Behind the scenes, National Trust Curator Oonagh Kennedy has been busy organising volunteers and their research work.
I asked Oonagh to give a flavour of what to expect next Thursday when tenants and all of the interested general public are warmly invited to West Wycombe Village's Heritage Day. Expect something akin to tenant open days but to also see volunteer presentations about the history of the village...
As curator of the West Wycombe Village project how did you recruit the research teams?
Oonagh Kennedy: I used the NT volunteering site to advertise that I was looking for volunteers to help research, and luckily had a very good response from people with an interest in finding out about the village.
What exactly are the researchers following, and how did these themes come about?
We have a research group who have been visiting local archives and archives in London with information on the village from when the railway came in the mid-19th century to the first refurbishment of the village in the early 1930s by the Royal Society of Arts.
I offered the group themes that they could explore and they each took a theme to research and write up. I also wanted an oral history done for the village and asked which of the volunteers would be interested in that – if people liked to chat, they enthusiastically opted for that.
Finally I thought that we could think about sharing the information online in some way and our Digital Media team have taken on the challenge of doing that and have made great strides
The research side of the West Wycombe Village project is expected to complete in one year, what are the main challenges for you and the researchers? What are the strengths?
Strengths are easy to identify; a really keen bunch of talented researchers who are curious about the world around them and have endless energy to find out about West Wycombe Village.
The main challenge will be to make sure that we can leave a legacy to tell people about the village and connecting them with the life of the village and its fascinating past.