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Information about oral history projects in Leicestershire

If you would like to add details of your project to this page, email us at emoha@le.ac.uk. For all projects that have been granted Local Heritage Initiative grants, look at the LHI East Midlands page. For information about oral history in the other counties of the East Midlands have a look at the East Midlands Projects page.

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Post-War Appleby Heritage Project. The aim of the project is to set up a large exhibition on ‘Appleby since the War’. Local volunteers will be creating the exhibition with school children contributing a section on the ‘lives of children in Appleby since the War’. The exhibition will use pictures, objects as well as written and recorded oral reminiscences and other records, collected by volunteers to create a display for the wider community. The exhibition will run for one year and will be integrated into the Appleby history website. When the exhibition is over, the display material, where possible, will be transferred in to an ‘Exhibition Book’ which will be available in the centre for the public to view.

The exhibition will be housed in the new heritage centre in the Sir John Moore Building in Appleby. The Post-War Appleby exhibition will be the first for the centre and will provide volunteers with skills and equipment to enable them to stage many more exhibitions on other local heritage subjects in the future. Access to the centre will be free and open to the general public except at certain times when school parties may be using the centre. The project is being undertaken by the Trustees to the Sir John Moore Foundation, Appleby Magna, Leicestershire LE65 1BT. Finishing Date 30/06/2004. The Group received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £25,000.

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Ashby de la Zouch Museum. A small team is recording interviews with local people in a joint venture between the History Society and the Museum. Around a dozen interviews have been made on the basis that they will be available for genuine research purposes, subject to the approval of the Trustees of the museum. Topics covered in the interviews include the early days of the community college, Ashby's biscuit factory, and the closure of local mines. Museum website: http://ashbydelazouchmuseum.org.uk/

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Barwell & Earl Shilton: Following the success of the CD, 'Memories Are Made of This', Barwell Bits and (Earl) Shilton Snips  have recorded memories of life and work in the boot and shoe trade which was a significant employer for the residents of Barwell and Earl Shilton and many surrounding villages.  'Life and Sole' covers all aspects of footwear production, including the social life provided by the factories and include memories of factory workers, office staff and employers.  There are stories that reflect the hierarchy of skills within a factory and the variation in working environments created by the factory owners.

Funding from Leicestershire County Council's Better Communities Awards 2006 - 2007 and the George Ward Fund supported this production.  Once again training and support from local resident Dave Kitto has helped to produce high quality recordings.  Barwell Bits and Shilton Snips members also trained 20 young people to interview their older relatives.   Members of Earl Shilton Methodist Guides and Barwell Church Lads and Girls Brigade worked in pairs to devise their own questions and this added a further 10 interviews. This enhanced the understanding and shared knowledge between different generations of residents.

'Life and Sole' is available for £10.00.  A few copies of 'Memories Are Made of This (Life in Barwell and Earl Shilton in the 20th Century)' are still available.  For more information contact jacquie.aucott@virgin.net or 01530 261294.

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BBC Radio Leicester - 100 Stories of Migration in Leicester - is building an audio archive of 100 stories from people who left their home in another country to come to live in Leicester. Have a listen here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p029s9h7

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Belgrave Mela - a 30 Year History, was an HLF project that ran from 2014 to 2015 and captured memories of the Mela festival in Leicester. Website - http://www.melaheritage.uk/ . Video on YouTube - https://youtu.be/aepHEBFj2rA

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Belgrave Memories. An oral history project carried out by the East Midlands Economic Network Ltd in 2006/2007. The result of the project is an archive of interviews with over 80 people which covers many aspects of life in the Belgrave area of Leicester since 1945. The transcripts of these interviews have now been published as 'Tales of Belgrave' while a summarised version is available as 'Belgrave Memories'. Both are available from the East Midlands Economic Network Ltd. Have a look at the EMOHA exhibition which links to the EMEN website: http://www.le.ac.uk/emoha/community/resources/belgrave/index.html

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Bottesford Heritage Project. Under the working title "Bottesford Living History", the project has the objective of preserving the communal memory of its history and changes that have taken place within living memory. Among other things, it aims to assemble an electronic archive of oral history, photographs, maps and written material with emphasis on change in Bottesford in the last 60 years or so.

The archive will be accessible in a variety of ways. These will include CD/DVD study sets, internet, publications, exhibitions and drama. For instance, a set of leaflets will be published on geology, landscape history and a heritage discovery trail, geology, landscape history and other topics (budget permitting), and there will be a booklet describing past village life in the Vale of Belvoir.
Bottesford Environmental Conservation Volunteers - Dr Neil Fortey, 4 Church Street. Bottesford. Nottingham. Leicestershire. NG13 0BX. Finishing date: 31 Dec 08. Have a look at the website here: http://www.bottesfordhistory.org.uk/

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Braunstone Memories. An oral history project carried out by the East Midlands Economic Network Ltd in 2007/2008. The result of the project is an archive of interviews which covers many aspects of life on the Braunstone housing estate in Leicester since its creation in the 1930s. Have a look at the EMOHA exhibition which links to the EMEN website: http://www.le.ac.uk/emoha/community/resources/braunstone_memories/index.html

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The History of Burbage Cricket Club. This project aims to record the history of Burbage Cricket Club as far back as possible. It has a mention in the South Leics Cricket League in 1896. The Burbage Heritage Group wish to make the research available in several mediums: booklet, web information, presentation material and archive records in printed, pictorial and oral format. To do this the group will research documentary evidence at public libraries, local records offices, County cricket archives, newspaper records, other local cricket records and the clubs own records.

Oral histories will be gathered from present and past members and others associated with its history. The club has played on the same cricket square (they believe) since its inception and the group will research the history of this land from old tithe maps, records and conveyance deeds. The variations in architectural style of the pavilions that have been built on the site will be researched in order to illustrate the changes in design and requirements of the game. Presentations will be given to local schools, clubs and organisations. Project Contact: Robert Crabtree Address: c/o Mrs Sylvia Whitworth, 48 Marigold Drive, Burbage, Leicestershire LE10 2SJ. The Group received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £15923.

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Castle Donnington Museum Trust. A Community at War - 60 Years On. The project will research and collect information about Castle Donnington during the Second World War. This research will culminate in an exhibition in 2005. A loose-leaf book will be produced for use by schools and members of the group to take out to the local community when giving talks. A leaflet will be produced which will complement the exhibition and also advertise it in the surrounding area.

The project will involve the collection of reminiscences from the local community, which will be used to include in the exhibition and more essentially, to base the exhibition on. The reminiscences will be transcribed and extracts included in the book. Training will be provided for those who wish to be involved in this aspect of the project. The school are also keen to get involved and it is hoped they will be collecting reminiscences from their relatives. Local newsletters, posters and mail shots will advertise the project to local people. Project Contact is Mrs Sylvia Bradburn, The Stone House, 4 Apiary Gate, Castle Donnington, Leicestershire DE74 2JA. Tel: 01332 811944 Finishing Date 30 Jun 07. The Group received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £5667.

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Calabash Project. Based in Leicester the project collected oral histories from African Caribbean people about the herbal remedies, foods and beauty products that were used and how they have developed over the years. To find out more about this project and the book it produced, contact librarian Marcia Brown on 0116 299 5494 or email highfields.lib@leicester.gov.uk

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Charnwood Roots is a Leicestershire Victoria County History Trust initiative, part ofa national research project to research and write a reference history of every town, village and hamlet in England. Leicestershire is one of the counties where this historyis incomplete, with over 300 locations yet to be researched. While the project's interests range over thousands of years of history, oral history is an important part and interviews have been carried out with people of the Charnwood area. Website: http://www.charnwoodroots.org/

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Cultural Quarter Heritage - oral history was one element of a project run by BrightSparks: Arts in Mental Health Group, a voluntary organisation that uses the arts to promote positive images of mental health, social inclusion, and service user and carer involvement. The project looked at the heritage of Leicester's Cultural Quarter and ran from 2015 to 2016. A video about the project plus reminiscences about the area are on the project's blog - https://culturalquarterheritage.wordpress.com/home-2/

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Cycle Heritage - Leicester. To research and record the varied cycling history of Leicester from the racing stadiums of the 1880's to the social impact in subsequent years. HLF award: £38500. For full contact details look at the website: http://www.cyclemagic.org.uk/cyclehistory.aspx

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The Earl Shilton to Waterloo Historical Group have produced a double CD telling the story of Earl Shilton's Waterloo heroes and in particular three members of the Almey family from Shilton, who fought in a famous troop at Waterloo. This is also the story of Earl Shilton in the 19th century and the Almey family's association with the village. On the CD four of the descendants of the Waterloo Almeys give their thoughts on their illustrious ancestors. People can order a copy by contacting Paul Seaton at paul.lseaton@gmail.com

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The East Midlands Oral History Archive. Our collections are held in the Record Office for Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland and cover many aspects of life in the region since the late 19th century. We also hold the BBC Radio Leicester archive. For full details of the collections held by EMOHA have a look at our catalogue page: http://www.le.ac.uk/emoha/catalogue.html . The EMOHA You Tube channel also features lots of oral history: http://www.youtube.com/user/EMOralHistory

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Foresters Brass 2000 Heritage was a project to record the history of the Foresters Brass Band, which is based in Leicester and draws players from around the East Midlands. The website is an elegant timeline that links to oral history extracts on Sound Cloud - http://www.forestersbrass2000.co.uk/heritage/

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Highfields Remembered covers the history of the Highfields region of Leicester and contains memories of local people as well as a good photo archive. Have a look here: http://highfields.dmu.ac.uk/recollections.html

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LANDshapes is a heritage project designed and hosted by The National Forest Company, working with local people to gather together information about the heritage of The National Forest. This partnership is creating an archive of knowledge and memories about the area, to be shared by everyone. Comprising 36 audio interviews and transcripts, these memories are a fascinating resource for anyone interested in the National Forest and the lives of its people. Full interviews and transcripts are available via the EMOHA website here: http://www.le.ac.uk/emoha/community/resources/landshapes/index.html

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Legacy of Partition is a project being run by the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland (ROLLR) in 2008/9. The project explores the legacy of Partition 1947-8 by gathering the memories of local people who lived through the upheaval of Partition, and the creation of East and West Pakistan, and who now live in Leicester, Leicestershire or Rutland. More information and the chance to add your own memories here: http://www.leics.gov.uk/index/community/museums/museum_resources/recordoffice/legacy_of_partition.htm

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Leicestershire AIDS Support Services has published a book to mark its 25th anniversary. Based on oral history interviews, the book is called '...and it won't go away'. It includes interviews with people who founded the organisation and from every stage of its development over 25 years. It also includes a timeline of events from the organisation and charts developments from the wider world relating to HIV and AIDS. The book is available as a .pdf on the LASS website here - http://www.lass.org.uk/files/uploads/And_it_won't_go_away.pdf

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Leicester's Black Music Heritage - 2Funky Arts is delighted to announce a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant towards a project to engage volunteers in researching, documenting and celebrating the history of Black music styles in Leicester over the last 40 years.  Spectrum will see the creation of a documentary film, charting the history of soul, disco, reggae, R&B, gospel, drum 'n' bass, hip hop and ‘urban’ music in the city. The project website, which features all the interviews with participants, is here - http://spectrumleicester.co.uk/ - and the 2Funky Arts website is here - www.2funkyarts.co.uk .

As a follow on project to Spectrum 2Funky Arts created Radio2Funky and broadcast radio programmes throughout Black History Month in 2015. Some of the broadcasts, which feature guests from the Black community in Leicester, and particularly from the music scene, can be found here - https://www.mixcloud.com/radio2funky/

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Leicester City FC - John Hutchinson, club historian and archivist at Leicester City Football Club, has recorded the memories of more than 50 ex-players. These are available to listen to by appointment with John who can be contacted via john.hutchinson@lcfc.co.uk

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Leicestershire Clubs for Young People History Project. New Parks Estate, Leicester. A project to research the history of New Park Boys Club and that of Leicestershire clubs for young people. HLF award: £23500.

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Leicester Cultural Quarter Audio Tour - Watch This Space have created an Audio Tour around Leicester's Cultural Quarter that celebrates the unique history of the area. The Audio Tour uses an exhilarating blend of interviews, found sounds, creative text and atmospheric music to reveal the many layers and lives that have made this area such a vibrant place. The CQ art audio tour, along with information on other artworks commissioned for Leicester's Cultural Quarter, is now available to download at www.leicester.gov.uk/cqart. Download and enjoy the tour!

Watch This Space website: http://www.watch-this-space.org.uk/home.html. The St. Georges Cultural Quarter - Watch this Space – Audio Tour  was commissioned in 2008 by Leicester City Council, with funding from Leicester City Council,  European Regional Development Funding Objective 2, Liveability, S106 Developer Contributions.

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Celebrating 100 years of Leicester General Hospital. The project will research and collect information about the hospital and its surrounding communities from 1905 which will culminate in an exhibition, the production of a history booklet, a website with a link to the LHI website and a series of history talks. Sandra Brown, LGH Centenary Project Manager, Leicester General Hospital, Gwendolen Road, Leicester. Finishing date 31 Dec 07. Heritage Lottery Fund award of £20790. NB The book is called "The Palace on the Hill" and documents the history of LGH with some emotive photography that will take readers back in time to the laying of the foundation stone in April 1903.

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The Leicester LGBT Centre Oral History Project - Untold Stories - was set up by volunteers to capture the memories, experiences and personal histories of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans community in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. Untold Stories has been funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and has been interviewing members of the LGBT community in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland about their own personal experiences from pre-1967, 1970’s, 1980’s, 1990’s and more recently. Website: http://www.lgbt-stories.org/

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Leicester Jewish Voices is a reminiscence writing project which also used oral history to record memories of the Jewish Community in Leicester during the 1940s and 50s. Have a look at the website here: http://www.leicesterjewishvoices.co.uk/index.html

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Leicester Windrush Project has documented the stories of some of the pioneers who created Leicester's Caribbean community from the 1940s to today. The project created a documentary, booklet, exhibition, & audio CD. A brief preview of the full documentary film, launched in November 2015, can be seen at https://youtu.be/uAHSdWFR1E0 as well as on the project's website: http://leicesterwindrush.com/

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Growing up in World War 2 Loughborough. The aim is to hold an exhibition at Charnwood Museum as part of the VE day 60th anniversary celebrations. The exhibition will be created entirely by local community volunteers and coordinated by the Loughborough War Memorial Museum (LWMM).

It will explore the experiences of young people and children during World War 2 in Loughborough and contrast life then and now. Exhibits will be supplied by LWMM and local people, reminiscences and memories will be captured through oral history recordings. These will include non-British people who were living in Loughborough during wartime, to give a different perspective through their experiences.

The exhibition will run over the Summer months and will create resources including handling boxes of relevant artefacts with clothing from the period and learning packs for use by schools and community groups. Local sewing groups will be contacted to help create clothes for a role play box. A colour booklet "Memories of Growing Up in Wartime Loughborough" will be produced.
Peter Crooks, Loughborough War Memorial Museum. Finishing date - 30 Sept 2005. Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £11979.

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Market Harborough Museum. The complete collection held at Market Harborough Museum consists of c. 207 interviews and includes the following topics:

  • Welland Valley agriculture
  • Domestic service
  • Life in Market Harborough’s courtyard ‘slums’ in the 1920s
  • Shops and shopping
  • Wartime experiences

Tapes can be consulted by appointment at Harborough Museum, Council Offices, Adam & Eve Street, Market Harborough LE16 7AG Telephone: 01858 821085. E-mail: harboroughmuseum@leics.gov.uk

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The Market Harborough History Projects website features oral history interviews which are being recorded as part of an ongoing project. Have a look here - http://www.harboroughhistory.org.uk/project2/p2.html

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Melton Mowbray Fairs and Markets. Melton Mowbray has a history of 1000 years of markets, hiring fairs and sites of 5 market crosses. This is a fundamental part of its heritage as Melton existed to service the needs of the surrounding farming area. The project will give people the opportunity to find out more about the Fairs and Markets through a wide range of activities including researching historical records, oral history, reenactments, traditional local dances and market crafts. Melton Mowbray Country Fair, Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £24970.

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Melton Mowbray Foxhunting Project. Foxhunting: Past, Present, Future? was a one year pilot project led by Leicestershire County Council's Melton Carnegie Museum.  Elements of this work are being continued by the museum and will help to inform future developments. Website with full details: http://www.leics.gov.uk/foxhunting

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Melton Mowbray Carnegie Museum are currently (summer 2008) interviewing sportsmen and sportswomen in the Melton area for a project called Taking Part. The main theme of the project is to record the impact of sport and sports clubs in local communities and on individuals. Each interviewee will also be asked to describe their greatest sporting moment! Sports covered include table tennis, football, bowls and conkers. Melton Museum website: http://www.leics.gov.uk/index/community/museums/meltonmuseum.htm

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Mines of Memory is a project at Snibston which is interviewing former workers at Snibston and Whitwick collieries. A total of 20 people will be interviewed by the end of 2008 covering most aspects of work at the collieries. Interviews will be catalogued and archived at Leicestershire County Council and at the county Record Office. For further information contact the project co-ordinator Alison Clague at 0116 3053429 . Snibston website: http://www.leics.gov.uk/index/community/museums/snibston.htm

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Nine Decades of Caring and Campaigning - The Royal British Legion in Leicestershire and Rutland, 1921-2011 - is a project from the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland which has recorded memories from members of the British Legion in Leicestershire and Rutland to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Legion. Documents, photographs and memoribilia were also collected. Website: http://www.leics.gov.uk/britishlegion

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Preserving Asian Heritage. An oral history project carried out by the East Midlands Economic Network Ltd in 2005/2006. The project tells the story of the Asian Diaspora from Uganda and the arrival of these people in the UK and in particular Leicester. Edited interviews are available on a two DVD set available from the East Midlands Economic Network Ltd. Have a look at the EMOHA exhibition which links to the EMEN website: http://www.le.ac.uk/emoha/community/resources/asian/index.html

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Rhianydd Murray is the custodian of a collection of about 40 interviews with people in the Earl Shilton, Barwell and Hinckley area of Leicestershire. Subjects covered include family history, school, childhood, work and changes over time. This is part of a project which has also seen the collection of over 1000 photogrpahs of the area from the public. The Photographic Archive is in the process of being put onto CD and will be made available to the public. Recorded memories are not generally available to the public but may become available in due course. Rhianydd also has recorded memories of Bagworth and the Eyres Monsell area of Leicester. Any queries may be addressed to rhianyddmurray@hotmail.com.

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Snibston - Watch This Space have created the Snibston Discovery Park Audio Tour, an audio tour around Snibston Discovery Park which guides participants around the site highlighting the historical, cultural and natural heritage of the area. Each track draws attention to the events and the people that helped shape the area in which the listener stands. The finished audio tour offers the public the rare insight into unknown anecdotes and forgotten heritage through an exciting new creative interpretation. See also 'Mines of Memory' above.

Watch This Space website: http://www.watch-this-space.org.uk/home.html. Snibston website: http://www.leics.gov.uk/index/community/museums/snibston.htm

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The Staunton Harold Heritage Project - Staunton Harold Heritage Group has been working since 2001 and now wishes to extend its work and skills to include more members of the community and to share the findings locally and nationally. The group intend to do this by investigating aspects of local archaeology, population and land use (past & present) and to survey vernacular buildings in Staunton Harold Parish.

The group will conduct research in record offices, museums and libraries. They will also photograph and conduct architectural surveys of vernacular buildings. Field walking and geophysical surveys will help local people learn more about local archaeology. Oral histories will be collected and form part of a local oral history archive. The group will collate and create and index of published and unpublished sources relating to the Parish. Training sessions will be held to enhance the skills of the Group and the wider local community. Project Contact: Dr Irene Brightmer Address: 2 Hunt Lodge, Staunton Harold, Ashby De La Zouch, Leicestershire LE65 1RU. The Group received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £17548.

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Stoneywell Cottage - since the acquisition of Stoneywell Cottage by the National Trust, an programme of oral history interviews has started to capture the memories of people associated with the cottage. For further information contact – Stoneywell@nationaltrust.org.uk with Oral History as the subject.

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Symingtons - Harborough's Lost Workforce. "Contour & Cream" was a community based project focusing on two Symington industries in Market Harborough, making soups and corsets. The project gathered information from paper-based and audio sources and oral histories and produced a one-woman show and a small book.

It was funded in 2003 by HLF and the Arts Council and, although successful, it mainly involved older people through participation and audience. This LHI project seeks to take further what "Contour and Cream" began, extending the community aspect to include young people and offer a learning experience for youth, community and school groups in partnership with Harborough Museum (where the Contour & Cream recordings are now held).

The result will be a high quality DVD and education pack incorporating archive footage of the 2 factories, film footage of ex-employees, elements of the performance of "Contour and Cream" and information and facts covering founding to demise of both factories.
The Market Harborough Local History Group, finishing date: 31 Dec 07. Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £15444.

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The Friends of Thringstone group have deposited recordings with EMOHA and continue to tape people talking about their memories of Thringstone. Mostly using the transcripts of these interviews the group have, in 2008, published two books called Memories of Thringstone parts one and two. The group are continuing to tape residents talking about their memories and may, in the future, publish another volume. Nita Pearson is the chairman of the group and can be contacted via email: nita.pearson@ntlworld.com

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Times, Tales and Tunes. This project grew from discussions in many folk clubs around how quickly the oral tradition is fading in the face of modern music and its technology. A strong feeling emerged that many people wished to be involved in preserving and spreading the tradition among younger audiences and seeking a wider profile. A group of volunteers, including local musicians, singers, dramatists and teachers, have consulted together along with community arts organisations and local history groups to devise the project. Local performers, both amateur and professional, have volunteered their time and material. Over 400 people will be interviewed and around 20 young people will be involved in performance and recording.

The project aims to seek out, collect and preserve for the future the fast fading industrial aural heritage of this coalfield area as contained in the experiences and memories of the older generation and the tales they have told their families. An archive of industrial songs will be collected, related largely to coalmining, canals and associated trades and a collection of CDs produced together with a book of lyrics and stories. A website will also be created. Project contact: Community Tradition Studio, Leicestershire LE67 2GB. Finishing Date 30/06/2004. The Group received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £11,946.

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Ugandan-Asian Exodus is a website created by the Leicester Multicultural Association. Through oral history it tells the story of the Ugandan Asians arriving in Leicester in 1972 and also features poems by Tejinder Sharma. Website - http://www.ugex.org.uk/

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The Year of the Leicestival was an HLF funded project run in 2013 by Focus, a young peopel's charity, for young people to document celebrations and festivals in Leicester over the course of a year. Further details on the Focus website - http://focus-charity.co.uk/index.php?id=leicestival. Year of the Leicestival Showreel on YouTube - http://youtu.be/zUWvAOWBWwg. Free downloadable book - http://www.free-ebooks.net/ebook/Year-of-the-Leicestival-2013. Audio clips on Soundcloud - https://soundcloud.com/#focuscharity13.

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