The NEHL was created to be the answer to a problem...
Why don't we all have access to decent, modern, engaging local history resources?
Hi, I'm Kieran
I started the North East Heritage Library in May 2020, when the first COVID lockdown started. I had finished university a few years earlier, and was struck by the limitations and paywalls faced by those who just want to understand and learn. Opportunities to use modern and accessible local history resources are few and far between without going to a library or stumping up for the costs of a hefty subscription service.
This instantly creates a barrier for history lovers, and is why many resort to the ease of creating local heritage groups and social media pages to satisfy their want to learn. Without doubt they have a place, and tons of knowledgeable people share their wisdom for nothing. I still find issues with them though - they are vastly unregulated, and some provide little space or structure for reasoned friendly discussion and objectivity.
This is why I started the project. I wanted to produce a resource which everyone can access with no financial barrier and without fear of alienation. Since beginning the project we've made active efforts to reach out to people from any background and education to write for us, as well as make our website as visually engaging and accessible as possible. Whether it be using maps, drone photography or by simply being approachable for discussion or questions. Twitter has been my way of doing this, and I hope everyone feels the space we've created allows for discussion and curiosity.
I'm in my mid 20s now - a father of one working a full time job too. I appreciate even more the barriers people face who might not have time to sift through a paper or bypass 4 pages of Google searches to enrich their curiosity. For the people who live hectic lives but just want to sit down for 5 minutes and explore what was once down the street - I hope this helps.
Thanks, and happy history hunting!