Although Friday 16th October 2015 was the fifth annual Light Night in Bury it marked the first time we, the archive service, have opened our doors to the crowds of people who flock to the town centre to be dazzled by the lights and the action.
We were delighted to meet our many visitors: some were familiar faces whom we have met during our normal opening times when they use the centre to research local and family history or undertake academic research; others were colleagues from the council – such as Elizabeth Binns (Head of Libraries) and Ian Chambers (Assistant Director for The Department of Children, Young People & Culture). Both offered encouraging words and we were so pleased they took the time to come along and offer their support! Lots of our visitors, however, had not been to the centre before and were really interested in the collections on display and eager to learn more.
Because we are promoting Bury Remembers the First World War – an on-going Heritage Lottery-Funded project – our cases display documents and photographs with a WW1 theme. For more information on what some of the cases contain please read our blog posts: A Mother’s Search, A Soldier’s Story and Donation of the Month, William Ward Sleigh. In addition, one of our smaller cases contains aerial photographs brought back from the Front by a surviving soldier – these extraordinary images offer the viewer a rare glimpse into an alien landscape of trenches and shell-craters and proved fascinating to many of our visitors on Light Night.
To complement the archive collections on display we offered our guests a chance to view poster-sized recreations of articles printed in local newspapers during WW1.
If you didn’t get chance to visit us last Friday night you can still view the cases and their contents during our normal opening hours. And, we’ll be posting more details of how we got on with our outdoor poetry-reading event in Gallipoli Gardens very soon!