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A step back in time

17 May 2022

The Historical Association has designated the month of May as Local and Community History month. The Association is encouraging us to share information and raise awareness about the history of our communities and local areas and, if you like the idea of uncovering some hidden gems about your area, there are some amazing TV programmes that could spark a few ideas of where and how to start.   

Perhaps you only need to step out into your back garden to unearth hidden secrets. The Great British Dig: History in Your Back Garden (More 4 and Channel 4) is all about community archaeology and features a team of expert archaeologists who excavate back gardens around Britain. Imagine what you might uncover beneath your lawn and flower beds. 

You could explore your local area in the same way as the Repair Shop presenter Jay Blades in No Place Like Home (Channel 5). The presenter has been revisiting his childhood neighbourhood in Hackney, London. History truly was discovered on his doorstep as Jay learned that the places where he played as a boy were the scene of air-raids, riots and gangland funerals.

Local underground history is revealed through the Secrets Of The London Underground (Yesterday). The programme explores the disused parts of London’s tube network and historians have shown us abandoned stations, redundant tunnels and lifts, all of which are often hidden right under passengers’ feet.

If it’s family history you’re interested in, BBC Two’s DNA Family Secrets is a fascinating documentary series that uses DNA testing to find answers to life-changing questions. This genealogy series sees participants taking DNA tests that solve family mysteries around ancestry, missing relatives and genetic disease.

If you still need a little extra inspiration, more history programmes can be found on The Smithsonian Channel including Mystic Britain and Searching For Secrets. There’s also a wealth of history programmes on Yesterday including Abandoned Engineering, the Architecture the Railways Built and Scouting for Toys.  

Whatever you choose to watch to inspire your search, don’t let TV interference spoil your viewing. It may not be an intrepid explorer that’s causing the issue – there’s a small chance it may be due to upgrades to mobile signals and we’re here to help. You can contact us on 0808 13 13 800 (free from UK landlines and mobiles).

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