Facebook history page becomes part of British Library archive

Ossett town centre - picture courtesy of Wakefield Libraries - http://www.twixtaireandcalder.org.uk

Ossett town centre - picture courtesy of Wakefield Libraries - http://www.twixtaireandcalder.org.uk

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A Facebook history group with more than 3,500 members will have its posts archived in the British Library.

Ossett Through The Ages was created for the sharing of photos, memories and historical facts relating to the town.

And after less than 18 months, it has been selected as a website which will be preserved and safeguarded by the British Library so future generations can permanently access it online.

Page founder Anne-Marie Fawcett was notified of the decision on December 30.

She said: “I am very emotional. It is quite a fantastic achievement, especially in such a short space of time, and the news was a wonderful end to 2016. It is due to all the members and their contributions.

“People all over the world with access to the British Library archive will now be able to see the stories and history on our site, which will be preserved.”

The website will be included in the Library’s UK Web Archive, which contains specially selected sites that represent different aspects of the nation’s heritage as well as important global events.

Ms Fawcett, who has lived in Ossett for ten years and is from Wakefield, set up the Facebook page in August 2015, after losing her cat.

Ms Fawcett said: “As I was wandering around looking for my cat, there were signs of old Ossett that I wanted to know more about.

“I wanted to bring news and the history of Ossett to people that were maybe not aware of it and people have really got behind that.

“Obviously Facebook is a different medium to your libraries and traditional research locations and although there are various local groups interested in history, there are not many online.

“What I really wanted to do was bring people into the group who knew about the social history of the town and we have got people who remember Ossett in the 40s and 50s. Their contributions are brilliant.

“The admins or members will do research or find a photograph and share it on the group. Within minutes you have somebody commenting with memories or stories and before you know it you have a half a dozen people engaging in a conversation.

“Historians and researchers would never otherwise have access to such conversations and such rich historic information.”

Alan Howe, who researches, writes and makes presentations to local groups about the history of Ossett and its families and is a key contributor to the site, added: “While Anne-Marie has long had an interest in local history it was her long search through the streets, roads, lanes and fields

of Ossett, for her beloved cat, that intensified her knowledge and love of the town in which she now lives.”

In its short life, the Facebook page has attracted local historians, current and former residents and ex-pats now living in Europe, Australia and the United States of America.

Ms Fawcett said: “We wouldn’t be where we are with the site now without all the hard work of the admin team, the researchers and all the contributors.”

Picture courtesy of Wakefield Libraries - see more at www.twixtaireandcalder.org.uk