Published on September 4th, 2017 | by John OMeara



Anyone interested in how heritage can help address here and now issues may have found the approach of Historic England a bit stuffy and irrelevant – perhaps more interested in filling in gaps about buildings they have already identified as important than in finding out about buildings or places that have played a part in shaping current generations. But things may be changing. They have appointed Shuranjeet Takhar, who grew up in Handsworth, to set up a new project called ‘A History of Birmingham in 100 Places’.When he said he wanted to start with the people rather than the buildings, and he wanted to start with Handsworth, his suggestions were accepted.

Shuranjeet is organising an event at Nishkam Centre this Saturday 9th September 1pm-5pm (not part of Nishkam’s ‘My Story, Our Journey’ Sikh heritage project), where the aim is to hear people’s stories about their lives in Handsworth in order to determine which buildings or places (it could be a street corner!) have played the most formative roles. ‘People’ means anyone in Handsworth although there may be some limitations imposed through interpreting only being available across the English, Urdu and Punjabi languages. Each attender will be interviewed about their experiences of Handsworth and notes will be taken as they speak (final format of records yet to be decided).

This is an experiment. There is no telling whether it will identify something important, or how far it is an approach Historic England will take on board. It could provide the basis for a purely local approach – picking up threads from the People’s Heritage Centre initiative. Inside Handsworth is interested enough for us to make sure we are there. If you have any queries you can contact Shuranjeet at:

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  1. Sorry I cannot be with you because going away on holiday on 8th September

    Dennis Minnis

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