Local history comes to the fore during lockdown days

People in Oxfordshire have been using lockdown to research their family history and local history more generally in far larger numbers than normal.

Many of the Oxfordshire History Centre’s online resources had until recently only been available in the centre itself or from the county’s libraries. However the refreshed www.oxfordshirehistory.org.uk website is now more publicly accessible.

This saw the site receive an average of 8,500 visits per month in April and May compared to a monthly average of 5,000 during 2019/10.

Meanwhile an Oxfordshire History COVID-19 ‘Lockdown Pictures and Stories’ Facebook group was set up by Oxfordshire County Council’s History Service at the end of April, for local residents to share their experiences of lockdown in words and pictures, as a publicly accessible legacy for future residents and communities.

It now been accumulating members who have posted photographs and videos, which we have captured and archived. More than 100 pictures have now been submitted.

Councillor Lorraine Lindsay-Gale, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Cultural Services, said “It’s wonderful that increased amounts of our family and local history information is freely available for the first time and it’s clear that people have been enjoying those opportunities in greater numbers during the lockdown period.

“It’s also important that we document this unusual phase in the history of our county and the nation as a whole. We’re glad that people are providing photographs and videos so that future generations can better understand and appreciate what the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 was all about in Oxfordshire.