Appeal for Bishop Auckland memories

The Clock Tower at Auckland Castle gate, also known as Robinson Arch. Copyright - Historic England Archive AA98_05187
The Clock Tower at Auckland Castle gate, also known as Robinson Arch. Copyright - Historic England Archive AA98_05187

What are your memories of Bishop Auckland?

An appeal is being made for people to share their recollections of the town, its people, places and events as part of a project to celebrate its history and heritage.

People are also being asked to dig out any old film and video footage they may have of the area so that it can be added to the region’s film archive and preserved for future generations.

A drop-in event will take place on Saturday, 13th July from 11am to 12.30pm, offering people the chance to record their memories and donate any amateur films and videos.

The session, organised by Bishop Auckland Heritage Action Zone, Bishop FM, Bishop Auckland Civic Society and the North East Film Archive, will take place in the Jefferson Room at Bishop Auckland Town Hall.

The Heritage Action Zone works in partnership with Durham County Council and the Brighter Bishop Auckland Regeneration Partnership.

The recorded memories will feature in an hour-long radio programme to be broadcast on Bishop FM in September.

Film footage will be evaluated by the North East Film Archive’s specialist team with a view to it being looked after and preserved in the archive’s environmentally controlled vaults.

As part of its Search and Rescue campaign, the archive is currently asking people around the region – from the Borders to Teesside – to submit their forgotten film and videotape collections so that they can be looked after carefully for future generations.

The Search and Rescue campaign is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and is part of the archive’s North East on Film project.

The archive is particularly interested in amateur collections that may have been hidden away or forgotten about in lofts, garages and workplaces and which document the social history of the north east.

This might include family films of celebrations or holidays, cine club collections, street scenes, workplace and educational films, advertising collections, professional films or artist’s films and video.

Cllr Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “This project is all about preserving the town’s history – from momentous events to everyday life.

“It’s about the local businesses, popular places and local people who contributed to the life and history of the town.

“It’s a really great opportunity for everyone who has a link to Bishop Auckland to contribute towards a lasting record of the town’s heritage.”

Jules Brown, historic places adviser for Historic England, said: “Bishop Auckland has a rich and varied history that has helped to shape the town it is today. We hope this project will uncover some hidden gems that will shed light on Bishop Auckland and the people that lived and worked there over the past century.”

Gary Burgham, programme director at Bishop FM, said: “We are pleased to be supporting the Heritage Action Zone by helping with the development of the hour-long programme, which will include music, interviews and some of the recordings we make at the drop-in events.”

Julie Ballands, from the North East Film Archive, said: “As part of our Search and Rescue campaign, we have already received some amazing footage of the north east, including home movies of a bonfire night celebration in the 1940s as well as adverts from the 1960s for the Vaux brewery.

“We know there must be lots of film depicting the Bishop Auckland area so we are really keen to hear from people who may be able to contribute.”

A partnership between Historic England and Durham County Council, Bishop Auckland Heritage Action Zone is a five-year project to revitalise the historic market town and regenerate it as a vibrant place for local people, businesses and visitors.

Anyone who would like more information on the project can contact Annalisa Ward on 03000 262 052 or email bishopaucklandhaz at durham dot gov dot uk.

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