After an invitation from Helen Cook, Programme Secretary, of Amblecote History Society, whom I first had the pleasure of meeting at the Dudley Archives and Local History Service a few months back, where I gave a presentation to local history societies about MACE’s new HLF funded Full Circle Project. Helen got in touch and asked me to come and visit the society and spread the Full Circle gospel.
[Amblecote lies immediately north of the historic town of Stourbridge. From the 17th century, there have been glassworks in Amblecote, including Thomas Webb and Dennis Hall, and together with the adjoining village of Wordsley, formed the main centre of the Stourbridge glass industry, now known as “The Glass Quarter”. The glass tradition was brought by Hugenot immigrants to the area. Glass is still produced to this day in albeit much reduced numbers following the deindustrialisation of the area in the 1980s and 1990s which saw the closure of many of the larger companies.] extract from wikipedia.
Amblecote History Society http://www.amblecotehistorysociety.org.uk holds its meetings at the Amblecote Holy Trinity Church & Hall and has around 90 members. They also put on well attended talks and events throughout the year and also arrange coach trips and days out.
Helen was excited by the idea of getting the rest of their group members involved and wanted to share her enthusiasm for doing their very own film search in and around the Amblecote area. They have recently appealed for film in their local Stourbridge Newspaper and have had some interesting results!
I gave a short presentation to members of the history society and members of the public, which included a short screening of local ATV footage that is held at MACE Archive. The film showed clips of recognisable local industry, and life in the Black Country as it was some 40 years or so ago.
Chairman Pat Martin, who you will know as last years Mayor of Dudley, implored audience members to “Get it all out!”, asking them to make the effort to get their collections out of their lofts before it was too late. In order for us to be able to preserve these important pieces of social history, before they are lost forever.
After watching the archive films, Pat stated “It seemed like a totally different world, but we were all around.” The screening provoked nostalgia and many fond memories amongst audience members who had either worked at the places featured or who remembered local celebrities such as Jumping Joe (Josie) Derby and the Queens visit. Health and Safety regulations have definitely changed somewhat over the past 40 years thats for sure!
Amblecote History Society are appealing for members of the public who may live in their local area or who may have used to live in the area, who have footage or films, home-movies, that they have made of local events – to come forward and preserve these gems so that they can be watched again, enjoyed and celebrated by the local and wider midlands communities.
There was a wonderful moment when a gentleman came up to me at the end of the screening and explained that he had infact visited MACE’s website www.macearchive.org before and was astonished when he came across a Stourbridge clip that he didnt even know existed, that showed his late father. He went on to explain that when he met his wife, she never got the chance to meet his father – as he had sadly passed away – however, he was able to show her this clip and this rare piece of film that had managed to capture an image of his father that will forever be preserved in history.
It is occasions like this that make working in a film archive so worthwhile. To think that the material that comes into MACE may hold fascinating insights into the social pasttimes of many people from all over the midlands, and many treasured memories too, is a fantastic motivation to keep looking for more.
If you have any film that features Amblecote or the surrounding area, or film that relates to the Midlands in general, please contact: Helen Cook – Programme Secretary for Amblecote History Society on 01384 395034 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org