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Information about oral history projects in Lincolnshire

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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Agriculture in Lincolnshire. The following link will take you to a page which summarises oral history work looking at agriculture in Lincolnshire - http://www.le.ac.uk/emoha/emoha/lincsagri.html. This next link will take you to information about a current (April 2009) Phd project at the University of Lincoln which focuses on agricultural change in Lincolnshire during the mid-to-late 20th century, effects on rural culture and the representation of these causes and effects in the County's museums - http://www.le.ac.uk/emoha/emoha/lincsphd.html

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Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire are recording memories of a wide variety of people who have been associated aith RAF bases in the area. Latest news: commencing on Thursday 17th January 2013, visitors are being invited to arrange to attend the Lincolnshire Archives to listen to the county’s Aviation Oral History Stories. These stories from World War II and the Cold War era have been recorded as part of Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire’s (AHL) “Shouting The Odds” project. These oral histories were a significant part of AHL’s remit for their aviation heritage programme, which is funded by an award of £436,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Funding from AHL has purchased new sets of listening equipment, which will enable visitors to the Lincolnshire Archives to hear the fascinating stories that detail the county’s diverse aviation heritage. Some of the stories can also be accessed via the Oral History tab on the AHL website at www.aviationheritagelincolnshire.com . The Lincolnshire Archives are located on St. Rumbold Street in Lincoln; and it is suggested that anyone wishing to visit the Archives telephones 01522 782040 to book in advance of their visit, which should avoid disappointment with availability of the recordings. A new oral history focus for the AHL team will be in the post-World War II era of the Cold War, with the V-Bomber squadrons of the V-Force, plus the Thor and Bloodhound missile crews. For further information contact Dave Harrigan on dave.harrigan@lincolnshire.gov.uk or tel: 07584216890.

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Boston Library has taped interviews with the following people: Charles Sharp, JJ Parker, AH Mather, Peter Kitwood, JG Horton, Harry Fountain. All were recorded in the 1990s. Library website: http://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/libraryDetails.asp?library=SE1

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Brayford. Funded by Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund and working in partnership with The Brayford Trust and The Canal & River Trust, Lincoln Art Programme are developing a new programme entitled Red Herrings and Chinese Whisper's. This project will explore the local folklore and heritage of the Brayford and surrounding area, through combining creative activity alongside historical research. Investigating Lincoln’s folly island and its debatable mythology, the project sets out to investigate the nature of the misleading clue and the believability’s of histories and stories. The project will culminate in a weekend of free events, tours and films during the May bank holiday (25-27th May 2013). Programme Co-Ordinator is Bethan Johnson and the project website is here - www.lincolnartprogramme.co.uk. The Canal & River Trust website is here - https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/

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Caistor Community History. The material in their archive consists of articles, brochures, artefacts, written and oral memories and photographs (over 1000). The material covers pre-Roman to the present day. The initial aim of the group is to collect together as much material as possible on Caistor before it is "lost". This will then be accessible to all. Cobweb Cottage, 36, Nettleton Road, Caistor, Market Rasen, Lincolnshire LN7 6NJ. Phone: 01472 852693. Contact name: Alan Dennis.

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A Century of Village Life in Hackthorn and Cold Hanworth. The property and land of these two villages still remains chiefly in the ownership of one family trust and therefore there is little scope for expansion. Lifelong residents have witnessed the change from cottage and tenant farming, with employment mainly within the villages, to commuter villages with syndicate farming.

The project will record village life during the 20th century, informing the younger generation of the enormous changes and diversification that have occurred in this once self-contained and self-sufficient community.
Mrs Rosemary Moore, Hackthorn Local History Group. Finishing date: 31 Dec 06. HLF grant of £18,920.

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Chain Bridge Forge, Spalding, is thought to date from around 1800 and was purpose built as a blacksmith’s workshop. Situated on the east bank of the River Welland it’s about a mile from the town centre, and backs directly onto the river. The project hopes to turn the forge into a living museum and engage the public with its rich history. The Chain Bridge Forge website is here - http://chainbridgeforge.sholland.org/ - and the oral histories recorded by the project are here - http://www.southhollandlife.com/category/oral-history-2/

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Ewerby Book: A History and Village Life Today. Ewerby, Ewerby Thorpe & Haverholme lie 20 miles south of Lincoln. There has been a settlement there since before 500BC, with Ewerby church mentioned in the Doomsday Book. A Cistercian Priory existed at Haverholme from 1137 – 1539 after which is was developed into a country estate lasting until 1927, owned by the Earls of Winchilsea for its last 100 years.

Ewerby was an estate village, with the majority of residents working on the estate and a few families remain who remember relatives working for the Earls of Winchilsea & Nottingham. The aim of the project is to collect as many memories as possible before they are lost, together with old photographs of the village and events. They will also capture life in the village today with photographs and notations from inhabitants.
Irene Austin, Ewerby Reading Room, 72 Main Streeet. Ewerby. Sleaford Lincolnshire. NG34 9PJ. Finishing date 28 Feb 2008. HLF grant of £12760.

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Grandma's War - The Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology (see below for other SLHA projects) is leading a project in oral history about the impact of World War II on civilians in Lincolnshire. Following training from the East Midlands Oral History Archive, 15 local societies or groups have begun recording local memories. Lincolnshire County Council have generously provided a grant for equipment. At present (summer 2004) there are 20 recordings, and when the project closes in August/September the possibilities of continuing or expanding the project, in conjunction with LCC and the local University, will be looked at. The Society's website is: http://www.slha.org.uk/

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Grantham Museum holds the following oral history material: Four tapes (cassettes) containing memories of VE Day, one tape about airfields in Lincolnshire during WW1, one tape about the WWI May 1918 attack on Chemin des Dames (recorded in 1975), one tape containing WWII RAF crew room sound effects, one taped interview with Harry Humphries about the WWII Dambusters raid, one tape of Clifford Dack talking about Henery Preston. Museum website: http://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/section.asp?sectiontype=listmixed&catid=9923

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North East Lincolnshire Council – Grimsby Library. At the start of 2012 there are a couple of ongoing projects at the library. 'The Last Pirate' is a recording with a man who was tried for piracy in 1966 and was the last person to have been tried in Britain for piracy in over 200 years. His story has now been recorded for posterity along with a shorter interview with a barrister to give a legal perspective on the case.  As an addendum to the story, which hit Five Live and the local regional BBC News programme, the library was contacted by a Dutch lady who said that 40 years ago her parents found the lifebelt from the Loveden (the pirated Grimsby trawler) on a Dutch beach and they have had it at their house ever since. The recording work is finished now but a volunteer is going to transcribe it and a booklet will be produced.  This was sponsored by the Fish Merchants Association in Grimsby, Youngs Seafood Ltd and the Grimsby Fishing Vessel Owners Association for the project.

Also at the library is 'Sporting Voices' which is ongoing from October 2011 to March 2012 as part of The People’s Record initiative. This project is funded by Arts Council England (formerly MLA).  It will focus on developing an oral history archive to be uploaded together with photographs onto the People’s Record website which is aimed at creating a collective record of the public’s response to hosting the 2012 Games.  All the projects should explore at least one of the People’s Record core themes:  1) health, sport and wellbeing, 2) changing places, 3) young people’s aspirations.  This project focuses on the first and third themes.

The Sporting Voices project aims to develop an oral history archive of the thoughts and hopes of a group of students with learning difficulties from the William Molson centre in Grimsby focused on London 2012 and their own experiences of sport and sporting life in North East Lincolnshire.  The students will produce a minimum of 20 audio files of interviews with associated transcripts.  With the help of a freelance recording professional, they will produce a complete audio-documentary to be uploaded onto the PR website.  To date we have visited students who are members of the Local History group and students who are in the Roving Reporters group.  We have introduced ourselves and the project and the students have already started doing practice interviews with a digital recorder purchased with the funding. The freelance professional has attended a Sportathon and is also recording at a swimming session, trampolining, riding for the disabled and a snooker hall.  Local History photographs from the Library collection have been printed out for the students to use and to compare how sporting activities and attire have changed over the years.

Both projects have enlisted the services of Mike Cartwright, a freelance professional from a local audio-production company called Soundschool. Further information from Jennie Mooney, Learning and Information Services Librarian. Telephone:  01472 323628. Email:  jennie.mooney@nelincs.gov.uk

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Grimsby - North East Lincolnshire Museum Service (NELMS) has a collection of between 150-200 oral history recordings which also include radio programmes of local interest. The collection will soon become accessible by appointment and there are hopes to transfer the recordings onto CD in future. Information about North East Lincolnshire's museums can be found here: http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/resident/museums-and-heritage

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The Kirton in Lindsey Society celebrated its 20th birthday in 2007 with an oral history project which culminated in the publication of the book 'Sticking the Pig'. The book includes a CD containing extracts from the recordings. The Society's website is here: http://beehive.thisisscunthorpe.co.uk/default.asp?WCI=SiteHome&ID=2271&PageID=70600

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Leasingham Village History Project. The project aims to produce an updated Village History Book and recordings of those with memories of the changes. This will be done by holding an exhibition of material currently available and inviting people to participate. A series of workshops, open to all, will be held in oral history techniques, conservation and storage of documents, photography and IT. A DVD of some of the archives will be produced together with an archive or oral histories. Mrs Mary Bonaker, Leasingham WI. Finishing date 30 June 2008. HLF grant of £14,668.

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Leverton Village History. The Leverton History Group will research the history of Leverton, with a particular emphasis on the last 100 years. Project Contact: Alan Tosney Address: Elmwood Avenue, Boston, Lincs PE21 7RU. Phase I involved research of all aspects of Leverton & its development over the last 100 years with the results presented in the form of a book and a DVD. Finishing Date 31/08/2004. The Group received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £16,885. Phase II will investigate changes in the fortunes of farming over the last twenty to thirty years. The group aims to illustrate and explore farming and farm-working families of the village since the early 1800’s. Finishing date 30 Nov 07. Heritage Lottery Fund: £8941.

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Lincoln Central Library has recordings about the following places: Saxilby – Mr Wright, two taped recorded interviews form March 1969; Gainsborough – Walter Kelsey b. 24/4/1899, tape recorded 13/7/1988; Mablethorpe – Bell, J. Short history of Mablethorpe, tape recorded 1982; Bardney Lock – Hilda and Sheila nee Wright (lock-keeper's daughters) CD 2007; Saxilby and the Fossdyke CD 2007.

Other tapes contain: Reminiscences of Lincoln Typhoid Epidemic - 1904/5; Mr Browning & Jenny Haith; Lincoln in 1904/5; Lincoln Horse Fair, pubs, sanitation, pigs; VE Day & Wartime memories; Frank Bonsfield b. 11/11/04 tape recorded 15/7/88; Lincoln County Play – recollections of Early Lincoln - taped interview with gentleman born 13/9/1914; Working Lives Recalled, a tape series covering Oil Milling and Railways. The library website: http://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/section.asp?catId=7241

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Lincolnshire Sound Archive - is actually held in Scotland but you can see what it contains and contact the archivist via the website - http://www.preciousvoices.co.uk/onevoice/lsa/

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Louth Library has these recordings: Brian Street - chemist in Louth - 1946-1981; Miss Pyle - librarian for Louth 1948; Percy Fenton; Mary Howden - 1920 Louth Flood; Grace Bett - Lincolnshire Dialect; David Vinter - Bygone Louth; Cecilia Vinter - Lincolnshire Dialect; David Robinson - Lincolnshire Coast; Stuart Sizer - Brown's eye view of Louth; Hymns by Louth Methodist choir; Mary Burrows - Lincolnshire Dialect; Harold Jackson; John Brocklebank - Louth Boys Grammer; Brian Street - chemists - 1946-1981; Jesse Baggaley - Rural Rhymes; Working Life down Riverhead, Louth. Library website: http://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/libraryDetails.asp?library=NA1&catId=2434&multimap=1

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Making History was a film project run with schools in both Lincoln and London in 2011. A sort of 'Who do you think you are?' for young people, experts guided the students who investigated their family histories and presented the results using video. This is the website - http://www.making-history.org/ and this is the project blog - http://www.makinghistory-network.co.uk/ - which contains useful information about tracing your family history.

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The Museum of Lincolnshire Life has a number of recordings covering subjects such as the First and Second World wars, local dialect and pig breeding. Full details of the collections and a link to the museum website can be found here: http://www.le.ac.uk/emoha/emoha/lincslife.html

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North Lincolnshire Museum (formerly Scunthorpe Museum & Art Gallery), has been making oral history recordings since the late 1970’s. It also  has a few reel-to-reel tapes dating back to the 1950’s, including one with the Museum’s founding father, Harold Dudley. These cover many  aspects of  the community, industrial and social history of the area, and include stories and reminiscences dating back to Victorian times.

In 2004, a new computer-based Sound Archive was set up at the Museum with a grant from the Yorkshire Museums Libraries and Archives Council. All the Museum’s existing audio tapes were digitised, and are now fully accessible to the public. The Archive contains over 200 indexed recordings from the North Lincolnshire area, about half of which have written transcripts. It has also raised the profile of oral history work at the Museum, which is now frequently used in permanent and temporary exhibitions. Anyone can use the Archive by appointment, by either calling North Lincolnshire Museum on (01724) 843533 or emailing DaveJTaylor@northlincs.gov.uk

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Pickworth: Change and Continuity In The Rural Community. Pickworth is a small village in South Lincolnshire, experiencing, like many others, rapid and profound change. Set in agricultural surroundings, few of its people now have any direct connection with farming, and its local services (school, post office, shop) have long disappeared. How is the experience of community to be sustained and developed in the face of such changes? The Pickworth project is addressing this question by exploring the heritage of the village and the surrounding area - its landscape, people and built environment as they have evolved over the centuries to the present day. Local people are involved in events designed to encourage interest in the past and concern for the future of the village.

The project started with a ‘launch event’ which brought in people from a wide area who had connections with Pickworth. It is continuing through studies of village life at various times, through oral history, documentary records, farming, landscape and wildlife. Events and activities such as field walking, workshops and a village walk are planned, and local residents are encouraged to contribute in aspects that particularly interest them.

A ‘Book of Pickworth’ and an accompanying DVD will be produced, and a plan of the graves in the churchyard together with details of the graves will be made available to the church. Records and documents relating to this work will be conserved after the closure of the project.
Pickworth Local History Group, contact Norman Whiting, Old Hall, Sykes Lane. Pickworth. SLEAFORD. Lincolnshire. NG34 0TZ. Finishing date: 30 Jun 2008.

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The Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology has published 'Ration Books and Rabbit Pie' in which Lincolnshire folk remember World War II. The book is based on over 20 oral history interviews and also reproduces photos, recipes and documents (all in colour). All of the original material, and the transcripts, have been deposited in the Library for the Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology at Jews Court, Lincoln, where they can be consulted by prior arrangement. Website: http://www.slha.org.uk/ Tel: 01522 521337 or email: slha@lincolnshirepast.org.uk

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The South Holland Life website contains oral histories from the Chain Bridge Forge project - http://www.southhollandlife.com/

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Discover Stamford holds recordings from a Stamford Museum project in 1983, the U3A project 'Talking about Technology' (2001) and the Stamford Industry exhibition (2003). Full details of the collections and contact details can be found here: http://www.le.ac.uk/emoha/emoha/stamford.html

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A website has been set up by The Village Archive Group, Woolsthorpe & Colsterworth, who are recording social history & local people's memories in text, video and audio to preserve vital oral history and accounts of village life in the twentieth and twenty first century. The website states that, 'This whole area has changed from an industrial open cast mining community, within living memory, and is now evolving into an affluent commuter village. Most people were employed locally and have interesting tales to tell. We hope that by recording this social history we will add a personal dimension to already documented historical facts.' Transcripts from oral history interviews are presented under the 'People' section of the website: http://www.villagearchivegroup.com/

Margaret Winn writes that the Village Archive Group of Woolsthorpe and Colsterworth held the launch of their Book and DVD on Monday 1st December 2008 at 2pm at the White Lion pub in Colsterworth. All villagers were welcome particularly the 50+ interviewees who were personally invited.  Over 70 people attended and joined us to raise a toast to everyone who had contributed to our project. The book is entitled ‘We The People’ and the interviewees are the main characters; it is their stories we tell to give the reader a reflection of the experiences of villagers in the 20th century, plus a snapshot of the village today. 

The DVD consists of two village walks recounting the history of Woolsthorpe and Colsterworth within living memory, from a personal perspective. Copies of the book are available to buy at the Post Office or the White Lion in Colsterworth and at the Grantham Library; or from Margaret Winn - marg.winn@southwitham.net - at £10 plus £3 UK P&P. One of our subjects is Noel Sims, who was in the news recently opposing the compulsory purchase and demolition of his house, who tells the story of his school days; he was given the cane every Monday morning as the headmaster knew he would not get through the week without it (!).  We celebrated Noel’s birthday at the launch with a cake and chorus of ‘Happy Birthday!’

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