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Digging up your own past
I did a DBA on a site in Dalston, East London. My father was able to tell me that the building next door was destroyed by the Luftwaffe in 1944, because it was a pencil factory and he and all the other local children got lots of free colouring pencils.
Got the condition on the shopping centre and I had a call from a very baffled archivist as they had no machine that could play the file type of the dvds from the shopping centre security. We managed to get copies of the necessary software from the security company.

I have recommended recording whilst the buildings are in use a couple of times now, most recently for a market which was to be redeveloped. Nice big pack of photographs of each stall with the stall holders, info on each stall, some taped (well MP3s now) interviews with stallholders and market users and all the usual stuff about the buildings - wide range of age and function.
I vaguely remember a paper by Frank Green of Test Valley fame (at perhaps a TAG conference) on an evaluation carried out on a former Baptist Chapel about to be converted into a Tandoori restaurant. The point of the exercise was to undertake the work without disturbing the graveyard or crypt burials in the building. The title of the paper/gist of the talk was concerned with the fact that his grandfather was buried in said chapel.

"building next door was destroyed by the Luftwaffe in 1944, because it was a pencil factory "

Tom, did the Luftwaffe target pencil factories in an attempt to disrupt the military use of coloured pencils to mark up maps or was this 'collateral damage' from them trying to hit something else??
Strange what comes to you at times. Worked on a burial site that had also ended up as a 20th C rubbish dump. Found a still legible telephone directory from the 30's. Managed to find my paternal grandfathers listing. He had only lived in this particular city for a couple of months and died when my father was quite young so never met him. Just another one of those strange moments in life!!

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