Background of Living Archive

Pioneer Tales book
Pioneer Tales book
Hawtin Mundy
Hawtin Mundy
The Rockets
The Rockets

Milton Keynes, fifty miles north of London is the United Kingdom’s fastest growing new town. Change has been a way of life for more than 50 years. A rural population has watched its old landmarks disappear. Newcomers have left their family and friendship support networks behind as they have moved to brand-new housing estates.

The challenges

How do you help the old-time residents retain pride in their lives and histories that seem to be being destroyed in the name of progress? How do you give the new arrivals the experience of coming into a place which has a past as well as a future? These were the challenges which led to the establishment of Living Archive. It is a creative cultural and community development organisation whose Documentary Arts work is inspired by people’s memories. It has developed its activities over the last 35 years and was formally established in 1984.

Lives inspiring art and education

Using local lives and events as their starting point, Living Archive has created the most powerful expression of Milton Keynes’ social history: 11 large-scale musical documentary plays; over 100 films; over 20 books based on local reminiscence; photographic exhibitions; radio and video documentaries; sculpture events; community textile projects; dance shows; webpage design and creation; and digital stories. Local people of all ages and backgrounds have been actively involved in all stages of this work – in interviewing, research, in writing, performing, creating songs and music, sewing textiles, making costumes and stage props, organising exhibitions, editing books, and creating websites.

Read our Business Plan for 2019 – 2022 and the Chair’s Report for 2018 – 2019 by clicking on the PDFs below.


Comments about this page

  • Hello Was interested to find this site on the web.
    I worked for Milton Keynes DevelopmentCorp from 1972 to 1978 and have fond memories of my time there. I worked with Peter Waugh and my friend Penny Yeo worked for Peter Waterman. Then worked for Bill Mather.
    I knew the area around Wavendon Tower walking to the village of Wavendon and the nursery in that lovely village. We moved away from Woburn Sands 21 years ago and was sad when returning to see Wavendon now a huge housing estate…which swallowed all my memories of that era.
    So many changes… so glad we moved to Norfolk! !
    Is Wavendon Tower still there? If so hope it retained it’s original features.

    By Lynda Hougham (30/03/2019)

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