Sutton Coldfield means different things to different people – even different things at different times – and all sort of associations, memories and experiences affect how we identify with our town.
Telling Sutton’s Stories is a new community project, co-ordinated by FOLIO Sutton Coldfield, exploring different ways we identify with where we live by inviting you to contribute to a map of what matters to you – whether that is the town’s history, the town’s natural environment, artistic responses to the town or more.
We hope that through contributing to the map or simply exploring what others have added to the map, we will all feel more connected to our town and the community we are all part of and that you will feel your voice, and what matters to you, will be heard.
If you are interested in local history you could…
- Contribute old photos you have of your house or other buildings
- Share stories about past events you were part of or heard about from family members
- Look up census information about past residents of your house and share what you find out
- Root out the deeds to your house and see if they contain any historical information that could be added to the map
- Transcribe material from past trade directories and censuses (we can provide what is necessary, so there is no need to have online access to any database)
- Be inspired by the BBC programme House Through Time and see what local stories you can uncover
If you are interested in flora and fauna you could…
- Identify all the trees in your street and mark them on the map
- Take photos of the wild flowers in open spaces near you
- Shape the map as your children see it, for example by the different cats they see on the way to school
If you love drawing or writing you could…
- Paint a picture of your street and add it to the map
- Write a poem in response to the past history of your house
- Read the books which mention places in Sutton Coldfield that are pinned on the map
There are lots of ways you can map what matters to you and help us tell the different stories of Sutton Coldfield.
Anyone can and is very welcome to contribute to the map.
If you have a computer/smart phone and internet connection you will be able to add material directly to the map yourself as soon as you sign up on the Telling Sutton’s Stories page.
Click the green ‘Continue’ button on the welcome page and then the grey ‘Sign In’ button in the top left corner of the map screen. Input your email address and you’ll be able to start adding material to the map immediately.
NB. The email address you use for contributing to the website needs to be one registered either with Microsoft or Google. (If you don’t already have a Google or Microsoft account it is easy and free to get one. You can create a Microsoft account here, and a Google account here.)
If you have material you would like to share, but don’t have an email address or would just rather FOLIO did the admin of adding your material to the map, please do get in touch; we’d love to hear from you. Perhaps you want to talk about memories you have and we can interview you for the website. Perhaps you have old photos but no way to make digital copies – again, we can help with that (all complying with current social distancing requirements).
If you don’t have any material yourself to add, but would like to help transcribe census reports and other documents related to Sutton do get in touch as this too is a vital part of what we want to add to the map.
How to get in touch with us
Telling Sutton’s Stories is inspired by the concept of deep mapping. A deep map refers to a subtle and layered map with greater information than a two-dimensional image of places, names, and topography. A deep map might include archaeology, stories, memories, reportage, interviews, natural history – really anything that matters to the viewers and creators of the map. Crucially, deep maps recognise that people – and personal experiences – are central to a place’s identity.
FOLIO is indebted to Alan Cameron Wills, Robert Anthony, Rowan O’Neill and Geraint Pickard-Skeats for their generous support of this project. We have been particularly inspired by their work on Moylgrove History Map and Map Digi Penfro.
We are also very grateful for the funding we have received from the Sutton Coldfield Neighbourhood Network Scheme which will enable us to run a series of workshops throughout 2021.
If you are interested more generally in local history you may find these links useful:
Sutton Coldfield Local History Research Group
Sutton Coldfield History Facebook Group
Sutton Coldfield Civic Society
Sutton Coldfield Archaeological Society – no website but contact details are on this page.