My High Street, My Heritage

The ‘My High Street, My Heritage’ project gave two groups of young people on opposing sides of London the opportunity to learn about the heritage and evolution of their local high streets.

Key Project Information

Partners: Funded by Heritage Lottery Fund
Participants: 25 young people, aged 13-19
Format: Workshops

Follow this link to watch My High Street, My Heritage Film

Project Overview

My City Too designed and delivered the ‘My High Street, My Heritage’ project enabling young people to explore the architectural heritage of their local high street and understand how it has evolved.

Young people from Havering and Ealing took part in the project, which explored high streets in Acton and Romford. They identified the origins of their high street and reasons for its location, tracked historical changes, learned about the role of the high street as the heart of the community, and how it has influenced its identity.

In Romford and Acton the two separate groups of participants undertook building surveys, and vox-popped local people; participated in archive research workshops and worked with local historical societies, using filming techniques to interpret their findings about design, architecture, heritage and place.


The project aimed to give young people in Havering and Ealing the opportunity to understand the evolution of their local high street in relation to personal and architectural heritage. It aimed to give the two groups to compare and contrast perceptions of local architectural heritage with each other drawing on experience of working with and knowledge gained from local society experts. The project aimed to produce a short film about what the young people have discovered about heritage, copies of which to be given to local historical societies to encourage other young people to learn about heritage. 

Project Detail

Participants were given the opportunity to use creative and multimedia activities to enable them to explore and learn issues related to the heritage of their high streets, through site visits to examine architectural heritage, research gathered from local society experts, as well as stories and information gathered from local residents. The following creative activities were used during the workshops as tools for young people to explore and express their ideas:

  • Site explorations: using cameras and plans
  • Inspirational visits
  • Mapping activities
  • Discussion and debate
  • Research and Comparison activities
  • Filming/ vox popping

The themes and ideas looked at during the workshops were:

1. Understanding Heritage
2. Documenting and Preserving
3. Architectural Legacy 
4. Researching and Mapping


Open-City planned, designed, developed and delivered the workshops alongside young people participating in the My City Too Programme. These workshops focused on the ‘My High Street, My Heritage’ project, and the content was designed to meet the aims and requirements as set out with Heritage Lottery Fund. Open-City worked with the Havering Museum to deliver the workshops, using the Museum as a location, as well as the John Soanes Museum, and the Baptist Youth Centre in Acton.

Open-City produced a short film for the project. The film was made with the young people and explores the heritage of their high streets and highlights of the work carried out in the workshops. Participants were invited to screen their film at the University College London International Documentary film Festival in June 2011. The film was accompanied by an introduction and question and answer session, given by the young people to an audience of 40 people. This has enabled the project to be disseminated to a wider audience than first expected.

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