The Standon and Puckeridge Village Index used to live at SPEC – the Standon and Puckeridge Electronic Centre in Standon.
The idea for the Index developed from a chance discussion during a meeting of the Amenities Society Committee in 1998. We had been talking about our two recent publications – the Village Appraisal and the Village Study – and how we were going to store them. A Library was suggested, perhaps a Museum – but where would it be housed and how could a building, preservation facilities and a curator be funded. Clearly a physical collection of artefacts and publications was beyond the resources currently available in the Villages.
I suggested that a first step would be to prepare an index of what was available so that people needing to research and study material would be able to locate useful items. This idea caught on – and, of course, I was delegated the task of progressing the preparation of the index.
At that time I was preparing a talk on the History of Puckeridge. My main sources were the Hertfordshire County Council Library in Ware and the Local Studies Library at County Hall. It did not need a great deal of extra effort to annotate my abstracts with a reference to the source publications and Hey Presto! – the beginnings of a Village Index. Since then the Index expanded to include items suggested by Members of the Amenities Society Committee and others.
I have been using computers since 1967 – anyone remember Autocode and Fortran 1? – so naturally I kept my records on my Mac. The systems worked like this. I kept the Master File of the Index and a copy was held at SPEC on a floppy disc. Anyone could go into SPEC, open the Village Index file, view it, print it out, add to it, correct it and download that version to their own disc.
Times changed. SPEC closed and the Village Index was never extended. The records were handed on to my successors and the files fell into desuetude.
But now, with www.puckeridgevillage.co.uk up and running it is time to rebuild our Virtual Museum. The facilities available now on the Internet for data storage, indexing and retrieval should make the task much more straightforward. Work on reconstituting the Village Index has been put in hand and I will do my best to have a workable system ready before May Day.
However, the material to be indexed belongs to everyone in the Villages and it is your records which need to be preserved. All sorts of ideas can now be realised – we could have our own index of Births, Deaths and Marriages culled from Parish records: we could have a Village Memories section with videos of your recollections of times past for future generations to watch and enjoy: we could store your photographs of the way things were: we could store bus timetables to show our children how we got around before everyone had a car: we could hold records of buildings and woods and fields and crops before memory of them is lost for ever: we could store the names of pupils in the schools: we could record details of the shops and work shops which crammed the High Street. But those are just my ideas – you will have many more.
The core data collected in 1998 is still around, waiting to be collated. If you would like to add to those historical records, call me on 01920 822271 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org – and accept my thanks in anticipation.