Milford Street Bridge Project overall winner of 2015 CAHG award

St Edmund's Community Association in Salisbury has been announced as winnerof the overall Community Archives and Heritage Group of the Year 2015,for its Milford Street Bridge Project. 

Other category winners included the Newlyn Archive, the Khizra Foundation, and the Ryde Social Heritage Group (see below). The overall award was presented to the St Edmund's Association at the annual conference of the Community Archives and Heritage Group (CAHG) on 15 July and will be re-presented to all members of the Association in a special ceremony in Salisbury on 21 July. 

Once bare, now alive

Milford Street Bridge in Salisbury was once a bare, grey, concrete structure over the A36 dual carriageway in the centre of Salisbury. No longer. In 2008, local artist Fred Fieber had the idea to paint a mural on the bridge. After extensive community involvement, led by St Edmund's Community Association, the bridge now has two murals remembering life 'before the bridge'. Both murals draws on now-extensive local archives, including oral histories.

In parallel, the Association has developed resource packs for local schools to help kids understand and celebrate their locality. And a Memory Walk has been born – a self-guiding tour of rarely-explored backstreets of Salisbury. Along the walk's length there are clips from oral histories to add piquancy, interest or humour. The Association has also developed a website, with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund, to ensure that the archives can be accessed by all, especially local schools.

CAHG - 2015 - MilfordStreet

Pictured, from left to right: Emily Cooper of the Milford Street Bridge Project, Sue Hampson of CAHG, and Clare Christopher, Coordinator of the Milford Street Bridge Project. Photo courtesy of Marie Owens.

The judges said:

"The participation of the community in this project was excellent and the outcomes were impressive. The community put a previously un-sung area of Salisbury on the map and (gave) everyone a real sense of a shared past. The work in schools was inspirational; the children had fun and learned a lot about their local history. (P)arents got involved when their children arrived home to talk about life before the bridge. This project will clearly go on."

Clare Christopher, coordinator of the Milford Street Bridge Project, said:

"We are absolutely delighted to receive this award. It is a reflection of the commitment and passion of our project team and volunteers, and shows how the lives of ordinary people can interest and inspire others."

Notes for Editors:

The Community Archives and Heritage Group Awards are presented by the Community Archives and Heritage Group, a nationally-focused special interest group of the Archives and Records Association of the UK and Ireland (ARA), the main professional body representing archivists, record keepers and conservators. For more on ARA, see www.archives.org.uk  There were 29 entries for the 2015 award (ie, for work in 2014) across all categories. 2015 is the fourth year of these awards.

In 2015, there are four award category winners:

i) Winner of the 'Most Innovative' community archive and heritage group and also awarded overall Community Archive and Heritage Group of the Year is the Milford Street Bridge Project, run by St Edmund's Community Association in Salisbury (see main article).  www.milfordstreetbridgeproject.org.uk 

ii) Winner of the 'Most Inspirational' community archive and heritage group is the Newlyn Archive (Cornwall). http://newlynarchive.org.uk 

The Newlyn Archive collects and shares written, pictorial and oral materials relating to the history of Newlyn. For its 2014 annual project, the archive team launched 'When Newlyners walked to Lamorna'. It involved interviewing people from both communities (some 4 miles apart); at its heart was the traditional Good Friday walk from Newlyn to Lamorna. Children from Newlyn Primary School learned about the strong artistic history of the area and a book - 'Newlyn at Play' - was written. The Archive has grown considerably, and many local residents have learned more about their history and felt a greater 'sense of belonging'.

iii) Winner of the 'Best New' community archive and heritage group is the Khizra Foundation. www.everydaymuslim.org 

The Khizra Foundation is a community group of Muslim parents and professionals which aims to support and empower Muslims in the UK by building awareness of their heritage and roots and channels of communication. Activities are entirely run by volunteers. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the foundation's "Our Lives Their History" project documents the presence and social contribution of Muslims through images, interviews and documents. The organisers have recorded hundreds of interviews and mounted two exhibitions, as well as training 15 volunteers to carry out interviews and handle archive material. The project's first symposium was held in early 2015.

iv) Winner of the 'Best website' for a community archive and heritage group is Ryde Social Heritage Group, Isle of Wight.  www.rshg.org.uk 

The Ryde Social Heritage Group was formed in 2002 and now has a membership of about 70. There are a number of teams with special interests, like transcribing, research and publications. The group launched its website in 2006 to promote its work and share information about Ryde. It has since grown substantially. The award judges praised the website for having 'everything you could want' with a fresh feel, being updated regularly and 'felt up to the minute and buzzing.'

More information about the Community Archives and Heritage Group Awards 2015 is available from Jon Elliott at ARA on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Please also contact Jon Elliott for photographs of the winners from the CAHG annual conference on 15 July and awards ceremony for the overall winning entry in Salisbury on 21 July.