On Saturday, we were fortunate to attend the first Open Day of the Friends of the Island History Trust. The new group succeeds the Island History Trust project which was responsible for collecting photographs, ephemera and relevant historical information about the Island.
The Island History Trust under the stewardship of Eve Hostettler was a charitable trust created in the 1980s to promote interest in the history of the Island and of the people and places within the Island. Some of the most popular events of the Island History Trust were the Open Days when visitors and Islanders came together to look at and discuss the many hundreds of photographs and documents.
The new Friends of the Island History Trust have decided to follow that tradition and a wide range of people visited the first Open Day at St John’s Community Centre.
Although a number of the original Trusts collections have been transferred to Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives, many have been transferred into digital form and been put onto the internet.
The new group are hoping to expand this area, using the new technologies to give access to the latest photographs and information to interested people both in the UK and from all over world.
Listening and talking to many of the people at the Open Day shows there is a growing interest in Local History and many older people especially understand the importance of remembering and recording the past for future generations.
An important focus for the new group will be getting new Islanders and young people involved and celebrating their part in the story of the Isle of Dogs.
The Friends of Island History Trust will play an important part in providing a central hub in which people who want information about the Island will have access to a number of knowledgeable local people. The group have a history room in St John’s that has a number of old photographs, books and other information, at present it is only open once a week manned by local volunteers. Other initiatives are a production of a calendar full of old photographs of the Island and a membership scheme where you can be a member of the Friends of Island History Trust and receive regular newsletters.
The group is also keen to have feedback from people about the direction the trust should take, so if you have any ideas or wish to contribute in any way, please contact them by email firstname.lastname@example.org
In many areas , local history is kept alive by the often unsung work of volunteers who come together for their love of their area. We are sure, the new Friends of Island History Trust will be a great success and an invaluable resource for the Island.