Community Archive & Heritage Group of the year

The Dartmoor Trust Wins National Award for its ‘Dartmoor Life InThe First World War’ Project

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BEGINS: (Final version, embargoed until 12 July 2016)

The Dartmoor Trust Wins National Award for its ‘Dartmoor Life In The First World War’ Project

Other Category Winners: Leyland Historical Society (Lancashire), Magic Torch (Inverclyde) and The After Alice Project (W Yorkshire)

The Community Archives and Heritage Group (CAHG) today announced at its annual conference in London the winners of its annual Awards for Excellence. CAHG is part of the Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland), the sector’s leading professional and membership body. CAHG’s annual Awards are highly competitive and receive nominations from across the British Isles.

Overall Winner

The overall 2016 winner, The Dartmoor Trust (www.dartmoortrust.org), also won the ‘Most Inspirational’ category in this year’s awards. In reaching their decision, the judges considered Dartmoor Life In the First World War:

“…a showcase for good practice, looking at the First World War from the view of those left behind in rural communities. The whole project involved local groups across Dartmoor – linking local history groups and the national park. The background planning, with specified ‘Key Stage’ information for schools, across both English and Science subjects, plus defined long-term archiving plans, put the project ahead of the other (very) strong contenders in the (‘Most Inspirational’) category. There was also a clear indication of the number (of people who had visited) the project and the views of visitors.” 

Dartmoor Life In The First World War featured in an exhibition at the Dartmoor National Park Visitor Centre, Princetown, in the Summer of 2015 (and will be reprised there from 19-24 August 2016). The project is now part of an outreach programme to residents and local schoolchildren, explaining the socio-economic conditions at that time and improvements over the past century.

The project aimed to archive local material before the war recedes from memories, by drawing communities together at the research stage and encouraging people to contribute their own material to the archive. The exhibition highlighted the use of the Dartmoor Military Training Area, the impact of the war on large estates, the removal of horses for the war effort and distinctive local angles, such as collecting sphagnum moss to treat wounds and horse chestnuts to make explosives (all of which still have particular local resonance).

Tony Clark and Peter Mason of The Dartmoor Trust receiving their overall award trophy from Sue Hampson Chair of CAHG and Dr Nick Barratt

Tony Clark, Chairman of The Dartmoor Trust, said:

“We are delighted to have won this award. It shows what can be achieved when local people come together, share experiences and honour their heritage. Dartmoor Life In The First World War aims to preserve a part of our past that created such upheaval and suffering, but also brought communities closer. This recognition by CAHG is also a tribute to Dartmoor’s local history groups, who inspired us with their interest and helped us research into local communities. We hope our experience encourages others.”

Impressive Runners-up

There were three close runners-up this year that took the honours in the other three award categories. Winner of the ‘Most Innovative’ Community Archive and Heritage Group for 2016 is Magic Torch (Greenock, Inverclyde). The judges commented:

“Magic Torch has been helping create a record of important local events in an easily-accessible and highly-innovative comic-book format; eg, the experiences of a locally-based regiment during the First World War. The group has taken this format into local schools; it (clearly has the potential to) spark ideas in other groups… and (fills) a gap in (presenting) the past in a digestible format to the difficult-(to-reach) senior schools audience.”

Further background is at: www.magictorchcomics.co.uk & www.talesoftheoak.co.uk

Winner of the ‘Best New’ Community Archive and Heritage Group of the Year for 2016 is The After Alice Project (Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire). The judges said:

“This project (centres on) gather(ing) current photos of the Upper Calder Valley based on an original series of pictures taken by Hebden Bridge photographer Alice Longstaff from 1921 until 1992. The modern photos are taken with old film cameras (to provide clear comparison alongside long-lasting film negatives). The project (stood out) for its overall plan, training and (clarity of) concept; (it also took seriously) the importance of long-term storage of the negatives, according to best practice.”

For further information, visit: www.afteralice.org

Winner of the ‘Best Website’ for a Community Archive and Heritage Group for 2016 is Leyland Historical Society (Lancashire). The judges commented:

“Leyland stood out for the depth of their work and the (inter-operability) of their Facebook links with the (society’s) website. Overall, this site (offers reams of ideas for) other groups to learn from and follow, such as its (evocative) ‘Through the Lanes’ series, enabling site visitors to ‘walk’ a local route along with pictures of how places looked in times past.”

See www.leylandhistoricalsociety.co.uk for more details.

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 the ARA, see www.archives.org.uk

There were 23 category entries for the 2016 awards (ie, for work in 2015) across all four categories. 2016 is the fifth year of these awards.

There will be a formal ‘re-presentation’ of the overall winner’s trophy to The Dartmoor Trust on 19 August, 2016 in the company of all the volunteers and supporters who contributed to the success of the project. For comment on the overall award and more details on the ‘re-presentation’ event, please email Tony Clark at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone him on 07827 975751.

For comment from The After Alice Project, please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 07849 843918.

For comment from Magic Torch, please contact: Paul Bristow on 07757 112332

More information about the Community Archives and Heritage Group Awards 2016 is available from Jon Elliott at the 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 receiving their awards at the CAHG annual conference on 12 July.

ENDS