Would you like to write a diary about Life in Lockdown?
We would like your help…
One of Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery’s main aims is to: “to tell the key stories of Nuneaton and Bedworth up to the present day”. Without a doubt, the Coronavirus Pandemic is one of those key stories - currently impacting upon every single person across the borough.
As we all live this unique period of history, we would love Nuneaton and Bedworth residents to keep a diary of their day-to-day experiences.
Diaries can, at first glance, sometimes seem mundane and unimportant, but they are invaluable historical documents. Diary entries are honest accounts and bring us closer to ordinary people and everyday life as it was really lived. Diaries aren’t just about a particular person, family or place – they can tell us about different time periods, cultures, and even key historical events.
Samuel Pepys’ Diary, for example, gives a powerful first-person account of the 1666 Great Fire of London.
Anne Frank’s Diary creates a detailed picture of the life of a Jewish girl, hiding from Nazi persecution, during the Second World War.
At Nuneaton Museum, we have a number of diaries in our collection. They were all written by local people.
John Astley, a local trader, kept a diary in the nineteenth century. He writes about all sorts of things happening in the town, ranging from the ribbon trade to the local doctor, community meetings, local flooding, buildings being demolished and crimes carried out. From his writings, we learn that punishments were severe in the nineteenth century. On 15th April 1816, he notes that “The man in prison for setting fire to Mr Wagstaffs stacks found guilty and sentenced to transportation.”
Joyce Webb’s collection of diaries include an entry on the night of one of Nuneaton’s biggest air raids on 17th May 1940. “Stella woke me about 2.0. “Get up get up”. Incendiaries dropping all around. Several reports and bomb explosions. The phones failed. We had to depend on messengers (…) Walked up to Maria’s. The bottom of Manor Court Avenue is flat, Marie’s windows are out. Walked up home. Betsy’s windows are out and tiles are off”.
These diaries, as well as others in our collection, give us an excellent personal account of what life was like at the time and how ordinary people responded to different events. Diaries written during the Coronavirus Pandemic will similarly be an important historical resource for the future.
If you are writing, or are planning to write, a diary about Life in Lockdown, please let us know. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, including your name, age and a contact telephone number.
There is something very special about a handwritten diary but you could also write your diary on a computer. Your diary could include information about what you are doing, how you are feeling, changes to routine, different ways of communicating, new activities or new skills learned.
We would love to see what you have written (when we are all allowed out of our houses again!). We hope to add some of the diaries to our Museum’s collection as a record for future generations.