Sunday, 26 January 2014

Loughborough six months on.

It’s been six months!

So, this blogpost marks an anniversary for me: I have now been blogging weekly about Loughborough for six months. And what a busy six months it’s been!

Before I started this blog, I’d been thinking about how to use the internet and how to share my amateur research with interested people, especially since the web pages I had from about 1996 to 2005, had been useful to all kinds of people. I used to get emails from people regarding the web pages, and was particularly chuffed to get an email from a former deputy university librarian saying that he’d found my family history web pages really useful when he first started doing research into his own family history.

I’d also previously tried setting up a wiki on Leicestershire, and although I did create something, I found that this didn’t really lend itself particularly well to what I wanted to do, and updating was quite cumbersome.

So, when I learned that Loughborough was in danger of being included in a 2nd edition of a book that listed the worst 50 towns in the UK, I realised I had to do my bit to improve the reputation of the town, and decided a blog would be a good vehicle for this. I chose the Blogger software because I was already using this for my work-related blog (which I did in my own time, and which has taken rather a backseat since I’ve been focussing on the Loughborough blog!) so I knew how to use it.

Originally, I had a plan for the blog, but let’s be honest, when does one ever stick to a plan? There were to be a series of posts each month: One a campaigning one; one an update on important initiatives in the town; one focussing on a Loughborough resident; and one focussing on a specific area of the town.

The first month did go according to plan, with an initial post giving my reasons for Loughborough being great and why it shouldn’t be included in a book about the 50 worst UK towns. The second post was about the magnificent In Bloom competition, which Loughborough has entered for the last few years. This was followed by the first spotlight which was on the beautiful Queen’s Park. The final post of the month was the first of a series of “Who was” posts, featuring Dr Eddowes [of course, I have subsequently found more information about the Drs Eddowes, and will post this sometime soon].

The second month started well, with a post outlining the importance of Loughborough’s world-renowned firms which, it was hoped, would help keep Loughborough out of that wretched book, and was followed by an update on the In Bloom competition. The next scheduled post should have been the second spotlight: Luckily, this went according to plan and the spotlight was on All Saints Church [with apologies for entitling this post All Saints Parish Church: I know it's not the parish church, but I also know that a lot of people call it that]. However, the next “Who was” was postponed, and its place filled with a feature on allotments.

William Clark was the focus of the next “Who was” post, which appeared after the allotment one. The next post described some of the “lost houses” that were featured in an exhibition at Loughborough Public Library, and was followed by an update on the results of the worst towns publication. The open air play in the park, the Charnwood Roots project, the Loughborough Archaeological Society meeting and a comedy show in the public library were the subject of the twelfth post.

Continuing the theme of Loughborough having a lot to offer, the next post comprised a list of places to visit and things to do in Loughborough. Ashby Road was featured as the next“Spotlight on” and proved to be quite a popular post with you. In case you thought Loughborough had nothing to offer in the way of culture, the next post aimed to put you right! By far the most popular post was the photographic record of Remembrance Day, 2013.

November sees the annual visit of the fair, and this was the topic of the next post “Spotlight on”, and some of the coincidences and experiences I had in Loughborough and Lichfield was the topic of the next post, by which time we were approaching Christmas and activities to mark the occasion were starting to happen.

The next meeting of the LAHS was the sole topic of my next post, as the life of John Bley was so fascinating, but it coming up to Christmastime meant that my own Christmas preparations featured in the next, a pictorial, postThe final post of 2013 focussed on the consequences of the burst water pipe at Kegworth for residents in Loughborough.

I wanted to ring in 2014 with my first post so I did a bit of research into the “bawble” makers of Loughborough, and followed this with some information about local initiatives and developments. Finally, those infamous Luddites and their Loughborough connection was the focus of my last post.
Along the way, I’ve discovered a lot of things! If a thing is worth doing it’s worth doing well, and if a thing is worth doing well it’ll take a long time to do!!! I haven’t read a novel in six months, but I’ve had my nose stuck in the local history books, I’ve spent hours in the local studies part of the library and I’ve been out and about in the most bizarre of places with my camera.

From the outset I decided I’d like to illustrate my words with my own pictures. Although I’m a librarian and I should know all about copyright law, I’m not sure I do, and so the only safe option was to take and use my own photographs. This proved to be difficult for a number of reasons: I’m not good at taking pictures; finding time to go out and about was tricky; whenever the weather was nice I was busy doing something else (mostly cooped up in a semi-basement office!); identifying and being able to take pictures of things I wanted pictures of! However, along the way I’ve learned a bit more about digital photographs and although I can’t “photoshop” them I can now put the blog address on them.

In reality, sourcing good, relevant photographs has proved difficult and has, in fact, been the reason why you’ve had to put up with lots of wordy posts, when I would have preferred to be a bit more visual. Actually, if the blog stats are anything to go by, it seems you prefer to see a few pictures as well! And talking of blog stats, I’m pleased that posts on the blog are averaging 55 visitors per post, although some have reached the dizzy heights of 325 views and lows of only 5! The remembrance page, which has had 325 views, consisted only of photographs, and the next most visited page was the walk down Ashby Road, which was also heavy on pictures. Those of you who didn’t read “Fun in Loughborough” (and there were a lot of you as this post was only viewed five times!) missed a treat – the open air play in Queen’s Park – a first for the town – the opportunity to get involved in the Charnwood Roots project and help document and remember the Loughborough area for posterity, and more! It’s still there if I’ve tickled your tastebuds!

If there’s something you’d like me to feature, do let me know either by commenting below, or contacting me directly at dyer dot lynne at google mail dot com.

I’m sure when you’ve been reading the posts, you will have noticed that there have been some false leads and promises. This was not intentional, but was simply because I set myself too much to do! The “Spotlight on” and the “Who was” features really take quite a lot of research, and I haven’t always got as much time as I would like to devote to this. So, I shall put my neck out and say, look out for future posts on a street in a quiet backwater, a Rector with a penchant for water, a bank manager, and some local houses. Oh dear, here I go again, promising too much!!

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