On-line database of stories from Shaftesbury war memorials
Today, Armistice Day, we launched a web site of which I am very proud.
In October 2014 I was approached by the Gold Hill Museum to discuss a Heritage Lottery funded project to research the personal stories and experiences of people from Shaftesbury and the surrounding villages during the Great War.
What was needed was a new web site with database of all the stories collected about the people named on war memorials in and around Shaftesbury that were in the Great War, 1914 – 1918.
The first thing to do was up date the Shaftesbury Gold Hill Museum site. It was a nice looking site but was static html that could not handle what we wanted to do. It also needed updating so it would work on mobile phones and tablets. In June 2015 we went live. Here is what we came up with:
By late 2016 it turned out that the new Gold Hill Museum site was being used so enthusiastically by some members of the Shaftesbury and District Historical Society that it was going to cause problems running the database on the web site as planned. I made the decision then to split it into two sites. I duplicated the Gold Hill Site and stripped out the war memorial stuff from the GHM site and the GHM stuff from the Great War site.
I created the Custom Fields needed for the stories within the new site and all tested okay. The next problem was that all the information gathered by the team from the war memorials was stored on an Excel spread sheet. With over 300 stories (currently 328) this was going to be a huge task to carry across manually so we installed a plugin to import into the database. It took some configuring but on the 30th January 2017 the import worked perfectly. We were good to go.
The launch today at Gold Hill Museum went very well with 80+ people attending including the Mayor and his wife. After 3 years in the making it will be good to see how it progresses from here. We have already had people, Googling the names of their relatives, finding the site from as far away as Australia while the site was in beta test. These people sent more information for us to add to the site as hopefully will all the new visitors that read about the site in the press and on social media.
Lest We Forget
Keri Jones talks to
the Shaftesbury Remembers team.