About

Hi, I’m Debbie

Back in the 80s, I was the first in my family to go to university. Three years of reading about ancient civilisations such as the Sumerians and Egyptians, assessing whether the wars with Persia made ancient Greeks more xenophobic, and thinking about historic texts from Cicero to St Augustine was at an end all too soon.

While all my various jobs over the years have had nothing to do with history, I’ve continued to enjoy the subject in my own time. I’ve been reading books, watching TV programmes and listening to radio discussions about everything and anything from the past. Every trip and holiday here and abroad involves heading straight for the nearest museums.

And I just love The British History Podcast, created by Jamie Jeffers. 

Somehow, juggling the demands of work and motherhood, I found a bit of spare time to take an interest in family history. There’s something very compelling about constructing family trees from old sources, and the stories you can sometimes unearth about people are fascinating.

Why I Set Up Local History Videos

Recently, I discovered the wealth of easily accessible videos and films showing British life over the past century and more. 

Some of them had just a handful of views, even where the filmed events were worth knowing about generally, or showed tiny communities several generations ago.

Worse, some of these films were lost from public view because they don’t appear in many video search results or recommendations. 

Young people tend to click like and subscribe buttons, and share links, as a matter of habit. Older people are much more circumspect.

But computers only see ‘engagement’ as a positive endorsement of a video. The lack of action is a rejection from the viewer. In fact, a video will get promoted more if it has lots of dislikes than it will if no one responds!

Furthermore, the video titles and information gaps lead to lots of confusion. 

In the past five hundred years, every time a group of people left British shores to set up home in a new country, they’ve named places and areas after the homes they left. When one town’s name is found in five English speaking countries, the scantily described video from seventy years ago can be difficult to place. There are a lot of items like that.

In addition, brands and famous people add more confusion as they dominate the search results.

Local History Videos

I learnt how to set up a WordPress site, which is no easy feat, by watching YouTube videos and doing lots of research. Then as time allows with work and family life, I’ve been creating pages to track down and promote videos from individual communities.

At the moment I’m hoping the clicks on adverts will eventually pay for the maintenance costs to the hosting company which keeps the site live, without it costing my visitors anything.  If I can make a profit in the future I’ll be in a position to swap some of my working hours for creating more pages here. It may be a long while before that happens!

It’s all been a process of experimentation, so you’ll find some pages better set out than others.

At the heart of this site is a genuine desire to get more people to discover their local history through old films. 

If anyone spots any errors on a page, can suggest useful resources to link to or thinks their own video should be included, please do get in touch. 

Thanks for visiting and I hope you find your favourite piece of old film via this site,

Debbie

localhistoryvideos@gmail.com