May 2009 – December 2015
The Shirley Heritage Project was funded by the same Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant that contributed towards the Restoration & Improvement project in St.James’ Park during 2010‑2011.
During discussions with HLF and Southampton City Council (SCC), FoSJP expressed a desire to build upon the interest in local history that we saw at the History stall at the Park100 Centenary Celebration event in 2007. The History stall was extremely popular, and many people had stories of their own to tell. FoSJP asked that a Heritage Project be included within the HLF funding – this was agreed and the Shirley Heritage Project was launched in May 2009 to:
- allow FoSJP to organise more history-themed events in and around the Park;
- encourage interest and provide opportunities for participation in local history;
- collect and share local memories of the Park and its environment;
- create a permanent history interpretation display in the renovated Park;
- work and share information with local people, schools, colleges, and other organisations.
We used all the fascinating information that we gathered over five years to produce St.James Park: From Rec to Renovation, a book on the history of the Park and its immediate environment which was launched in March 2015.
We’d already shared some of the stories that we’d been given in our series of Public History Talks held each Autumn from 2009 through 2015. From 2016, these talks have continued thanks to the Shirley Local History Group and its volunteers.
We also developed the History pages here on the website to share further information that we received and to keep everyone up to date. We plan to eventually share clips of audio and video recordings made during the project – the HLF has funded the purchase of equipment to support this.
The Shirley Heritage Project was officially completed in 2015, but its work continues, with an extended remit, under the auspices of the Shirley Local History Group.