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Welcome to the West Wycombe Village Project Blog written by a National Trust volunteer and supported by the National Trust. If it's your first visit, find out more about the project in our about section.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The Contractor

Building business

These building works are far from all business. I was impressed by how personal the building business gets. The builders, along with the National Trust, need to be plugged into and work around people's lives - this ranges from their holiday schedules to their neighbourly disputes over noise pollution. In one instance they've managed work around a terminally-ill tenant to minimise disruptions to their home life.

Last week I went up to see the roof tops again. Thankfully I don't mind heights so scaffold tours are a pleasure and perk of this job. I saw a busy hive of activity with three cottages just recently completed, two just started and the tin-hat temporary roof over Crown Court partially removed to reveal freshly laid tiles.

Crown Court roof top
The building contractors have had a very busy past couple of months completing all the buildings assigned for the first year of the project. Sitting in on one of their meetings I heard that all the year one buildings are almost complete and that work and preparation is on track for the year two properties.

FWA scaffold bridge over Crown Court
What I saw on site last week looked rather clever - a scaffold bridge set up between two properties to connect them at the 2nd storey level.  The contractors FWA who handle royal projects including Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle seem accustomed to working around, not against asymmetric and ancient properties. But FWA also does modern. One of their projects the Lookout in Hyde Park touches on the A-list with Sting and Trudie Styler as trustees of the education centre based within this property.  

Aside, FWA's Chris Sambridge a self-confessed gadget-guy is also working on a time delay camera which will show the start-to-finish of the new roof construction over Crown Court (a bit like a live web-cam in effect, but recorded instead of live). 

Oral History

A vocal group of 22 new volunteers gathered to hear about the National Trust's latest project in West Wycombe - the creation of a digital archive. The mixed group of new and old National Trust members and volunteers came for lunch and to meet the National Trust Curator Oonagh Kennedy. Oonagh specialises in oral history which is the recording of people's memories. As I understand it, this project is a huge opportunity to open up and make accessible the history of West Wycombe Village which would otherwise remain behind closed doors or dusty in old boxes to be forgotten.

According to the Oral History Society, oral history is a living history of everyone's unique life experiences, and an opportunity for those people who have been 'hidden from history' to have their voice heard, a rare chance to talk about and record history face-to-face, a source of new insights and perspectives that may challenge our view of the past.

If you're interested in the village life of West Wycombe over several centuries I can't imagine a more interesting job.

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