Postcard to Preston is a new collaborative artwork by me, Laura Jamieson, and the people of Preston.
In 2013 whilst working on Preston Remembers, the WW1 centenary project for Preston, I was lucky enough to see the original forms that Preston families submitted to apply for their loved ones names to be included on the Harris Roll of Honour. The forms hold fascinating information, from addresses and occupation before the war, to last comments from their family and details of injuries. For me they brought the lists of names alive, I could start to imagine the lives of these men and the impact their deaths had on their friends and families. What made it more real was finding addresses of a number of men from my own street. It made me think about how indiscriminate the war was, if I’d have lived in my house during the war, I would have known a number of people that didn’t make it back. It was as though the war created an accidental community of people who were joined only by the terrible circumstance of losing somebody they loved.
Before working on Preston Remembers I had no idea of the stories embedded in the walls and streets I lived. War is an abstract concept unless you live through one, it’s a distant experience that is told in books, films and far away news features. I wanted to speak to other people who also live at the addresses listed and ask if they knew the history of their homes and streets, and so the idea for Postcard to Preston was born.
Throughout Feb 2016 I sent out individual works of art in the form of postcards to each of the 2000 addresses listed on the Harris Roll of Honour. I wanted to honour the life of each man listed, share the secret history with the people who live there now and build up a new community that reflects Preston today, linked only by being the recipients of a single postcard.
Those that received a postcard were invited to tell me something about their family. Please visit this page for more information.
On the map page of this site you can see the digitally map addresses of those houses either still standing, or have a new house on the same site.
The work culminated in an exhibition at the Harris in April 2016 and a publication, free to all those who take part.