Great Wharton visits York

Image of Ron Cooke Hub building at the University of York

Ron Cooke Hub, University of York

Last week a few of us from The National Archives attended Common Ground, the AHRC Commons‘ first national event, held at the University of York.

We were there to present Great Wharton, our fictional Home Front town, and share our approach to the project.

Common Ground is a collaboration between archives, universities, museums, libraries and other organisations working in education, arts and humanities and the heritage and cultural sectors. It was an excellent opportunity to meet with people from across the UK, share knowledge and take part in various workshops, presentations and activities, all in the spirit of collaboration. It was a fascinating day and it was encouraging to see so many organisations taking part. We’re very much looking forward to returning to Common Ground in future years to show other innovative and creative projects.

As well as discussing how we created a fictional town – where the idea came from, how we researched and edited little-known Home Front stories, how we tackled the challenges of developing a website in an iterative way – we had the chance to ask people what they thought of it. In March Sarra Hamdi blogged about user-testing our Great Wharton prototype, and continuous user feedback has informed the creation of the fully-responsive and accessible resource, which we presented at Common Ground.

We’d love to hear your thoughts too. You can explore the public beta of Great Wharton and give your feedback (you’ll find a link to a survey at the top of the page:

Image of a section of Great Wharton

Screenshot of Great Wharton

And if you want to know more, we’ll be writing another post covering the design and development process in greater detail soon.


  1. Jacqueline Davis says:

    My grandfather served in the Russian Labour Corps. His name was Marks Davis . His regimental no was 558504. The story goes he served in the Somme. I’ve never been able to verify that.

    It would add one more story to my family history if you could tell this is true.

    1. Nell Brown (Admin) says:

      Hi Jacqueline,

      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately we’re unable to help with research requests on the blog, but if you go to our contact us page: you’ll see how to get in touch with our record experts via phone, email or live chat.

      I hope that helps.


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