From September 2016 EMOHA will be recording memories of post-war Leicester
EMOHA and a team of volunteers will be recording memories of Leicester between 1945-1962. This page will present all the resources needed for the project as well as acting as a blog for the porject as it progresses.
*FREE* oral history training sessions!
As part of the project EMOHA will be running free oral history training sessions throughout 2017. These are available to any individual or group with an interest in oral history. The next one will be held here at EMOHA on Tuesday 11th April from 2pm-5pm. After this there will be at least one free session each month depending on demand.
Please note EMOHA is based at 1 Salisbury Road and not on the main campus of the University. Full contact details are here - http://www.le.ac.uk/emoha/emoha/contact.html
For details of further sessions or to book one for you and/or your group contact Colin Hyde on 0116 2525065 or email@example.com
Why are we doing this?
The idea behind the project is that although many oral history recordings were made in the 1980s and 1990s they mainly concentrated on the period up to 1945. The assumption was that the post-war period would be covered by other projects in the years to come. Except this didn't happen in an organised way. Individual projects recorded different subjects but there were few attempts to look at a broad sweep of memories of the period. This project will try to do this.
What are we interested in? Everything!
These are some of the subjects we are hoping to cover (see the sample questions below for more detail):
Home & Family - a place to live, food, bringing up a family, health & welfare, work, money, religion, being young.
Life in Leicester - shops & shopping, cafes & pubs, clubs & societies, music, sport, cinema & theatre, radio & TV, transport, planning.
The Broader Picture - politics, major events, nuclear energy & weapons, being modern, National Service, travelling abroad.
Who do we want to record?
Anyone over the age of 90 who has good memories of the 1940s and 1950s. However, we don't want to exclude younger people, so anyone over the age of 80 can contribute as well!
What is this going to be used for?
A small amount of information from this project will contribute to the Modern Leicester section of Leicester City Council's Story of Leicester website. All the recordings will be catalogued at EMOHA and made available to anyone who would like to listen to them. At present there are no plans to put this material online but we may want to put some of the material on the EMOHA or My Leicestershire History website at some point in the future.
How will we do this? We need you!
This will be a huge effort that will require a lot of help from volunteers. EMOHA can provide training, sound recorders, expenses, and all the support needed to record people's memories - but we can't do it all ourselves and we need help.
If you would like to take part, suggest someone to record, or just have a chat, call Colin Hyde on 0116 2525065 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is the paperwork:
The summary template - Summary template.doc
Background information about Britain in 1950 - Britain in 1950.pdf or http://www.historytoday.com/roland-quinault/britain-1950
BBC Timeline of the 1950s - BBC timeline of the 1950s.pdf or http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/timeline/present_timeline_noflash.shtml
Download a poster or flier!
A Useful Map
This map, which dates from around 1938, gives an idea of what Leicester looked like in 1945. When compared with a modern map it illustrates the effect of the post-war housing estates and the general expansion of the Greater Leicester area. The map will open in a new page and you can click on it to enlarge it.
Videos of Leicester. Pathe footage of the 1940s and '50s starts around video number 30 - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3Rnsga7PXcsUPoh9LNfWwwP0aZvqpw7f
Memories of Leicester on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Leicestermemories/
Leicester Past & Present - A Walk Down Memory Lane on Facebook (includes images of the county) - https://www.facebook.com/LeicesterAWalkDownMemoryLane/
The Story of Leicester on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/storyofleicester/
Mr Leicester on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/misterleicester/
Leicester Memories on Flickr - https://www.flickr.com/photos/leicestermemories/
Leicester pubs lost since the 1980s. Chris Pyrah on Flickr - https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisdpyrah/sets/72157629355978785/
Leicester on TV and in Home Movies in the 1950s (courtesy of the Media Archive for Central England)
My guess is that these scenes are the digging up of the tramlines around the clocktower in 1950 - http://www.macearchive.org/Archive/Title/leicester-and-county-magazine/MediaEntry/20457.html
Luncheon for St. Valentine's day at the Grand Hotel in 1957 - http://www.macearchive.org/Archive/Title/midlands-news-14021957-luncheon-for-st-valentines-day-at-leicester/MediaEntry/1827.html
The opening of a new church in Leicester in 1957, but does anyone know which one? - http://www.macearchive.org/Archive/Title/midlands-news-18051957-opening-of-new-church-at-leicester/MediaEntry/1979.html
The opening of the Victoria Park sports pavillion in 1958 - http://www.macearchive.org/Archive/Title/midlands-news-10121958-opening-of-victoria-sports-pavilion-leicester/MediaEntry/2829.html
Indian 11th Republic Day celebrations in Leicester in 1959 - http://www.macearchive.org/Archive/Title/midlands-news-25011959-indian-11th-republic-day-celebrations-at-leicester/MediaEntry/2898.html
The City of Leicester Show at Abbey Park in 1959 - http://www.macearchive.org/Archive/Title/midlands-news-04081959-city-of-leicester-show/MediaEntry/3231.html
Opinions about the brand new Tesco supermarket at Lee Circle in 1961 - http://www.macearchive.org/Archive/Title/midland-montage-14121961-new-tesco-supermarket/MediaEntry/42564.html
The Living Theatre, Leicester, in 1962 (features local politician Mark Henig)- http://www.macearchive.org/Archive/Title/midland-montage-24051962-the-living-theatre/MediaEntry/37028.html
See many more clips from the city and county here - http://www.macearchive.org/CountyMap.html?County=Leicestershire&Media=1
Many thanks to Jed Jaggard for bringing some fascinating material about local Civil Defence to the Christmas wine and nibbles event for volunteers in December 2016. Photos by Liz Blood.
What are we finding out?
Thanks to June Davies, one of our interviewees, for her memories of growing up in The Coventry Arms pub, aka The Brass House, on Halford Street. The Leicester Mercury covered this recently and June's memories complement the article perfectly - http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/taking-a-shine-to-8216-the-brass-house-8217-of-1960s-halford-street/story-30073750-detail/story.html
Chris Mitchell remembers his first job at Sketchley Cleaners in Hinckley at the age of 17:
I'd cycle down London Road hill to Leicester station, get up at 5.30 and then catch the 6.30am train to Hinckley station, having left my bike in the Stationmaster's office and got the machines going or the steam presses going at the Hinckley works and work there until 6pm and get the train back to Leicester, cycle back up London Road hill, have something to eat about 7.30 then go straight to bed really.
What was the job?
Did you have reponsibility for other members of staff?
No, not really, I was just a humble trainee so I was sort of reporting to other members of staff in the various departments who would teach me the various skills of dry cleaning such as they were, which was pressing trousers or stain removal, or tying up the carpets to neat rolls when we had done the carpet cleaning. My first vital job at Sketchley Cleaners at the age of 17 was sorting out huge piles of trousers that had come in from all over the country because it was the central works for everywhere, there weren't any remote cleaning shops so there would be 4-5000 pairs of trousers coming in every day and my first job was putting my hand in the pockets to make sure there was no inflammable matches or anything that could ignite the cleaning vapour, which was a particularly disgusting job I did that for a fortnight.
Did you find anything interesting?
Yes there was everything under the sun that shouldn't have been there (laughs).
What was the most unusual thing?
No end of pornographic postcards and things like that but I once found £500 in cash in one pair of trousers in the back pocket, which in the 1960's was a lot of money in those days. It turned out to belong to a bookmaker who had never missed it.
Thanks to Doug Owen for this great memory of the harsh winter of 1946/7:
Where we lived in Chartley Road, if you wanted to go down to the pub, which was Narborough Road, as you walked out of our house the people had dug trenches – you walked down a trench with the snow right above your head either side. My uncle, who lodged with us, he really enjoyed it I think – nobody could see him going down the pub!
In this quote, Olive Freestone remembers getting a pre-fabricated home:
Oswin Road at the top of Western Park hill, that was the pre-fabs there. I used to look at them during the war, I used to think where am I going to live when my husband comes out - because in those days you lived with your mum or your mum-in-law - I used to think wouldn't it be lovely if we could get one of those, and we did. To get a pre-fab your husband had to have served in the forces, you had to have two children, or have TB (tuberculosis), that was the only people that could have a pre-fab. Obviously, it was a really lovely community - our first homes.
Many thanks to historian Ann Stones for a fascinating talk on the History of New Parks at New Parks Library on 21st March. It's the story of a post-war housing estate that many people will recognise.
And many thanks to Joe Keating for this photo of Colin introducing oral history to the Wednesday group at Leicester Forest East Library.
This project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.