We're pleased to announce our next project Built to Last: Austin Village at 100, which will explore a unique residential area in Longbridge, Birmingham, that consists largely of prefabricated American bungalows. The project has received grant funding from The National Lottery through Heritage Lottery Fund.
In collaboration with documentary photographer and artist Stephen Burke, the project will celebrate the history of Austin Village in its centenary year and examine its evolution over 100 years through the memories and lives of its current residents.
Austin Village opened in 1917, built by Herbert Austin (founder of the Longbridge car factory) to house the burgeoning workforce of the factory, which grew from 2,500 employees in 1914 to 22,000 in 1918, in part in the response to the factory’s role in manufacturing for The First World War. Consisting of 200 cedarwood houses imported from Michigan, USA, with a series of more traditionally British suburban semis built as firebreakers throughout, it is a hidden marvel tucked away behind a more conventional housing estate and a five-minute walk from Longbridge train station.
A new online archive of sound, video, audio recordings will be created, drawing on the personal archives and living history of residents. Sharing events will be held in community spaces within the village during 2017 to allow people to contribute to this archive.
We'll be working with residents throughout, including training a group of volunteers from the village in photography, gather and share oral histories and manage the digital archive. The project is timely, as it was recently announced that Austin Village's conservation area status is currently under review by Birmingham City Council.
We're grateful to the Austin Village Preservation Society for their support with our application and to the Heritage Lottery Fund and players of the National Lottery for funding the project.
You can get involved in the project in the following ways:
1. Become a Volunteer Community Historian
2. Tell Your Story of Austin Village
3. Come to one of our community sharing events
To register your interest please visit our Get Involved page, or get in touch:
Call or text 07713808424 or email firstname.lastname@example.org