The Decade of Centenaries timeline website was launched on 20th June at PRONI. The aims of the launch were: to introduce the audience to the website, to use it to showcase the content of local archives and to encourage the audience to undertake their own research. Speakers included Dr Éamon Phoenix, Deirdre MacBride, CRC and Stephen Scarf, PRONI.
The Decade of Centenaries timeline was funded by the NI Community Relations Council as part of its Media Grants Scheme 2013. This web resource reflects the objectives of the CRC’s Remembering the Future – A Decade of Anniversaries initiative and its exploratory, educational and plural principles. A number of local museums and libraries have contributed resources to the website. So a special thank you to PRONI, Royal Ulster Rifles Museum, Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum, Belfast Telegraph, Police Museum, The Linenhall Library, Belfast Central Library, Royal Irish Fusiliers, Ulster Museum, NLI, Tower Museum, The Derry Journal and the Inniskillings Museum.
The idea for the website came from a talk from the CRC’s series of lectures on the Decade of Centenaries. The panel discussion explored the themes of commemoration and celebration of anniversaries. Key points from the discussion were that:
- the events should be viewed as part of a continuum not as separate entities,
- each anniversary is part of our shared history,
- the context of the events gives better understanding,
- there is a lot of information on the web but it is un-editorialised and un-curated.
I felt that a timeline could fulfil these conclusions by bringing the events and authoritative sources of information together into one online space. The Decade of Centenaries timeline represents the Decade of Anniversaries events in an accessible, interactive timeline that explores the history of the North of Ireland from the Redistribution of Seats Act of 1885 to the suspension of the Boundary Commission in 1925. The timeline breaks the key events down into a series of smaller, interrelated incidents and uses artefacts, documents, newspapers and photographs to recount this tumultuous period in Irish history.
The timeline explores the broader social and political circumstances of each event and places it in the context of Irish, British and European history. Radical social, geo-political and technical changes over the intervening century makes it necessary to provide information about the historical background to events, such as the empire, poverty, working conditions, industry, voting rights and the class system of Victorian/Edwardian society.
The website uses images to act as a gateway into historical events and topics of the Decade of Centenaries. The timeline is made up of thumbnail images. Each image represents an event. These are arranged in chronological order from 1885 – 1925. The events are independent of each other, so you can dip in and out or work you way through them chronologically.
- Clicking on an image opens up an illustrated fact-file for that event.
- Use the arrow keys on either side of each entry to move chronologically through events. Clicking on the image in a fact-file opens up a full screen version of that image.
• Images have been sourced from local museums and libraries, newspapers, PRONI & NLI and selected for their ability to elucidate some aspect of the event.
- The timeline contains events on a wide range of subject matter from Home Rule to voting rights to shipbuilding. The Topics page contains the full list themes included in the website.
- Selecting a topic provides a sub-section of the timeline that focuses on that particular theme.
Again, clicking on a thumbnail will open up an illustrated fact-file, now within the Home rule category. The arrow keys will now move sequentially through events only within that topic.
Each fact-file is categorised by topic, clicking on the topic (on the blue background) links to a sub-section of the timeline containing only events within that topic.
The timeline aims to introduce and engage people with the Decade of Centenaries rather than to provide a definitive account of each event, therefore the website facilitates onward learning journeys via links and references to educational resources and venues. The website highlights some of the great content in our local archives and will hopefully drive people to investigate these sources further.
- The Venues page features a list of local locations that contain artefacts or exhibits from the period 1885 -1925. These venues have been arranged by county. Each image is credited, click on the credit to find out more about the source venue or website.
- The Links page provides a list of trustworthy websites, categorised by topic, that relate to the events or subjects within the timeline.
The website is aimed at a broad range of knowledge and abilities from teenagers upwards. This timeline is produced to be used on a PC or tablet at home by a single user or in community groups and schools.