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Hackney City Farm’s heritage archived for future generations

PUBLISHED: 08:36 11 September 2015 | UPDATED: 08:36 11 September 2015

The site before the farm was built

The site before the farm was built

Archant

A grant of nearly £10,000 will mean thousands of photos, slides and film footage of Hackney City Farm can be archived for future generations.

A country show in Haggerston Park nearbyA country show in Haggerston Park nearby

The farm in Goldsmiths Row, Haggerston, was set up by volunteers in a derelict lorry yard in 1984, to provide a community learning and leisure resource based around farming and the countryside.

More than 600 volunteers had come together in the decade before the farm’s creation to find a suitable site for the urban farm, and they made the choice of what kind of activities, animals and plants it would have and what it would mean to the community,

Original photographs, documents and artefacts documenting its history were unearthed last year when an exhibition was staged at Hackney Museum to celebrate the farm’s 30th birthday.

“We realised there was a huge mass of material, and that it would

be good to do another project to bring volunteers together

to archive it all,” said heritage resource store co-ordinator at

the farm, Caroline Baker.

“We are in contact with the volunteer who led that movement, and the original farm manager, we have recordings of them, we want that to be at the archives so future generations can see how community action created the farm in the 80s.

“I think that kind of thing was much more usual and possible in the 80s because there were people who were able to and who did give their time because they felt that was important.

“There was a value based on community which we question today – what with the price of accommodation, the demographic change in the area, and getting rid of industry and workshops which used to proliferate there.

“To remember what the roots were when the farm was set up is crucial to retain the sense of community, because the farm is still a community resource.”

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Sharing Heritage grant of £9,900 will be spent on documenting the material in the Hackney Archives in Dalston’s CLR James Library, as well as training volunteers in website production, recording, interpreting and archiving to share the heritage.


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