There was a good turn out for the celebration event to mark the end of the successful Quarry Faces community heritage project, held at the Somerset Earth Science Centre on May 15th. The event also saw the launch of the project’s history of quarrying in the Mendips.
The book has over 400 illustrations, including many historic photographs contributed by local people. Quarry Faces: The Story of Mendip Stone is available from local bookshops and museum shops.
Over the past three years the Quarry Faces team has held workshops at 13 schools, given more than 60 talks to local organisations, put on three exhibitions, and organised guided walks for the Frome Festival and Mendip Rocks. The response of the local community to Quarry Faces has been wonderful, a large number of people coming forward with information and photographs. Over 1,000 images have digitised and will be added to the Quarry Faces archive at the Somerset Heritage Centre. The project has also created an archive of oral history interviews, a selection from which are available on a CD. The team would like to thank the local schools, community organisations and businesses for their help in providing information about the history of local quarries and making the project such a success.
Robin Thornes explains, ‘We had an overwhelming response to our plea for photographs and memories. These have helped enormously to piece together the history of this little studied industry that has significantly affected the lives of many who live and work in the area.’
Ruth Worsley, the projects education coordinator added, ’Local schools were involved with a successful intergenerational project, taking on the role of junior reporters interviewing older members of the community. Some of the stories collected have now been created into a CD called Stories in Stones.’ CDs are now available at the Somerset Earth Science Centre. Send a large SAE and a cheque for £2 made payable to ‘Somerset Earth Science Centre’, Moons Hill Quarry, Mendip Road, Stoke St Michael, BA3 5JU. An educational resource has also been developed and is available for loan by schools from the Centre. A series of activities, photographs, maps, old currency, ‘dynamite’, and Victorian quarry workers clothes are contained within an original Quarry explosives box. Schools wishing to borrow the resource should ring the centre on 01749 840156 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The project would not have been possible without a team of 15 volunteers who helped run events, school visits, set up exhibitions, edit interviews and scan photographs.