I love history. I love reading books and watching TV programmes about history. I love visiting museums, castles, stately homes, heritage parks, tenement museums. You name it, if a thing or place tells a story about the past – and particularly people who lived then – I’m in.
What is so exciting about history these days is that we’re interested not just in the lives of the ‘rich and famous’, but in those of ‘everyday folk’. Maybe that’s why we’re so drawn to TV programmes like Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey because, while we may fantasize about the aspirational, we acknowledge the ‘reality’.
And I love the fact that so many people these days are interested in their own family histories. Take last week, for example, when I received a parcel from my sister. On initial inspection, it looked like an ordinary shoebox…
… but inside was a veritable treasure trove of four generations of my own family’s history, written and created in their own hand.
My Mum’s 21st birthday cards from March 15th, 1937, including one from her then boyfriend who would become her husband, my Dad. A homemade birthday card her sister Anne – who has contributed her own wartime memories to this website – made for her.
Letters I wrote to my Mum describing our early years in Canada, postcards from a great-aunt on Mum’s side of the family, a dress and hat my grandmother (again on my Mum’s side) crocheted for one of my dollies. A Christmas card I made for my parents many – many – years ago.
It’s important we always remember that, like many things, history begins at home!
What family memories, or artifacts, do you treasure?