Clive Reedman

Genealogist and researcher

Like many other volunteers, I came across the idea of volunteering at the Town House following a guided tour, which not only introduced me to the restoration of the house, but also to the My House My Street Project. It was this second element that caught my attention as, for many years now, I have been researching my own family history whilst also studying for a professional qualifications in genealogy.


My professional background before retirement was almost exclusively focused on criminal forensics and the identification of human beings using technology (Biometrics), which has left me with a number of skills that translate well into the world of the genealogical 'detective'.


I started as one of the wonderful team of volunteers transcribing data from street directories, burial records and census returns, but have now moved on to more focused research relating to the history and residents of both the Elm Grove Workhouse and the Warren Farm Industrial School. This work is challenging, but also great fun, and I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to uncover and record the real life stories of people that lived in Brighton & Hove.


My passion is ensuring that we are able to get to know those that went before through the piecing together of known facts about them and placing them into their historical context. Only then can we really say that we understand how these people lived and what drove them. As a genealogist-in-training, I have one overriding objective, which is best summed up by Thomas Hardy in his wonderful poem 'The To Be Forgotten', where he raises the concept of a 'second death'.


"O not at being here;
But that our future second death is near;
When, with the living, memory of us numbs,
And blank oblivion comes!" 


It is my ambition to reverse as often as I can that 'oblivion' that Hardy relates by finding and telling the stories of those that have gone before us.


The environment we work in as volunteers is friendly and a great deal of fun and we all learn a great deal from each other. It isn't about the quantity of data that is produced, but about its quality and the pleasure we all get in preparing it for use and I certainly look forward to the two days a week I now give over to the project.

Photo of volunteer clive Reedman in a red jumper and wearing spectacles