Author Topic: Selly Oak Traces of the Past  (Read 935 times)

Arts Forum Selly Oak

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Selly Oak Traces of the Past
« on: March 14, 2013, 10:08:23 AM »
Sunday 24th March, 2pm  Meet at University of Birmingham South Gate
Some spaces will be available on the day but a limited number of spaces can be booked in advance by emailing us
The relatively short distance between the University of Birmingham gates and Selly Oak Station is packed with evidence of the past, resurfacing in unexpected locations. Sometimes you need a guide to help you see what’s there, and local Historian Ben Waddington is at hand to help you to dig into our High Street history. Some is in plain view but much requires venturing off road, down alleys and up side streets. Along the way you will find old ordnance survey markers, crests and cartouches, rich victorian terracotta lettering, ghost signs, unusual building materials and forgotten shops of yesteryear. The ever unfolding present obscures much of it from view but the past is resilient, and wants to tell us things…
Ben’s approach to researching local history is to start with the familiar, and to see it up close at street level. Much of our surroundings go unquestioned as we pace familiar routes, perhaps not expecting to find anything interesting or significant in our everyday surroundings. Yet there is plenty to find and it is discovered by slowing our pace down, even stopping and then widening the scope of our ordinary gaze. Once questioned, the urban fabric will reveal evidence, patterns and stories of how we lived. By this point, we have made the connection with the past and want to learn more. We can then research further in libraries, archives and ever deeper resources. But the first step may have been as close our own doorstep or garden wall, making the journey a more individual experience.