Know Your Place is a website featuring historical maps of Bristol which are scanned from original archives held at the city’s record office.
The project was created in 2011 by Pete Insole, Principal Historic Environment Officer, and the Geographic Information Services team, both from Bristol City Council, to encourage people to explore their heritage virtually and contribute to it with their own stories, photographs and other content.
Know Your Place has been shortlisted for Best Heritage Research, Recording or Interpretation at the annual Historic England Angel Awards, which are supported by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and celebrate heritage heroes who have helped save historic buildings and places.
Pete said: “Know Your Place is giving the public an active role in managing our heritage, helping to add more layers to what we already know about our historic environment. We are amazed by what continues to be uncovered through contributions to the site – local heritage that would otherwise remain hidden. I am thrilled the project has received this recognition and I hope it continues to encourage more people to take an interest in the history of their local area.”
Know Your Place encourages people to identify what they consider to be important heritage features in their own community. A dedicated space on the website allows visitors to send in contributions and these are moderated and validated before being published on the site. The process of identifying these features is the first step towards getting more recognition for them and ensuring their protection.
The Bristol page now includes more than 2,000 community contributions, which have been added to the city’s historic records and are taken into account for political and planning decisions. The city’s local list of 500 valued buildings has been formed predominantly by contributions on the Know Your Place site, which were highlighted by members of the public.
One of the project’s initial aims was to digitise historical maps and the site gives visitors unprecedented access to maps, collections and a wide range of historic data. One hundred volunteers have so far been trained to keep the site updated.
Know Your Place West of England expanded the geographic coverage of the website from June 2015 to cover the six surrounding local authority counties. Other authorities, including London, have expressed an interest using the format and as of this summer there is a Know Your Place Devon.
Andrew Lloyd Webber, who founded the Historic England Angel Awards in 2011, said: “Everyone involved in these projects deserves to be recognised and congratulated on the vital role they play in protecting unique heritage, buildings, landscapes and craft skills for future generations. I am excited that for the first time we will be crowning an overall UK winner at the final ceremony.”
Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England said: “The Angel Awards allow us to celebrate the people who work tirelessly to care for our irreplaceable heritage. So often they are in the background, but now we turn the spotlight on the volunteers and heritage professionals whose work ensures we can continue to enjoy England’s wonderful historic sites for generations to come.”
While the five category winners, including the entry Know Your Place is shortlisted for, will be decided by a panel of expert judges, each project is in the running for the Historic England People’s Favourite award chosen solely by the public. Voting is now open until 18 November 2018. Cast your vote at HistoricEngland.org.uk/AngelAwards.
The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, London on 27 November 2018.