Appeal for material concerning the history of droughts.
We have received the following appeal from Dr Rebecca Pearce of the College of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Exeter:
"I am a Human Geographer working at Exeter University. I am attached to a national research programme that is designed to chart the history of droughts in the UK from 1890 to the present day.
I am doing two things for this project 1) collating the social record of droughts past from archival sources – reports, newspapers, diaries, photographs, etc. 2) for droughts that have occurred in living memory I am recording oral histories with people who remember the impact of these events and how they managed. All of the material I find will be logged in a searchable web-based portal. All of the recordings I make will be deposited in the British Library.
Through systematic reading of the Western Morning News from 1976, I note how severe the great drought of that year was in your area, with many people using standpipes for several weeks. Although I have some personal testimonies from the newspaper articles, I am hoping to find more people who remember this time and are willing to make recordings for the National Archive, on this topic.
I am writing to you because some of you may be interested in doing this or you may have friends or relatives living in the area who would be interested in participating in this research. I would be very happy to present this work to you at an evening event, as part of the Festival of Social Science, in November, should I be successful in adding some recordings and perhaps photographs or diary entries into the collection.
Please do get in touch with me if you would like to be involved, either by e-mail to: R.Pearce@exeter.ac.uk or by telephone 07812404175
I look forward to hearing from you."