Oral history company On the Record gets grant money for The Housmans: 60 years of Books and Activism project

Housmans Bookshopon the Caledonian Road has won an award for best independent bookshop. Staff Lis Gr

Housmans Bookshopon the Caledonian Road has won an award for best independent bookshop. Staff Lis Groenveld and Nik Gorelki - Credit: Archant

An oral history company has received a grant of £87,500 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for a heritage project about a 60-year-old Cally bookshop’s radical heritage.

On the Record, which specialises in oral history that inspires social change, will tell the story of preeminent progressive store Housmans Bookshop, in Caledonian Road.

The Housmans: 60 years of Books and Activism will engage young people, aged between 18-25, as volunteers. They will carry out research, conduct interviews and collect and digitise an archive dedicated to the fascinating building and the diverse group of organisations and individuals that have passed through its doors since 1959.

They will help write and perform site-specific theatre based on the stories they have uncovered. Housmans bookshop will host these performances, a sound installation, and several discussion events based around its history. A full history of the building will also be published.

Nik Gorecki, co-manager of Housmans bookshop says "With sixty years of history under our collective belts there are so many important stories to be told, and many individuals involved in the earlier days are sadly already no longer with us. This anniversary year is a perfect moment to do justice to all those decades of work, and in some cases is a last chance to get the history verbatim from those who were there."

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Stuart McLeod, director London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, added: "Sharing stories is vital to keeping our heritage alive and available for future generations. From its books to the groups who have passed through its doors, Housmans is a treasure trove of stories on social history and social change, thanks to National Lottery players we are pleased to support this project."

On the Record will be recruiting volunteers and a youth theatre coordinator soon - register your interest by contacting rosa@on-therecord.org.uk

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