Phase 8: Exhibition Up!


Well done team!

So, we got there – all the research was collected, written up, designed into exhibition boards and a booklet. Interviews recorded, a mini video made and all photos onto a DVD. So, The Bryant & May Building Story has been unleashed onto the local community. Yesterday was an afternoon to share these achievements and a small free event for the public to engage in the material produced. There was some great feedback and vey valuable conversations with those that came to find out more about the building on their road as well as those that already knew a little and wanted to share their memories. We are now ready to tour the exhibition to Bow School and for it to take part in local community training – exactly what we had hoped for!

Stay tuned for more updates in the new year.

And pls feel free to contact us if you would like this exhibition to be a part of your community event:

Big thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund for their support with the project. The project has resulted in many local people taking an interest in their local heritage as well as visiting museums and archive offices for the first time. It brought the local community together and we’ve been able to provide a range of training to volunteers that they can use on other projects or to advance their career and built an effective delivery team that are already asking when the next project will start. 

Phase 7: Re-record not fade away


Weren’t the Scotch VHS tapes adverts just great? Well, now that we’ve moved onto digital, same rules still apply when recording anything. Check you have enough batteries, check it’s not too noisy, check you have a plan. All of these applied to us when we recorded our oral histories but we forgot about the dreaded mobile phone interference! One interview had a horrible screeching sound about half way through (when mobile was moved accidentally closer to recorder)…

Anyway, it’s a definite mistake to learn from and luckily we had a great sound engineer who was able to mask some of the screeching and we can still make out some of the interview. And thank goodness for that, as we had some great  memories come through, such a sense of precious history talking to the great and kind women Ann Simmons and Carol Kensit – who worked at The Bryant & May Factory in Bow and shared their experiences with us.

And the main community event is on th 17th December – pls do come. All free and all welcome.

Here’s a little piece on our project in the East London Advertiser.

Phase 6: Booklets sorted

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 19.40.54

They are officially on their way to us! Well done everyone involved, it’s always the trickiest part in some ways, as so much checking has to be done. I guess having something real, printed, tangible, is quite rare these days. Above is a snapshot of one of the pages….and hurrah, we used the Bryant & May matchboxes.

This session, we got to listen to the audio monologue of Lizzie – a fictitious character that tells us her feelings the day before the 1888 Match Women Strike.  It was great to think back to the first session when we were free writing our own thoughts on this – many of the comments and writing we discussed have been included in the final piece. This along with some other audio recordings will be included in the DVD….such as an oral history interview with a former Bryant & May employee, Carol Kensit. She was kind enough to speak to us about her experience in the 60’s working at the Clubhouse – a subsidised place on site for workers to relax and that hosted a fair few jazz stars in it’s time too! We’ll be speaking to Anne Simons later this week who worked on the factory floor.

Come to our free community event on Friday 13th December and Tues 17th December  so you can hear them in full and meet the team.

Phase 5: Making it Happen


We are in logistics mode.

Today was very much about the nuts and bolts. How will the event run, which things do we need to stick to other things, name badges? Yes, the real detail. But of course, all very important so that we get a smooth and enjoyable event at the end of it. It’s been interesting working on a project that has so many volunteers, all available at different times! From a coordinator’s point of view it may not initially seem ideal but in fact, it’s a nice surprise to have very different inputs every time. Also, there are many that can attend one or two sessions and then happy to do some tasks from home. We’re a team that flows in different ways!

Also, marketing. Last week we brainstormed who would like to access the material we produce. This week it’s about dropping flyers to them on the exhibition event, emailing re the learners pack….we even had the local press interested by what we’re doing so who knows, maybe we’ll get a story in the paper