Welcome to the basingstoke.wiki about page
This page gives more detail about the basingstoke.wiki website.
The creator and administrator of basingstoke.wiki is Andrew Watten. The following text is a quote from him about this sites inception:
"I moved to Basingstoke in December 2002, as my job had relocated here. Unfortunately, three months later, my department then relocated to London. I had just bought my first house and with no chance of affording London house prices, I had to endure the 4-hour daily commute. All this commuting left me little time to get to know Basingstoke and integrate into the community. From 2016 I finally managed to start working, a few days a week, in the Basingstoke office. This time coincided with my girlfriend moving in with me. In the few weeks that she was there, she managed to do several activities in the library and do some local history walks around the town. She had learnt more about the town in a few weeks than I did in almost 15 years. I was filled with regret at all the time I had missed. This was mostly down to long work hours and commuting, but I felt I could have made more of an effort.
In 2020, the Covid lockdown happened and I ended up working from home. This gave us substantially more time to explore our local area. We joined the Basingstoke History Facebook group and soon ended up learning a lot more about the town. This group contained a lot more history than you would find in a book as it included peoples photographs, personal accounts and memories. Although this group was good, it did not seem the best method to store this information as you tend to only see the latest posts. This led to repeated postings or posts vanishing as we didn't know what to search for.
As we were now inspired by the local history, we manage to buy some old documents relating to the town. It turned out that, although rare, these were not unique and copies were held in the Hampshire Archives. These archives were closed during Covid so we went to their website hoping to find more details. Personally I had hoped all the information had been scanned in, in high resolution, so all the records could be studied online, however this was not the case. With all this information sitting in archives, on Facebook, in peoples houses etc. there needed to be a way to bring it all together. Several books have tried to do this, but they could never contain all the information or keep up with the constant new information. A wiki would be an ideal method to join all this information together. I had been building wiki sites since 2015 so I knew their capabilities and how to approach creating the structure for one about Basingstoke.
Where books tend to just have one or two authors, a wiki could have thousands of authors. This leads to a much greater volume of work being produced and cross-checking capabilities. There are downsides such as site vandalism, but these can be reduced by vetting the contributers. In 2020 I bought the basingstoke.wiki domain, but shortly after this, my second child was born and I ran out of time do do anything with it.
The intention of the website was to be a proper wiki, like Wikipedia, but for Basingstoke and with a special emphasis on history. After several years of trying, it was evident this was not going to work. There were many technical limitations and I would have had to spend significantly more time and money in order to realise the project fully. With a growing family and limited resources, I decided to scale things back. In July 2023 I reverted to a very basic website with no flashy graphics or effects. This is now just a way to convey information to anyone who is interested.
In the future, If I get more time and money, I hope to get the wiki reestablished. Until then, I hope visitors to the website will find the pages compelling and inspire them to take more interest in local history. If you have any queries then please email me at email@example.com"