19 May 2011

BBC Domesday Reloaded on the Hoo Peninsula

I suppose that even those of us not destined to make it to Monarch, President, renowned scientist or even famous celebrity, all have our own little place in history. But until this week, I had forgotten about my modest involvement in the 1986 Domesday project - an ambitious attempt to record a snapshot of everyday life across the UK for future generations. A much less sinister motive than the tax revenue driven record of property and land ownership by our French cousins 900 years earlier.

I think it was either late 1985 or early 1986 when a couple of school friends and I were given a 'vital task' - sent to interrogate the local part-time Librarian about what she liked and disliked about her job!

I can't say our findings have been at the forefront of my mind these past 25 years, but having heard about the recent publishing of all the Domesday project material, I decided to have a browse.

We learned that books weren’t being returned to the library after they were borrowed. Not exactly crime of the century perhaps, but given the perennial budgetary constraints on such community services, as much of a selfish nuisance then as it is now I suppose!

Searching around the site, I see that a number of villages from the Hoo Peninsula participated in this project as well, submitting written reports and photographs – all of which are available to view on the BBC Domesday Reloaded website. Not surprising, given that over a million people took part nationwide.

There are sections (D-Blocks as they are known on the site) for Cliffe, Cliffe Woods, Hoo, St. Mary Hoo, Stoke, Grain, Chattenden and Lower Upnor.

The section about Hoo (D-block GB-576000-171000) includes submissions about family life, ‘interesting’ local people, shopping patterns, leisure and recreation, housing, local news and events.

The section about Stoke (D-block GB-580000-174000) includes submissions about Mackays Court Farm, Stoke Church, Hoppers Lane, Microlights, St. Mary Hoo and general information about village life.

Take a look at the BBC Domesday Reloaded website and see what was recorded back in 1986. You never know, you may find your name in its own little place in history.