Reaching the halfway mark in this project is the perfect moment to pause and reflect.
When we launched Place, Work and Folk with our Heritage Lottery funding last September, we little realised quite how hectic it was going to get by springtime. Thank goodness we had by then recruited more than a dozen volunteers, who had carried out a dozen interviews and several reminiscence groups, before we found ourselves up to our necks in preparations for the Bridgend farmhouse opening day.
I like to think we contributed quite a lot to that, from an exhibition of vintage and recent photos of groups and interviewees we’d worked with, to architect Malcolm Fraser’s compelling talk on his Deere Street researches, to a well-attended Farmhouse Memories event - featuring Bridgend’s last farmers, the Darlings, the Binnie brothers who grew up around the farm in its previous generation, and Bridgend local Mai Smith.
The memories were compelling and the exchanges with the audience during Q & A were stimulating and sometimes cheeky! Watching Harry and Doris, along with Will, declare the farmhouse open that evening was a thrilling and very moving moment, with a tear in more than one eye… We shouldn’t underestimate just what it means to people that this place has been brought back to life in such a glorious way.
The history project participants feel the depth of this, the responsibility for portraying and paying tribute to the many interviewees who have shared generously with us - it’s nothing less than a privilege to do this work. There is much still to do, so please come and take part if you’re inclined… You will be welcomed with open arms.