Spread the Word is delighted to announce that Merrie Joy Williams has been commissioned to explore the story of Woolwich High Street, as part of ‘High Street Tales’, a national creative commission from Historic England to capture the everyday magic of our high streets. It is a key element of the High Street Heritage Action Zones cultural programme, led by Historic England.
Merrie will be creating a short story from her research and conversations with local people. The story will form part of a collection of seven High Street Tales from across England and be made available as an e-book and a podcast in early 2021
Merrie is inviting people living in Woolwich, or who have lived there in the past, to share their tales of Woolwich High Street and to explore Woolwich’s past present and future by taking part in two free online workshops: Woolwich High Street: Writing Our Lives on Wednesday 9 December and Our High Street: A Celebration of Our Stories on Tuesday 15 December. The second workshop will be BSL-interpreted.
Which landmarks, shops, spaces, cultural places on Woolwich High Street stand out to you and why? Consider what the Royal Arsenal Gatehouse would say if it could talk? Or what stories a shopping trolley could tell you about the hands that have pushed it? Or the parties, where bought sausage rolls and bhajis will end up piled on plates? Which windows do you stare in when you dream, imagining yourself in the clothes of well-dressed mannequins? What do you do when it’s sunny? When it’s rainy? What are the old and new stories Woolwich has to tell?
Woolwich citizens can also get involved in High Street Tales by sharing their stories of Woolwich High Street, through an online form.
Ruth Harrison, Director of Spread the Word said: “High Street Tales is a project that has come at the most perfect time; when we are all realising the value of our local high streets to our communities and the people who keep it going. I’m really excited to see the story that Merrie creates with the people of Woolwich.“
Merrie Joy Williams said: “I’m thrilled to be exploring Woolwich, in partnership with Spread the Word, a place which has been part of my life for over twenty years. I look forward to speaking to locals, and hearing their weird, and wonderful stories about Woolwich High Street. Research is always a good starting point, but people and their stories are what make places real.”
Get involved and share your stories of Woolwich High Street
The two online workshops are free to attend and all ages (18+) and backgrounds are encouraged – you don’t have to be a confident writer! Places are limited to 15 per workshop. Please note, that we ask you to only book onto one workshop, so that as many people as possible can share their stories, memories and thoughts of the future.
Woolwich High Street: Writing Our Lives Wednesday 9 December, 6-7:15pm,
Book here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/events/high-street-tales-a-writing-workshop-with-merrie-joy-williams-9-december/
Our High Street Tales: A Celebration of our Stories Tuesday 15 December, 6-7:15pm. This workshop will be BSL interpreted by Lynne Bateman and Michelle Wood.
Book here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/events/high-street-tales-a-writing-workshop-with-merrie-joy-williams-15-december/
We would like to invite you to bring an item or a memory of Powis Street and the surrounding area to share with the group. They can be from the past, present, or even the future. It could be a shop itself, or a person, an event or an other item. They can be as fun or as serious as you like – as long as they mean something to you and your life in Woolwich.
If you cannot make one of the workshops, or would like a friend to help you scribe your stories and memories, you can do so through this form: https://forms.gle/1fyZSTb9dmGDYKXu9. We will be sharing responses with Poet in the City, who are creating an epic poem for Woolwich to celebrate the stories and history of the local High Street.
If you have any questions or queries at all about this project, please get in touch – [email protected].
Published 26 November 2020
Updated 15 December 2020