COVID-19 Archives

Everyone in our community has been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19).

We will all have a story to tell about how the pandemic has altered our lives. Our lived experience now is something people will want to understand in the future. But how much will we remember? And how will we tell future generations what life was really like?

Once the restrictions are lifted, we may forget, or choose not to dwell on the everyday experiences that make this period in history so unique. We’ll have newspapers and websites to look at, but we want to capture the voices of normal people.

We want to hear from YOU

We’re asking you to record your experiences of life now, as it is happening. We’d love to receive COVID-19 diaries (currently being written) and photographs. The experience of every member of our community is relevant.

We’d like you to record how you are being affected - family life, work, school, shopping, neighbourhood support networks, or any details of life at the moment.

Everyone can play a part and get involved - young and old, school children and adults, workers and those self-isolating at home.

How can I contribute to the COVID-19 Archive?

  • Keep a diary - make a daily or weekly record of life in your local area during the pandemic. This might include photographs and could be digital or on paper
  • Create a scrapbook - include photographs, newspaper cuttings, notes and cards from friends and family, any leaflets you’ve received relating to coronavirus, your own notes and observations. Don’t forget to add dates where possible. This is a particularly good idea for children who may have created a lot of artwork during lockdown - see diary ideas for kids
  • Take some photographs or record a video - capture something unique about the impact of COVID-19 on your local area. This might be the view of your street taken from your garden or from a flat or top floor window. If you’re a key worker, maybe capture something you see while travelling around the borough. Please remember to do so only within government guidelines
  • Songs, poems and sketches - this is a great way of recording your personal experiences. Many stories from generations ago were passed down through songs and storytelling
  • Collecting leaflets and other ephemera - this may be something through the door about a local restaurant delivering meals to the vulnerable, or an email from your local church about the Easter service. Anything local recording the changes to our lives is potentially important for future historians. They’re all valuable and we’d like copies, whether digital or paper
  • 3D objects - you might work for a local firm who switched production to medical PPE supplies and have a design sample, or have created a banner in support of NHS workers. Please let us know what you have.

See guidelines for submissions to find out which format to use when submitting materials.

How do I submit my contribution to the Archive?

You can submit your contributions to Wigan and Leigh Archives by:

  • Emailing archives@wigan.gov.uk
  • Post or in person, once restrictions on movement are lifted. Keep checking this page for address details.

How will we use the Archive?

Building the Archive will give future generations an insight into our lives, but we’ll be keeping in touch in a few ways, including sharing new content with you through our social media pages on a weekly basis.

Over time we’ll be working with our volunteers to decide which material to permanently include in the Archive and thinking about how we can share the Archive more widely, online at Wigan and Leigh Archives or through our venues at The Museum of Wigan Life, Archives and Local Studies and The Fire Within.

Guidelines for submissions

  • Diaries/scrapbooks - send digitally via email by scanning it as a PDF or JPEG, or as Word document OR post/bring in person (once restrictions are lifted) in their original format e.g. notebook, exercise book etc. You can write a short biography at the beginning to introduce yourself and your circumstances OR you may wish to remain anonymous. Either way we can restrict access for a period of time if you do not want something to be made available for the public
  • Photographs - email as a TIFF or JPEG file, with the permission of the copyright holder (if you’re not sure, we can advise)
  • Sound recordings - email as WAV files if possible, with the permission of the copyright holder (if you’re not sure, we can advise)
  • Video recordings - email as MOV or MPEG-4 files if possible, with the permission of the copyright holder (if you’re not sure, we can advise)
  • Artworks - send digitally via email OR post/bring in person on paper (once restrictions are lifted). If submitting in digital format, see file types above
  • 3D objects - email us if you have any objects relating to the pandemic that may be of interest to our collections and we’ll advise you on the next steps.

Terms for submissions

When you contact us or send any material, we’ll get in touch to explain the terms by which we accept any material into the Archives. This allows us to record any wishes you have for the material and ensure everything is properly documented.

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