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Blogging about things that matter to me. Photographing things I love - Instagram @debcyork. Writing about both. Only wine and chocolate can save us… You can also find me on Twitter (@debcyork) and Facebook. If you like four-legged views, try @missbonniedog on Twitter

Monday, 9 May 2016

Access Required

Once again I find myself blogging about the importance of history's details.  The need to look at the bigger picture.  This morning, there is an article on the BBC news website about the Women's Voluntary Service.  It is called The Army Hitler Forgot and it relates to the archives of said service (now the Royal Voluntary Service or RVS).
Set up in 1938, the volunteers undertook a huge range of tasks to keep the country going during the war.  From knitting with dog hair (!) to organising new homes for those bombed out to teaching mending to the Army. 
There is now a project called The Hidden Histories of a Million Wartime Women which aims to digitise the 300,000 diary entries in the archive's collection.  This archive, according to UNESCO is comparable to Charles I's death warrant or the Doomsday Book.  How amazing is that?
But as ever, cash is needed to continue the project and give public access.  Many of our smaller genealogical archives are being digitised by companies such as Ancestry and whilst these are excellent services, they are not a) cheap or b) freely available to all as something like this absolutely should be.
The RVS need to raise at least £25,000 for digital access to progress.  There are so many worthy causes in the world.  Too many.  But in terms of the amounts spent on weapons, insane fashions or cars, private jets or rare paintings, £25,000 is a relatively small amount, isn't it? 
A quick Google, reveals that in recent years a number of paintings have sold for over $150 million each.  The most expensive was a Gauguin at $300 million.  So that's one person or company.  Buying one item.  For them alone to enjoy.  For $300 million.
There is a crowd funding account on Kickstarter for this project.  If you can donate, brilliant.  But more than that, please share this blog or the BBC article and question why someone cannot sacrifice a couple of couture gowns or a portion of a week's crazy salary to ensure this archive is saved. 
Memories like those contained in these diaries are irreplaceable.  More than that, though, everyone should be able to see them and to realise what these women did.

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