In 1986, 900 years after William the Conqueror’s original Domesday Book, the BBC published the Domesday Project. The project was probably the most ambitious attempt ever to capture the essence of life in the United Kingdom. Over a million people contributed to this digital snapshot of the country.
People were asked to record what they thought would be of interest in another 1000 years.
The whole of the UK – including the Channel Islands and Isle of Man – was divided into 23,000 4x3km areas called Domesday Squares or “D-Blocks”.
Schools and community groups surveyed over 108,000 square km of the UK and submitted more than 147,819 pages of text articles and 23,225 amateur photos, cataloguing what it was like to live, work and play in their community.
This was about documenting everyday life – the ordinary rather than the extraordinary.
The full Silverdale section, including images and maps, can be found here.
Silverdale,once known as Knutton Heath, was probably so called because of the silver birch trees growing in the valley which lies about two miles west of Newcastle-Under-Lyme. Iron was mined here as early as 1680 and William Sneyd of Keele owned a forge in Knutton where the iron was flattened and sold for the manufacture of frying pans. There are still traces of the old slag heaps and mine shafts around the village, but today there is only one coal mine, where many of the local men are employed.
The rows of terraced houses which made up the centre of the village, have now been largely demolished, and replaced by a shopping complex and park. In the 1950s Park Site estate was built to accommodate Durham miners who moved to this area. (1986 – www.bbc.co.uk/history/domesday)