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Volume 73, Spring/Printemps 2011

“Our Home in Harlow”: Building an Identity of Place at a Local History Museum

October 9, 2012


Harlow, Essex was designated a “new town” in 1947 to relieve overcrowding in postwar London. Prior to this urban expansion, Harlow was a small rural village. This paper examines how the town’s local history museum works as a representational space wherein old and modern histories, everyday objects, personal experience and memory form a narrative of Harlow as a place, shaping notions of what it means to belong to the town. As a town made up of two conceptually and spatially distinct parts— old Harlow and Harlow Town—the museum works as a mediator in understandings of place-identity.