The project was first proposed one of the founding members of the Society, Stan Wilkins, in 2003. Stan left a generous bequest to the Society in his will to enable the production of a book.
The Society worked on a project in 2016, which focused on the impact of the Second World War on West Bromwich. Volunteers from the Society gathered research on the subject as well as collect personal reminiscences and photographic materials telling the story of the conflict through personal local perspectives.
There were four aspects to the project:
Research: collecting relevant historical data, photographic materials and personal reminiscences.
Web site: Producing an online presence for the society, which will feature the results of the project as well as broader historical materials about the town, as well as provide a longer term legacy. We worked with a professional web designer, Paul Lacey, to produce this.
Publication: the project produced a bespoke book, working with a professional designer, Rich Franks.
Community engagement: throughout this project there were opportunities to get involved through some open events, presentations and workshops – these shared individual experiences, perspectives and interpretations with the wider community, inviting valuable contributions to the research. An exhibition of original material was held at the Arts Café at Central Sixth in the centre of the town throughout October and December 2016, and the book was launched on November 23rd.
The project was funded thanks to a bequest from Stan Wilkins, and a grant from Heritage Lottery Fund. Thank you also to West Bromwich Civic Pride Association for their support.
Download this document of recollections of childhood in the war sent in to the Society by Gerald Gibbs, one of the many contributions to the project.
In 2016, the project held 10 public events in order to collect material for the book and to share the results of the work.