With generous support from the Heritage Lottery Fund Crosshouse Community Council initiated a project to research the history of Crosshouse and neighbouring villages during the Great War, 1914 – 1918. The project aimed to explore the stories of the men listed on the Village Memorial and planned various events including a concert and a WW1 themed Fun Day involving the children of the village.
During the course of the project we produced a World War 1 related concert with storytelling, song, narration and projection of images. The main part of the show was localized to the Crosshouse Village War Memorial and made use of the photographs of 36 soldiers from the village school who died in WW1, but the concert also took a broader view on issues of peace and war. Linked, but separate from the show, we held a memorial event in Crosshouse Parish Church and linked with the annual Act of Remembrance in the Village. The show took place in the Church / Village Hall and included local residents, children from the village school and visiting artists.
As a legacy to this project, two other concepts have been put forward for ongoing development:
THE IMAGINED VILLAGE
This would be an ‘active history’ project involving all ages and open to anyone with a connection to the village. Although based on history – and for some people it might involve detailed local research – the basic idea is that people imagine that they are a resident of the village in 1914 or some other period of the village history of their choosing. (For example they might chose to be the Village Postman, the baker, the farmer, the wife, the mother, the child, the young man called up for War etc.) Having imagined that they are this person, they will the encouraged to write their stories, reliving their experience of life one hundred years ago. Through their eyes we will build up a picture of the ‘imagined village’ that was Crosshouse during the Great War and subsequent years.
VILLAGE HISTORY / FAMILY HISTORY
As each generation passes we lose some knowledge of our local history. This project will interview people in the village in an informal yet systematic way. The main ‘interviews’ will be recorded on video and high quality audio. Although not restricted to the older generation, our ‘informants’ will generally be the senior members of our community. A further part of the project will encourage people to write their own personal history in a form that could be handed down to future generations of their own family. This project will be done in small ‘writers groups’. It will probably start with a single group but over time other groups are likely to follow.