Bishop’s Waltham has been running oral history projects for some time and has built up a lot of knowledge and volunteer enthusiasm and goodwill- see their website to find out what they have been doing https://www.bishopswalthammuseum.com/oral-history. You can find their recordings on WW2 in Bishop’s Waltham, The Great Pond, the Abbey Mill and James Duke & Son Ltd in the 20th Century and Bishop’s Waltham in the 1950s to the 1970s.
The word of their success has spread to surrounding parishes who want to do the same – rather than start completely from scratch the group has been enlarged to cover the whole area in the east of Winchester City Council, with or on behalf of neighbouring local history groups, to be known as Bishop’s Waltham Area Oral History Group.
The Group has the will, the people, practical and professional knowledge and experience but lacked some equipment and funding for some setup costs.
The HAT grant, for £1557, will be used to purchase the dedicated laptop, hard drives, foot pedal, software and consumables needed for the new group’s mission to record and preserve memories of everyday life in the small market towns and villages to the east of Winchester. Part of the grant will be used for tailored training from the Oral History Society to ensure that archival processes are up to the highest standards.
Experienced oral historians from Bishop’s Waltham Museum are now partnering newcomers from Botley, Durley and Curdridge History Society, Wickham History Society and the Swanmore Society to re-kindle interest in the passing on of community memory to future generations.
The group’s coordinator, Trish Simpson-Davis says:
“We are very aware that there may still be local people who were children in World War 2 with unrecorded memories, particularly from smaller settlements like Curbridge, Owlsebury or Shedfield. Since 2014 we have collected some spell-binding individual stories from ordinary folk, which are already held at Bishop’s Waltham Museum. We now aim to up our game with better archiving and good quality sound equipment.
Almost the first discovery was that our partner groups held forgotten recordings in pre-digital format, which after conservation, cataloguing, transcription and interpretation, may reveal their secrets for the public to enjoy.”
Their interviews with be available for everyone to use and it is clear this group is one to watch.
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