Localism

An old building in Redhill has been repurposed for modern use

Cherish historic buildings: they can’t go in museums

Our heritage has been in the news recently in various ways. One of the Black Lives Matter protests resulted in the removal of statues celebrating people of the past whose money was made from slavery. The National Trust, and other organisations, have started reopening their historic homes and gardens.

These points are at different ends of the spectrum, but linked. History brings us lessons of evil as well as celebrations of good. It is important to learn about them, either way. Recent events have highlighted that more needs to be written in our school history books about certain characters and their flaws.

Our curriculums are packed with histories of World Wars One and Two. Many people will have learned of Henry VIII, Martin Luther King, or Ghandi. Did you learn of Martin Luther too? As a protestant revolutionary, he’s central to Henry VIII’s story.

Do the depths of those stories evade us or resonate? Few people in history were cleaner than clean, if we choose to stop and study them. Few modern heroes are, either. Many have some vice by modern standards.

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How lockdown has instilled a sense of localism

A favourite jacket’s zip broke. So did a one on a plastic, but reusable, cover on a small greenhouse. What should I do? What would you do?

One option was to throw them away, to buy afresh – online – and keep major clothing and gardening chains in business. Another option was to mend.

Neither needed fixing urgently. The jacket was for days that are colder than summer. The greenhouse has done its work this year, nurturing seedlings that are now planted out. It would seem shameful to discard not just its plastic but metal structure, just because the zip had failed.

So I waited, through lockdown, for a local mender to reopen. I took both items to them – the greenhouse request being an unusual one – and asked them to fit new zips.

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