London Region of U3As

Shared Learning Projects

Welcome to London Region Shared Learning Projects: The Coordinator for Shared Learning Projects in the London Region is Jo Walters. For SLP-related enquiries contact Jo - her details are on the CONTACT page.

Shared Learning Projects (SLPs) provide an opportunity for u3a members to work in partnership with institutions such as museums, galleries, universities, libraries, archives, stately homes and institutes. We offer our time, energy and expertise in return for an opportunity to engage actively in research or some other enterprise to the mutual benefit of all involved. We also have lots of fun.

General information: with a long restricted winter in prospect, we are planning a variety of projects based on the findings of the recent u3a’s survey of the nation’s high streets and shopping areas. These may be individual or collaborative projects. Some will be local and others will give us opportunities to work together with other u3a’s and institutions across the UK. Your thoughts and ideas on this would be appreciated.
New or Ongoing SLPs:

Post Office Museum: we've had a request for volunteers to work with the Post Office Museum on some interesting archive work. Full details here: Post Office Museum

Our 1901 Postal Pensioners' Project: Under the guidance of researchers from King’s College London, u3a members in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland are tracking down the life histories of pensioners who retired from the Post Office in 1901. To help with this, we’re currently scouting for u3a family history enthusiasts who would be willing to help out with short Zoom sessions giving tips and advice for our researchers. We’re particularly interested in hearing from those with experience researching hospital records, school records, parish registers or postal directories. If you want to get involved, please email

Kew Gardens Register Books "Travelling Plants" invites volunteers from u3a to take part in a collaborative project to transcribe, research and encode the first of Kew Gardens' Register Books (1793-1809), funded by The National Archives. Volunteers will work with staff from Kew Gardens and the University of Roehampton to create a digital edition of a key source for the history of botany in Britain. We welcome volunteers with interests in botany, gardening, history, exploration, computer coding and/or editing, but we don't require any particular expertise - just a desire and willingness to learn along with us. We will provide training in all aspects of the project via online seminars and tutorials beginning in February 2021. We will be on hand to support you throughout the project period, which concludes in December 2021 with a launch of the digital edition at Kew Gardens. A printable version can be seen here: Kew Gardens
For more information, email us at:

6th SLP at Langdon Down Museum: 6th SLP at Langdon Down Museum: Normansfield and the written word: Correspondence and Newspapers. Leader Jen Cobb. Commenced September 2019. This is the 6th collaboration with curator Ian Jones-Healey at Langdon Down Museum of Learning Disability. A good deal of research has been undertaken, but this project is currently suspended. It will be completed when our volunteers and the curator can get together again next year. More information here: Langdon Down Museum

Collaboration with Guardian Newspaper Foundation: Leader Jennifer Simpson. We have undertaken transcriptions of the pitman shorthand notebooks of Clyde Sanger who worked as an African correspondent for the Guardian in the 1960’s. 30 volunteers from different parts of England are currently transcribing individual notebooks. They are in touch with each other by Zoom and email to compare notes and support each other. The project ends 31st December 2020. More information here: Guardian
Completed SLPs
The Power of Petitioning in 17th Century England: September 2019 – March 2020. Leader Peter Cox. This was a 6 month collaboration with Birkbeck University. 6 teams of volunteers investigated the transcribed petitions, researching the petitioners and their communities. The presentation of the findings, due in April 2020 was postponed. It will now take place in spring 2021.

The Cary Ellison Theatre Programme Collection: Summer 2019. Leader Sue Leigh. Cary Ellison was a talent scout who worked for Spotlight. His programme notes cover theatre performances around the UK from the 1950’s to the 1980’s. London Volunteers have started researching these notes, but the project is currently stalled because of access and travel restrictions. Several volunteers from across the UK have undertaken research into the history of their local theatres. This was done remotely and submitted to the archivist at Kingston University.
Below you can see full reports per year but its always good to know that some projects have a legacy which carries on. See a brief update on the WPH project of 2017 here: Pioneering Courage Film. We rarely report on anything about volunteers who take on new roles within an organisation and continue to contribute to research etc.

For a report on the year 2019-20 click here: SLP Report, 2019-20
For a report on the year 2018-19 click here: SLP Report, 2018-19
For a report on the year 2017-18 click here: SLP Report, 2017-18.
For a report on the year 2016-17 click here: SLP Report, 2016-17.

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