The people's voice at the end of the last Millennium is to be preserved for posterity thanks to a £370,000 cash injection from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The University of Leicester, Leicester City Council and Leicester County Council have received the largest single grant to the East Midlands from the Fund.
Now the University's Centre for Urban History, Leicester City Museums and the Record Office will proceed with a pioneering project to draw together and preserve 1,600 tapes made since the 1970s. The three-year project follows nearly two years of close collaboration that led to the successful bid.
The project, the East Midlands Oral History Archive, will involve:
Professor Richard Rodger, of the Centre for Urban History at the University of Leicester, said: This pioneering people's history will record and interpret the final decades of the second Millennium through the opinions and views of many communities in Leicestershire.
The project involves a unique collaboration of the University with all the major museums, archives, city and county authorities. It will involve local history groups and schools, and all elements of the community.
Richard Rodger said all schools participating in the project will receive a free CD of the project so that the valuable memories of 50 years can be captured for future generations.
We will produce a unique account of Leicester and Leicestershire life. No other area in Britain will be covered as comprehensively in a 'history of its people.'
Richard Rodger said the project had a particular significance in the new Millennium: We live in an age that does not write things down. Telephone conversations, faxes and emails are how people communicated. So historians have to rely increasingly on people's memories and if we do not act soon to record these, it will be an act of cultural vandalism- we will lose priceless information about the way people lived and what they thought.
Cynthia Brown, education community development officer for Leicester City Museums, said: This is wonderful news. People's memories and experiences can add so much to our understanding of the history of the City and County, and oral history offers everyone an opportunity to contribute to the record of their own history.
The project group is anxious to hear from people who have made recordings on relevant subjects. Please contact Richard Rodger on 252 2378, Cynthia Brown on 262 7898 or Carl Harrison on 257 1080.
NOTE TO NEWSDESK: For more information, please contact:
Richard Rodger, Centre for Urban History, University of Leicester, on 0116 252 2378,
Cynthia Brown, Education Community Development Officer for Leicester City Museums, 0116 262 7898,
Carl Harrison, Chief Archivist, Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland, 0116 257 1080.
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