Monday, November 4, 2013

Exploring the Archive: Staff Favourites

However you've made use of Battersea Arts Centre, be you a coffee sipper or Bee's Knees nipper, our artists or our audience, you’ll have noticed that there is something just a bit special about our building. It might be the shiny new sign that lures you inside, the sumptuous smells from the café, or the mosaic floor buzzing about your feet, but it’s hard to step into BAC without the overwhelming feeling that this is the kind of place where history is made… and indeed it is!

It can be quite unbelievable that so much could occur beneath one roof. In the same room that air raid warden Elsie Young’s fingers blistered from gripping a pencil, newly-weds now share their first dance and downward facing dogs escape the bustle of Battersea for a stolen moment of tranquillity. From The Blitz to brides, organs to Orpheus, and poetry to protest, we want to shake out the dust sheets from our past and make all this incredible history a little more tangible. Over the upcoming weeks, we’ll be asking our staff to select their favourite tales from the archive, shining a spotlight on the lesser known stories of our Town Hall home.

This week we begin with Jo Hunter, Capital and Strategy Consultant:
My favourite are the notes from Elsie Young when the bombs were falling on Lavender Hill. They are so evocative and give such a clear picture of what it must have been like. It makes you able to, in some small way, put yourself in her shows. Her detailed description of her bleeding fingers makes your spine shudder... lest we forget.

Listen to Elsie's oral history at our 120 Years of Battersea Town Hall exhibition in the Waiting Room, or read more about her time as an air raid precaution warden here.

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