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Make history for future generations

This city has such an interesting past, and I feel that many more business organisations should seriously consider writing up their history so that future students can benefit from a wider base of knowledge.

I have just spent a couple of mornings at the new Birmingham Library, and although I do not like the external cladding, internally it is superb, and well worth a visit.

I was engaged in some research but also took time out to look at a shelf of books relating to the Jewellery Quarter, which recorded the history of some of Birmingham’s oldest companies in the area.

However, having spent nearly 60 years working in the Quarter, there are some huge gaps in the records, with many leading firms hardly mentioned, and few small ones. This is sad, for Birmingham is known as the City of a Thousand Trades.

Thirty-three years ago, my company produced a book recording the first 100 years of its history, following this up with an update ten years later. I have already written up the period 1990-2010, which, when we can afford to, will be printed for posterity.

This city has such an interesting past, and I feel that many more business organisations should seriously consider writing up their history so that future students can benefit from a wider base of knowledge.

However, it is not only commercial organisations that should undertake such projects, but individuals, members of societies, clubs, and associations who should be prepared to take the time to reveal on paper for future generations their experiences on this remarkable journey through life.

People spend a small fortune in taking photographs of all sorts of events, yet few of these pictures are filed away for posterity, nor records kept of time, place and persons depicted.

There is great fascination with all facets of history, as clearly illustrated by the amount of books and videos that are sold relating to our railways.

The cost of preparing such pieces of history need not be great. The Birmingham Victorian Society has some interesting work in the library which consists of type written sheets preserved within a binder. Yet these slim volumes reveal some fascinating details of buildings in the city, with descriptions of embellishments that most of us walk by without a glance.

Tomorrow’s generations will be grateful for such work as they delve into Birmingham’s past.

* Russell Luckock is chairman of pressings firm AE Harris

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