Michael Blakstad for Meon Matters January 2014
‘A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips’. They used to say that about cream. The same could be said of the photographs and documents so generously contributed by villagers on the Open Day in September, and by visitors with East Meon connections. Members of the Group scanned the material and indexed it that afternoon …. now it is being archived, which is taking a lot longer.
When you think of archives, you probably think of shelves with files and boxes of paper. Well, we have 20 boxes of paperwork, stored in my study and catalogued in what I optimistically call the Library. But that is a small proportion of what we have collected, and the good news is that you don’t have to knock on any doors to get to the vast majority of our records. This archive is digital, and available online. Take a look at www.eastmeonhistory.org.uk. You will see how far we have got. Still very much work in progress, but then, it will never be complete!
The aim is to make available to anyone, anywhere, the records of East Meon. The challenge is to make it easy to find what you are looking for. The grant made by the Heritage Lottery Fund enabled us to commission an agency to develop the digital archive for us. CommunitySites specialises in this kind of work – it works with a number of villages who have made their archives available online. I hope I am not exaggerating when I say that the East Meon archive has stretched them even further than previous sites. I hope you will agree that it’s visually attractive, with pictures heading every section and page. We are blessed (thanks to your contributions) with some wonderful old photographs. At the bottom of some pages is an invitation to download documents – mostly PDFs of articles and reports which have been scanned. Each item is catalogued, and you can see where the full document or larger images can be inspected, either online, in a Dropbox folder, or in the Library. You can search by key words, by dates, or by trawling the site.
Bear in mind that this is work-in-progress. Do, please, let me know of any errors, or of information you can supply which isn’t there – lots of the content is either unidentified or skimpy. If you have any similar material which you’d be happy for us to enter into the archive, do let me know … I can scan your photographs or papers on the spot, without them having to leave your sight.
Huge thanks to those who did bring material. Hopefully, researchers in years to come will find this a useful resource, and villagers will take pride in East Meon’s fantastic history.