Project proposes to create video archive of county during wartime

This story was published 24 July 2019

A project to create a video archive of the stories of North Yorkshire residents during the Second World War has been unveiled by the chair of North Yorkshire County Council.

A photograph from our archive showing a service to commemorate Victory in Europe Day in 1945 in Scarborough

Cllr Jim Clark announced the plan, which will be a commemoration of next year’s 75th anniversary of the end of the war, at today’s (24 July) full council meeting.

Friday, 8 May, 2020 will be the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day with August 15 the anniversary of Victory in Japan, which marked the end of the war. 2020 also marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on April 15, 1945.  

Cllr Clark said: “Given the time that has passed since those momentous days, the number of people who are able to remember those events is dwindling.

“This project proposes to record the sacrifices and feelings of those who lived through the days that marked the end of the Second World War by videoing their reminiscences. This will create a digital archive, which can be used by future generations and which will reflect the history of North Yorkshire and its inhabitants through the most turbulent period of modern history.”

There are 19,000 people aged over 85 living in North Yorkshire and less than 2,000 over 90. 

The County Council will seek external funding for the project and will work with an arts development organisation to deliver it. School children will be involved in recording the memories of residents that lived through the war.

Cllr Clark added: “Bringing together young and old to create this archive will help the generations to understand each other and make connections, which will promote community cohesion.”

The project will also involve the creation of a one-act play that will reflect on the effects of the Second World War on contemporary life. Both the archive and the play will be developed into a learning and activity package for use in schools.

The project will link in with a commemorative concert in Harrogate and a service in Ripon Cathedral. It will be guided by a steering group made up of representatives of the council, schools and other partners. Recording for the archive is expected to begin at the start of next year.