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Can you recall the controversy?

By John Lavery

Today Rutland Water is a thriving leisure destination and seen as a beautifully scenic location and a haven for wildlife, but it was not always so popular.

When controversial plans were first mooted in the 1960s to create a huge reservoir by flooding an area of rural Rutland, roughly three per cent of the county, there was an understandable backlash and a passionate campaign was launched to oppose the plans.

Ultimately that campaign failed, the local argument defeated by the national need for an increased water supply, and Rutland Water was formally opened in 1976, with the old villages of Nether Hambleton and Middle Hambleton being erased from the map to make way for the reservoir.

Now Rutland Community Ventures (RCV), a not-for-profit media production company, wants to hear from anyone who can recall the controversy or who was actually involved in the campaign as part of a Heritage Lottery funded project to create a digital archive of Rutland.

RVC has won a £9,900 National Lottery award to support this unique community project, which will tell the story of the building of Rutland Water using video interviews with those involved, and digitised film, audio and video tape, documents and maps.

Once the project is completed later this year, the resulting video documentary and digitised material of the ‘Don’t Drown Our County!’ archive will be shared freely with the public on YouTube and social media in a series of village events, and at special exhibitions in villages and at Rutland County Museum.

Freelance researcher Tim Coxall is working on the project for RCV.

He said: “We are building up a list of people to interview and through social media we are getting a lot of people coming forward, but there are more out there who have a story to tell.

“The creation of Rutland Water was a big event in the history of Rutland and very controversial. People felt very strongly about it and we want to hear the memories of those who were there at the time or who were actively involved with the campaign.”

If you can recall the controversy, or were involved with the campaign, Rutland Community Ventures want you to share your memories of one of the most significant moments in Rutland’s history, contact them at info@rutlandcommunityventures.uk.

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