Somerset

BBC Domesday Reloaded paints picture of Somerset in 2011

Market at Birnbeck Pier
Image caption Birnbeck Pier had a popular market in 1986

Do you remember the Domesday project run by the BBC in 1986?

We asked people across Britain to help paint a picture of life here in the mid-1980s.

It was inspired by the epic Domesday book commissioned in 1085 by William the Conqueror, who invaded England in 1066.

He wanted to find out how much land and resources were owned in England, so he could raise tax on it.

Back in the 1980s, the BBC divided an Ordnance Survey map of the UK into 3km by 4km rectangles, called D-blocks.

These areas were allocated to schools, Women's Institute groups, scout troops and - sometimes - enthusiastic individuals.

The BBC asked these people "to capture and record the life and landscape of the 1980s in their area, using photos and text."

Valuable insight

Some 9,000 of the blocks were completed, generating 24,000 images and 150,000 pages of text.

In Somerset, people commented on everything from the big issues affecting their localities to the seemingly trivial - all of which give us a valuable insight into life 25 years ago.

Groundbreaking 'failure'

Domesday 1986 was a groundbreaking project and hugely successful at gathering information.

But in one important aspect it was a failure: the data was preserved on then state-of-the-art laser discs and was never accessible to the public.

Now that is going to be put right as the BBC finally publishes all of the 1986 Domesday community data online.

It's a fantastic record of life a quarter of a century ago - and we did it all without the help of email and the internet, so the potential to gather information in 2011 is enormous.

Image caption In 1986, the vandalism of phone boxes was a problem

The BBC is asking you to help paint a picture of what life is like in the UK in 2011, compared with 25 years ago.

Britain has been split up again - using the same grid - for Domesday Reloaded, which runs until November.

We want you to explore the photos and articles from 1986 to find out how life in Britain has changed today... and how some things have stayed the same.

Maybe you have information or an image which can update what was submitted in 1986? This can all be done via the Domesday Reloaded website.

Collectively, these many small stories should reveal a bigger social history of Britain over the last quarter of a century.

Everything we gather will be preserved for future generations at The National Archives in Kew.

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