Monday, 16 January 2012

The BBC Domesday Project

Any of you older farts remember the Domesday project? The BBC funded desire to collate a picture of the times from the efforts of schoolchildren and locals, and then parcel it up in an expensive laser disk that they'd flog back to schools.

I was in Germany at the time, but we still got a single laser disk player and a copy of the Domesday project at our school (St Andrew's, JHQ, Rheindahlen) to keep us in touch with the motherland.

Being a bit of a Sheldon Cooper, I found Primary school work to be a piece of piss and so was frequently sent out to work on the computers with my more intellectual friends or else we'd become bored and disruptive. We used to sit at the single Domesday project BBC Master machine and, with open mouthed wonder, explore the UK.

I'm busily exploring what I consider to be my hometown of Barnsley...Now, the Domesday project was a product of 1986, so it makes very interesting reading when you open up documents penned by children who are repeating their fathers words (the teachers seemed to just ask children to take some pictures, and ask people in their area about the area...So it's easier to ask dad). Already seen numerous pieces about the miners strike, distilled through a 6 year olds mind.

It's all rather fascinating, 86 being the turning point when the economy got going again and unemployment began to tumble, but poor Barnsley was in the process of being fucked by the death of its key industry in coal mining.

Have also wandered around various former RAF bases and seen how kids interpret their dads jobs. Very telling point about all the Chief Techs being made redundant because there was too many of them at one base, it happens a certain length of time after a recruitment freeze...The promotion goes on, but there aren't enough people at the bottom of the pyramid. Also a wing commanders daughter interviewed her dad...He had an easy life that seemed to consist of cups of tea, eating, and answering the telephone. Ah the Cold War, lots of sitting around waiting for the balloon to go up, and going on oodles of adventure training (piss-ups and paintball) at taxpayers expense.

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