At the time of going to press, we were all eagerly anticipating the finale of the BFoE Heritage Lottery Funded Project – the presentation of which is to coincide with Heritage Open Days 2018 and Birmingham Open Weekend on the 15th and 16th of September. As well as the Heritage presentation it is being arranged that members of the public be given tours of the newly redeveloped Warehouse.
Since the 40th anniversary celebrations in 2017, volunteer researchers have worked steadily on the allocated topics of Projects, Campaigns, Education, Publications and the Warehouse itself. Diligently reading through newsletters deposited in the archive of the Library of Birmingham, writing up their discoveries and preparing material for the display.
The planned centre-piece is the first opportunity to see a film of interviews with previous volunteers discussing the activities of BFoE in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
Viewers of the film will learn fascinating details about how BFoE came to be at the Warehouse and the work involved in making a semi derelict building usable. They will discover how BFoE pioneers cooperated to produce a unique working environment. How they demonstrated that working to together on practical projects like paper recycling and the installation of loft insulation could set an example of a greener way forward for others to follow.
From the film we also discover details of some fascinating campaigns – taking an
giant inflatable whale by train to London for a demonstration against whaling for example! Commercial whaling was abolished but campaigns of those years to reduce air pollution from cars and promote cycle ways remain work in progress today. Then, BFoE raised concerns about dangers to health from lead in petrol. Now we raise awareness of the danger from diesel particulates.
As well as the film we have planned discussions, the display of archive material, the results of archive research and much more, not to mention a great souvenir Booklet to commemorate 40 Years of BFoE at the Warehouse.
The Booklet shows that in so many ways the volunteers at the Warehouse in earlier years were ahead of their time and achieved a great deal for the environment locally and nationally. We will need all of that quality and enthusiasm to face today’s challenges from greater environmental degradation to climate change.