A printed 18th centruy card announcing, "This book belongs to Pratt and Marshalls Circulating Library" A printed 18th centruy card announcing, "This book belongs to Pratt and Marshalls Circulating Library" Show image info

Book plate for Pratt and Marshalls Circulating Library, ref: Local Studies trade card 266

Learning Workshop Leader's Introduction

I’m delighted that these stories, poems and essays, produced by members of St John’s Foundation Creative Writing Groups, have been published here for all to enjoy.

It was an absolute pleasure to work with Michael Loveday and his writing students on behalf of Bath Record Office.  I have never been in doubt about the power of heritage to inspire creativity.  These varied, personal and richly descriptive written responses to engagement with items from the archive collection, are testament to what can be sparked through making connections with local history.

Researching and taking along original items from the collection to group sessions was a real privilege.  These documents and objects included historic maps, an 18th century weather diary, flood photographs, reports of crimes in Edwardian Bath, Georgian editions of The Bath Chronicle, old shop advertisements and cuttings from the Combe Down Stone Mines Stabilisation Project archive.   

The combination of access to original historic material and Michael’s skilled and sensitive teaching led to lots of interesting questions and group discussions.  I enjoyed sharing my passion for local history with the writers.  At the end of one session a member turned to me and said, ‘I shall walk around Bath with whole new eyes after today’.  The perfect response and outcome for this rewarding project.

I hope you enjoy reading these compositions as much as I have done.

Helen Daniels, Learning Workshop Leader