Covid-19 Collection

Kingston History Centre invites you to share your experiences of living during the Covid-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 is a unique situation that is changing the way we live, not only in Kingston but around the world. Through these challenges communities are rallying to offer mutual support, and we are all adapting as best we can. At Kingston History Centre, we are invested in recording the history of the borough - the highs and the lows - so that our experiences can be shared with future generations.     

It is important that we document our borough’s experiences during this challenging time, to ensure that future generations can understand the impact on our residents and their responses, so this can be used for research and to inform future decisions. 

What are we asking you to do?

We are asking residents to record their experiences of the pandemic within the borough, and donate them to the History Centre once we reopen. Your personal record could take many forms: a diary or journal, photographs which demonstrate the impact of the lockdown, video journals or clips, or creative responses in the form of music, art or writing. Diaries, photos or vlogs could be long or short - all we ask is that they are true to your personal experience. 

Please DO NOT leave your home to take photographs or gather materials to donate to the History Centre - your safety and wellbeing are most important. We must all do our bit to keep each other safe by staying at home. 

This material can be in physical or digital form, and if you don’t want it to be shared right away we can save it, to be made available at a later date. You can be creative! Record the sound of your street during a #clapforcarers from your window, or photograph the queue when out for your weekly shop. Others are doing mindful activities like taking a photo, doing one drawing each day that represents their day and feelings, or bullet journalling a sentence a day. Your records will provide vital insight to the historians of the future, and ensure that your perspective is recorded. We are keen to hear from people of all ages and backgrounds across the borough, and hope that this may be a way of finding some space for reflection in these difficult times. We are also interested in records from businesses and organisations which are relevant to Kingston: perhaps signs, notices, letters or postcards you have received through your door.

Why are we asking you to do this?

You are an important part of Kingston’s heritage. As well as keeping the official record we want to make sure that your voice is heard in the archives too, so that history will reflect the full story. It is important that generations to come are able to learn and understand this challenging time, and perhaps use the information to inform decisions in the future. We also feel that the act of documenting your experience in mindful and creative ways can have huge benefits to community and individual wellbeing.

What material do we accept?

We can only accept material which is relevant to the Royal Borough of Kingston. We usually only accept unique material unless there are special circumstances. We can accept a wide variety of formats, digital and physical. The History Centre does not generally accept objects, but they could be of interest to Kingston Museum. If you have questions about digital formats or unusual physical formats, please get in touch. We can accept material which contain personal data - please see “How will my information be used?” below. You can also share with us on social media stories on how you’re pulling together during these tough times using  #KingstonStrongerTogether and #UnsungHeroes. If you have any questions about what we can accept, please ask us!

How do I make a donation?

As the History Centre is currently closed, we are asking you to keep hold of your items and bring them in once we reopen. Please do get in touch with us before sending any physical or digital donations. We may need to discuss the format of the item, and what will happen to copyright, and personal information. We prefer to accept items as gifts - this means that ownership of material passes to Kingston History Centre. We can only accept donations with an accompanying donation form; this can be found at bit.ly/covidcollectingform.

How will my information be used?

Many different types of researchers use our collections. We support local historians, genealogists, local communities and businesses, students, schoolchildren, Royal Borough of Kingston staff, artists, actors, architects, and many more! Your donations will be catalogued and stored in appropriate conditions so that they can be found and used by future researchers.

Your personal data is protected under the EU General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act (2018). We can archive material containing personal data in the public interest - please see guidance from The National Archives for more information about exceptions that apply to archive material. If you are worried about people seeing your donation straightaway even if it doesn’t contain personal information, we may be able to discuss a closure period with you.

Contact us at [email protected]