A guide to oral history for schools and youth groups

 

Audio extracts for use in schools and youth groups

 

• These extracts from oral history recordings communicate the wonder of listening to memories of the past and may inspire young people to make their own recordings for others to listen to in the future.
• The copyright belongs to the institutions credited and they must not be copied, but you’re welcome to play them to a class or youth group.
• We’ve divided them into themes for ease of access, but it’s worth having a quick look at all the headings, as some extracts illustrate more then one subject.

Health Stories

 

  1. Alice - Flu Epidemic of 1918 Alice was 8 years old when the First World War ended in 1918, but her village was then struck by another disaster - a flu epidemic that killed more people worldwide than the whole of the War.  Recorded and edited by Helen Lloyd.  Copyright BBC 1:08
  2. George - medical care before NHS. George remembers that poor people couldn’t afford medical care before the National Health Service was founded in 1948 and that his own family couldn’tafford to pay a doctor when he injured his foot at school. Recorded and edited by Helen Lloyd. Copyright BBC 1:18
  3. Dorris - leg operation 1930s As a child, Dorris had a bad leg and struggled with the 4-mile walk to school and back. She was admitted to hospital for an operation but in the 1930s, children were not told what was going to happen to them, and she remembers being utterly terrified.Recorded and edited by Julia Letts. Copyright BBC 1:19

War Stories

 

  1. Gladys - war work in jam factory Soon after World War Two broke out, Gladys started work in a jam factory in Evesham. She recalls making jam for the troops and a horrific accident in the factory. Recorded and edited by Julia Letts. Copyright WiNN Evesham, courtesy of Worcestershire County Council,Evesham Library. 1:39
  2. Ruby - wounded soldiers from Dunkirk Ruby was a hospital ward cleaner in 1940, when wounded soldiers were brought in from the beaches of Dunkirk, after they’d been surrounded by German forces in northern France. Recorded and edited by Helen Lloyd. Copyright BBC 0:56
  3. Brian - Spitfire in flames Brian was a Spitfire Pilot during World War Two. On one occasion, when stationed in Egypt, his engine burst into flames at 20,000 feet up. Conscious only of saving the aircraft, he managed to land it before it completely exploded. Recorded and edited by Julia Letts. Copyright Our War, Droitwich Spa Forum for Older People, courtesy of Worcestershire County Council, The Hive, Worcester. 1:22

A Hard Life

 

  1. Cath - poverty and hunger Cath was one of 13 children growing up in Worcester in the 1930s. Meat was a real treat. Cath’s mother would visit the butchers in a street called ‘The Shambles’ to buy scraps of meat auctioned off at the end of the day. Recorded and edited by Julia Letts. Copyright BBC 1:24
  2. Ken - punished by birching Ken got caught stealing in the 1940s and was punished by ‘birching’. A birch rod was a bundle of twigs bound together and used to beat children and adults who had done something wrong. It was abolished in the UK in 1948. Recorded and edited by Julia Letts. Copyright BBC 1:30
  3. Anita - sharing toilet with other families When Anita was a child in the 1950s, she lived in what was called a ‘back-to-back’ house around a shared courtyard, with an outdoor toilet used by several families. Recorded and edited by Helen Lloyd. Copyright Archives & Collections, Library of Birmingham, MS 2255/2/46 0:58

Migration Stories

 

  1. Dan - life in UK after arriving on Windrush Dan was one of the first immigrants from the Carribbean who came on a ship called the Empire Windrush to work in the UK in 1948. He remembers English people running away from him because they were unused to seeing black people. Recorded and edited by Helen Lloyd. Copyright BBC 1:34
  2. Sultan - job as postman after arriving from Pakistan Sultan came to the UK from Pakistan in 1960 and experienced a lot of racist abuse when he worked as a bus conductor and driver, but when he became a postman in the same area he was treated completely differently. Recorded and edited by Helen Lloyd. Copyright Archives & Collections, Library of Birmingham, MS 2255/2/72 1:18
  3. Jossett - behaviour in UK compared with Jamaica Jossett came to the UK from Jamaica in 1966 and was horrified when she saw British people eating fish and chips out of newspaper and kissing in the street! Recorded and edited by Helen Lloyd. Copyright Archives & Collections, Library of Birmingham, MS 2255/2/12 0:48

Food Stories

 

  1. Toni - the first supermarket Toni describes visiting her local grocer’s shop in the early 1950s. The shop was turned into one of the first self-service supermarkets in Worcester. This was considered to be modern and progressive but Toni explains why it made her sad. Recorded and edited by Julia Letts. Copyright BBC 1:29
  2. Susan - changing tastes in food Susan was born in 1958 and brought up on traditional English food. She talks about her first encounters with Indian and Chinese food and her growing dependence on instant meals. Recorded and edited by Helen Lloyd. Copyright BBC 1:34
  3. Avtar - changing attitudes to curry Avtar was born in the UK in 1969 and brought up in a flat above her parents’ shop. In the 1970s, customers didn’t like the smell of curry coming from the upstairs flat, but gradually over the years their attitudes changed. Recorded and edited by Helen Lloyd. Copyright BBC 0:53

Countryside Stories

 

  1. John - farming by hand John has been farming in Worcestershire all his life and recalls the days before tractors when all the heavy work was done by cart horses or manual labour. He describes harvest time in the early 1940s. Recorded and edited by Julia Letts. Copyright Harvesting the Past, courtesy of Worcestershire County Council, The Hive, Worcester. 1:19
  2. Gladys - the experiences of a Land Girl Gladys joined the Women’s Land Army during World War Two and was sent from her home in Yorkshire to a farm in Herefordshire. She had never done farm work before and recalls the horrors of working on the ‘threshing box’ which stripped the corn from the stalks. Recorded and edited by Julia Letts. Copyright Harvesting the Past, courtesy of Worcestershire County Council, The Hive, Worcester. 1:05
  3. Sheila - hop picking Sheila grew up in Tipton in the West Midlands but during the school holidays, her family and many others from her neighbourhood would go hop picking in Herefordshire. Hops are used for making beer. Sheila describes the excitement of setting off on ‘charabancs’ (old fashioned coaches) to stay in the hop fields for several weeks. Recorded and edited by Julia Letts. Copyright Harvesting the Past, courtesy of Worcestershire County Council, The Hive, Worcester. 0:53