Book tells the stories of Worcester’s past through photos and memories

The Worcester Life Stories – In The Words Of Local People book

A new book containing photos of old Worcester tells the stories of the city's past through the memories of those who lived and worked in the area.

Worcester Life Stories – In The Words Of Local People has been compiled by Worcester City Council's Historic Environment Record Officer Sheena Payne-Lunn and is out just in time for Christmas.

The 70-page hardbound book is filled with around 180 historic images, alongside local memories, and is on sale at £19.99.

The book has resulted from the Worcester Life Stories project which began in 2020 as a collaboration between Worcester City Council and Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care Trust, with funding from The National Lottery. Just before the project was due to launch, the pandemic hit and changes had to be made, with Sheena and her team using photos from the City Council photo archive to compile online quizzes on old Worcester – and these became a huge hit.

Later, 1,000 beermats advertising the Worcester Life Stories project were distributed to local pubs and clubs, and an exhibition of the archive material was held at Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum.

Worcester Life Stories captured the imaginations of thousands of Worcester residents young and old. Some of the memories in the book were recorded by children from local schools who developed their interview skills by talking to older residents in sheltered housing around the city, sharing stories over a cuppa and cake.

Most of the photographs in the book form part of Worcester City Council's Historic Environment Record and have been taken by council officers in the course of their work over the years, but some have been shared by members of the public.

Sheena Payne-Lunn, Worcester City Council's Historic Environment Record Officer, who co-led the project, said: "The quizzes became a focal point of peoples' interaction – people bonded over shared stories and memories, there was so much interest. We want those stories to be remembered and enjoyed for many years to come and hopefully this book will help enable that to happen. There are so many familiar local scenes and also lots that have changed beyond recognition, but all of them a part of our shared history. This book provides a small window into that history and through local people's words, brings Worcester's past to life."

The Mayor of Worcester, Councillor Adrian Gregson, said: "The Worcester Life Stories project has proved immensely popular with people of all ages and, as a local historian myself, I am looking forward to reading the book. I'm sure it will be of great interest to residents old and new."

Worcester Life Stories – In The Words Of Local People is available to buy at the Worcester Tourist Information Centre at the Guildhall, the Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum, and the Tudor House Museum.

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