As people get older, houses tend to get more cluttered. It’s not necessarily that people collect more; it’s that they don’t tend to throw stuff away. Children are often to blame too. When they leave home they never quite take all their belongings with them and often their paraphernalia gets stored in boxes in the attic on the premise that they will retrieve it some time in the future.
For the hoarders amongst us, these accumulations over the years will often tell a story. The longer a person lives, the longer the story gets. The items are often pieces of ephemera, old books, artefacts, pieces of furniture that ordinarily would be thrown away with the household rubbish or broken up but for some reason they are kept. It may be an article in a local newspaper, cards sent to love ones during the two World Wars, miners’ lamps and tuck boxes, coal scuttles, the odd antique chair bought from a Preston antiques market.
Local history is often something that becomes lost over time and artefacts like these from people’s garages and attics can often fill in some of the gaps. In Wigan, people are being encouraged to bring out anything of importance that they have kept and feel is representative of the local history of Leigh and Wigan. These pieces will be put on display at a local heritage exhibition and it is hoped that some of the gaps in Wigan’s local history will be unearthed. Already there have been some rare finds.
So the next time any of us feel pressurised to empty out the garage or attic, we should take a good long look at what we have, and if there is a local historian around, why not invite them in for tea and show them around.
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