is collecting and preserving the everyday stories and objects of the Second World War.

Two Digital Collection Days are being held in Todmorden and Halifax where local World War Two related stories or artefacts will be captured so they can be made available for future generations. The Todmorden Library event will be held on Friday 24 November between 10am and 7pm and Halifax Central Library will host a session on Monday 4 December from 10.30am to 6pm.

People are invited to come along and share stories about wartime experiences and bring associated objects such as diaries, letters, medals, journals and ration books. In the interests of safety, people are asked not to bring any weapons, gas masks or potentially dangerous items.

These items will then be recorded, digitised, and uploaded to the Their Finest Hour online archive, which will be free-to-use and launch in June 2024.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, Cllr Jenny Lynn, said:

“As one of the biggest conflicts in history, the Second World War had a major impact on people across the country and the world.

“So many of us have war-related stories and objects that have been passed down to us from our parents, grandparents and other family members. It’s so important that we can capture local accounts from this significant period of history, so the memories are preserved for future generations.

“Sadly, many of these stories are fading from living memory, so I’d invite anyone with stories from this period of history to come along to our library events, so the incredible personal stories from this time can live on.”

Dr Stuart Lee, project leader, Their Finest Hour, said:

“We’re delighted to be able to create an archive of memories of the Second World War. We know from previous projects that people have so many wonderful objects, photos, and anecdotes which have been passed down from family members which are at risk of getting lost or being forgotten. Our aim is to empower local communities to digitally preserve these stories and objects before they are lost to posterity.”

The project team is especially interested in collecting contributions from people from underrepresented backgrounds in order to increase the diversity of people benefiting from Second World War heritage.  

To find out more about the events, or ask any questions, please contact Todmorden Library on 01706 815600 or Halifax Central Library on 01422 392631. For more information about the project, please visit link) you can also follow the project’s progress on Facebook(external link), X(external link), and Instagram(external link).

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