A crowd of 70 plus people turned up to view an array of photographs from the Mill Street Housing Society’s Archive in St George’s Hall, Fordington. Included were glass slides, perhaps used in a magic lantern or such like, that had been discovered in a barn by a committee member of the Mill Street project.
As if by a miracle, they proved to be undamaged. Having been enhanced, they were transferred to a memory stick and author David Forrester was able to keep them running as a slide show all afternoon. This proved to be a great success; areas long forgotten by many were there on the screen as large as life. Shouts of ‘That’s my granny’ or ‘There’s my uncle, outside our old house’ were to be heard. What excitement!
Also on display were two bound volumes of Musings by the Mill Stream. These contained all the quarterly News Sheets sold from 1927 at the grand price of 1d first produced by A. Edwards. They contained an incredible amount of information about what was happening in Mill Street, day by day.
At one very moving moment, a gentleman opened the book and there looking at him was a photo of his father (a Mill Street resident) who was killed in the war. At the time he was only three and a half years old and of course does not remember his father. So here, in one incredible moment, was a photo and details of his father’s service record. This was news to him, and also an exciting moment for those of us present at that time. It was so wonderful to share that with him.
Halfway through the afternoon, Rupert Edwards, great grandson of Alfred Edwards, founder of the Mill Street Mission, explained to those present the purpose of the project. This being to record the memories of those who lived in Mill Street or had relatives who lived there. He explained the importance of doing this now, before the memories are lost forever.
It is intended that these memories will be recorded and saved in the History Centre in Dorchester as an important piece of social history. The information will also be transcribed and used as the basis for David Forrester’s next book, Mill Street, Thomas Hardy’s Mixen Lane, which will be published by Roving Press before the end of 2015, as a follow-up to his highly successful book Fordington Remembered: Growing Up in and Around Dorchester.
If you are interested in helping with this project and recording your memories, you can join in a relaxed but recorded chat with others; of course, it is the information we are after, your name will only be used if you give that permission. Please ring 01305 261622.
Fordington Remembered is available from Roving Press, priced £6.99.