Kent village wins 'Community Archive of the Year'

Community Archives and Heritage Group gives first national awards to sixcommunity archives 

A Heritage Centre in the village of Marden, Kent, has been named Community Archive of the Year.

The Community Archives and Heritage Group  gave its first national awards to six community archives. Marden History Group was named overall winner and Community Archive of the Year.


Winner of ‘Most Interesting’ Community Archive and overall winner of Community Archive of the Year

Marden History Group

The Marden History Group, run entirely by volunteers, worked with Kent County Council Libraries and Archives to open the Marden Heritage Centre in 2008 within the village’s public library building. The Group designed and equipped the space, which now opens for four half days each week, staffed by volunteers. A family software company – On-click – based in Marden, provided the website which has facilitated cataloguing of and access to the village’s historical records.

mardenbarrattThe Group had been gathering artefacts and historical records about the village for a number of years. A keymarden.jpg piece of work undertaken was research into a hoard of bronze weapons, tools, ornaments and metal working debris buried in an urn in what is now the parish of Marden nearly 3000 years ago. The Marden hoard is one of the earliest Bronze Age ones found in Kent.marden history group

‘The Marden story was inspirational’ said Laura Cotton, Chair of the Community Archives and Heritage Group and of the competition judges. ‘The enthusiasm and dedication of the Marden volunteers leapt from the submission; their achievement in opening and running a heritage centre was substantial’. 

Photograph (top left) shows Dr Nick Barratt (left) presenting Marden History Group members David McFarland and Eurice Doswell with their award in Marden on 28 June. 






Winner of the ‘Most Innovative’ Community Archive

Oughterard Culture and Heritage Centre

The Oughterard Heritage website merges images from the past and the present to illustrate the changes in the local urban landscape of this small town in County Galway.  The judges considered the technique ‘inspirational’ and ‘welcoming’.Oughterard  







Winner of the ‘Most Inspirational’ Community Archive 

Pride in our Past

prideinourpastoneThe ‘Pride in our Past’ project uncovered and celebrated the little-discussed lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) history of the City of Plymouth. The judges praised the way the project had ‘gathered the voices of and given a voice to often-ignored communities’. 

‘Pride in our Past’ was made possible by an award from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) of £35,000 which enabled the Plymouth Pride Forum to work in collaboration with the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office, and create an archive to access, frame and interpret this often unconsidered aspect of Plymouth's history. Much of the specific history of the LGBT community was stored only in the memories of its older members and was therefore likely to be lost if not captured.

A number of volunteers worked as oral historians and community archivists. They interviewed members of the LGBT community about their experiences of living in Plymouth and collected photographs and other documents and memorabilia.




Winner of the ‘Most Impactful’ Community Archive

Planned Environment Therapy Trust Archive and Study Centre

The Planned Environment Therapy Trust undertook an oral history of residential therapeutic child care from 1930 to 1980, recognising that for many children and young people the loss, invisibility and inaccessibility of records about them translates into aPETT corresponding lack of personal foundation and certainty.  The judges praised this ‘very real project’ for the significant outcomes it had achieved.






Winner of the ‘Best Online’ Community Archive

Oxhey Library

Our OxheyThe Oxhey website is organised by volunteers and aims to provide a sustainable forum for people to share and enjoy memories and photographs of Oxhey. With no museum and little written history, the website has provided a forum to share and celebrate and to preserve local history for future generations.  The judges considered the website ‘shouted enthusiasm’ and urged all with an interest in presenting local history to ‘take a look’.






Winner of the ‘Best New Archive’

Chorley Heritage Centre

With the ultimate aim of opening a heritage centre in the heart of Chorley, the Chorley Heritage Centre Support Group are running a ’virtual heritage centre’ to involve the community in ‘cheating the skip’ of local artefacts and ephemera, whilst publicising collections on the website.  The judges said: ‘Volunteers had gone far and wide to talk to those who had stories to tell and those who could advise and give good advice. Progress had been excellent'. Chorley








There were 63 submissions to the Community Archives and Heritage Group awards for 2011. The judges praised the high quality of the submissions.

The Community Archives and Heritage Group (CAHG) celebrates the contribution of community archives and shares good practice. The Group is supported by the Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland).