Back in 1970 my son was given a tape recorder and his Great Aunt suggested he interview some of her friends (born before WW1) as each would have a story to tell. The family collected old farm machines and memorabilia which became known as the Farmland Museum (now at Denny Abbey near Cambridge). Interest was taken in the collection and a neighbour, Professor Margaret Spufford, realised these ‘old fen boys’ and their way of living was dying out and she managed to get a grant from the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Trust to cover the costs of listening posts in the museum so that visitors could ‘tune in’ and hear the dialect and stories. For many years I used excerpts from the tapes when I gave talks to organisations such as Women’s Insititute, Over Sixties clubs etc. and I used many of the stories in publications such as Bog Oak Country and Ten Miles from Ely. A chance comment on local Cambridge Radio resulted in the offer from a listener to digitise the cassettes and now the whole world can listen to interviews started by a schoolboy in 1970.
Listen here: www.farmlandvoices.org.uk
Over a dozen booklets have been produced by Lorna Delanoy from the collection, including Women’s Work is Never Done, History of a Village Museum, Village Voices.
For more information please contact Lorna Delanoy: firstname.lastname@example.org