Posted by Jack
Last Sunday we hosted an event to explore Jewish Family History. The local Jewish community had invited David Jacobs from the Jewish Museum in London who had a rich set of starting points from his own book collection and from the Jewish Chronicle. There is clearly a fantastic local history project waiting to happen.
One small example was a directory from 1893, listing 6 people engaged in the watchmaking industry. A quick chat with a curator suggests that only one of these is known to us. This feels like a lovely example of community history – adding a new layer of detail to the Coventry’s existing story. Given watchmaking is a key part of our history gallery display, it would be great to find a way of making this knowledge available to our visitors.
So often the history of a minority community focuses on the biggest or oldest examples, such as the Chinese community in Liverpool or the London East-End Jews. I think exploring the stories of these same groups in Coventry is often more representative of the wider UK experience – smaller communities without great buildings and long held links.
I like the small histories. They never seem to make it onto the History Channel, but they make the past ring true.