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On what was arguably the hottest day of the year so far (July 26) six My Route volunteers undertook training in data collection, as part of the project’s historical research.
The data collection in My Route records how businesses situated along Stratford Road have changed over the last 70 years, allowing the physical landscape, demographics and trades to be studied on a building-by-building scale. This information will be included in the interactive map, allowing users to explore the function and culture surrounding the road, and see how the economy and social aspects changed with the introduction and movement of new communities.
The training was led by Caroline Beavon and Dave Richardson, who have both been co-coordinating different elements of My Route’s historical research. They allocated each volunteer a different section of the road to manage, so that they could document how each building in a particular stretch of road has changed over the different decades and hopefully unearth some interesting tales based on the road’s geography.
One of the main resources for this research is the Kelly’s Directories – a yearly publication that ran from about 1836 until the mid 1970s. These publications listed every trade on a road by street number, so that locals could learn what shops were near them quickly and easily. As part of the training the volunteers were taken to Birmingham Library to see these directories and have a go at ‘unrolling’ the electronic shelves where they are located in the Local History section.
The volunteers then headed back to the mac Birmingham to learn about additional research methods that could be used for the more recent years – as there are 40 years the Kelly’s Directories don’t cover. A data management system was also set up on Evernote, so that volunteers could find and share any information they discovered with each other in order to encourage shared learning and a more comprehensive support network.
Let the research commence!