A small group dedicated to preserving the record of achievement of BFoE over time adjourned to the Warehouse cafe one Tuesday in January to celebrate the completion of the Heritage project – Birmingham Friends of the Earth, Then and Now, 40 Years at the Warehouse.
This will come as a surprise to most folk who will have thought that the original Heritage Lottery funded (HLF) project ended with a presentation to the public in 2018! Two years of preparation for that presentation involved interviews with campaigners from the 1970’s and 80’s, extensive research in the Wolfson Archive of the Library of Birmingham (where there is a near complete deposit of Newsletters from those early years plus photographs and minutes of meetings), the production of a video record, five pamphlets recording various aspects of the history revealed by the newsletters and an excellent booklet and series of framed posters outlining the highlights of our time at the Warehouse (which can still be seen in the large meeting room). A wealth of material was digitised and duplicated for safe storage.
On the face of it one thing remained to be done. As part of the original bid to the HLF we undertook to deposit additional material generated in the course of the project in the Library of Birmingham. Responses to our appeal for fresh material in the Newsletter included a real gem in the form of an original “Save the Whale’ poster which was reproduced prominently in the booklet, video and display. That deposit was made a month after the public display, though I must confess that we kept the ‘Save the Whale’ poster at the Warehouse!
The HLF brief may have been completed, but clearing out ahead of the renovation work at the Warehouse unearthed a great deal more material had not been covered by the original project, some of which related to later years – the 1990s and early 2000s. Since then the group that did the original research has continued to meet and duly sorted, filed, listed and added to the digital record. So, in addition to the record in the Library of Birmingham future researchers can access information on the unique history of BFoE at the Warehouse. We hope to present this information later this year.
It was the completion of this work that was celebrated modestly that Tuesday in January. But really, on reflection, as history rolls on there is always more to record as current campaigners for example generate a wealth of new achievements.
Our special thanks to Dave, Bernard, Lesley and Carol for their dedication and determination to reach a proper conclusion to the research and pursue all leads to tie up as many loose ends in the record as possible.