The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire)
Archivists appeal for north-east residents to keep Covid-19 diaries
Archivists have suggested people with extra time on their hands should keep diaries about their experience of the coronavirus pandemic, so future generations can learn of life under lockdown.
Aberdeen City Council’s archive department holds records of previous public health emergencies, from the plague in medieval times through to the 20thCentury Spanish flu and typhoid outbreaks.
Now, local historians are keen to ensure a record of the north-east’s experience of this current national emergency is created.
People of all ages are urged to consider keeping a diary in the coming weeks and months, to be submitted to the archive when the crisis is over.
They want entries written the traditional way with pen and paper, via digital format, audio recordings and even photo-diaries.
To give an idea of how such a hobby could become enshrined as snippets of social history, archive staff published entries written by Aberdeen pupils during the Second World War as part of an English exam.
The essays, titled “things I miss in wartime” showed how children felt as the conflict raged.
One student wrote: “The chief things I miss in war time are the food stuff and Guy Fawkes night on the 5th of November.
“Foodstuffs are sometimes very scarce, such as butter because it takes two-and-a-half gallons of milk to make one pound of butter.
“Another is syrup, which is now rationed at half a pound per person for a month.”
Another youngster wrote: “There are many things which we cannot get owing to the war, and some things we are rationed with.
“Among them are sugar, tea and fats, which are very scarce.
“I used to enjoy having in the evenings a walk past the lighted windows of the large shops in the main streets of the town.
“Sometimes, we went to the seaside or had a picnic in the country or in a park, but nowadays we hardly ever have any picnics, though we often go to the park where we spend some of our most happy hours.”
Some pupils mentioned cakes, chocolates and “fancy biscuits” they could no longer come by – while others lamented missing family members.
An entry read: “But one thing I miss most of all is my father who in the Royal Air Force.
“I miss him because he took me down to help him with his work. At night we would have gone to the pictures.
“I can’t even get to the carnivals because they are closed until after the war.
“But we will stick it out.” More information on where to submit the entries will be released in due course.