MX100 Directors Blog 4.10.22

We’re underway again!  The launch for our new project ‘100 Years of Mile Cross’ saw 35 citizen researchers sign up to begin the process of finding stories from the last century of the country’s oldest purpose built social housing estate. From now until the end of the year we will be meeting on fortnightly Thursdays at the community’s beautiful 1930’s library to begin the work, overseen by the brilliant Jeannette Baxter.  Together we will unearth gems that will help us form the websites, walks, displays, plays and processions that are to come in the next 18 months. 

I love this first phase. Over the last few years we’ve become increasingly switched on to research as a creative process in itself, and especially with a group of engaged and enthusiastic citizens.  

The moment things are discovered and shared with one another, the ideas start to fizz. We have barely got started and already the room is full of interest; interest in one another, in the things that motivate us, in the different areas of inquiry that people want to pursue.  

Again we are joined in our endeavours by equally enthusiastic and supportive professionals from the heritage services of the city and county.   For the first session Jonathan D from the Norfolk Record Office gave us an idea of the kinds of things we might, with their guidance,  uncover there. 

There is still really no substitute for the citizen, however.  Jonathan was delighted along with us when last week we learnt from RIchard E, a lifelong resident of the estate, about the names of the Mile Cross lads’ gangs of the late 70’s.  He himself was a part of the (notorious!?) ‘Drayton Rd Chip Shop Boys’. That’s not something you are going to find on any official record!

So there was our first gemstone, already provoking ideas of potential scenes and songs in the future. This will be just one of many, many little surprises, contradictions, questions and answers we will find on the way.

People taking an interest in each other. Gang member or not, I reckon that sounds like a decent way to start building connections in our community!