BLOG 2 - Oral History Project
10th December 2013
Upper Sixth A level and IB History students from Bromsgrove School have been taking part in the Oral History Project. The Oral History Project forms part of the five year Townscape Heritage Initiative which is being coordinated by David Thomas for Bromsgrove District Council. The broader initiative is a programme of work with retail traders in Bromsgrove's High Street who are seeking to reinstate earlier shop front designs. Since the town has a rich history, Justin Hughes of Worcestershire's Archive and Archaeology Service (WAAS) has been commissioned to work with Bromsgrove School to assist students in their recording of local people's memories from the 1940s onwards.
The Upper Sixth pupils worked alongside Pat Tansell of Bromsgrove Library, collecting stories and recollections from residents who remembered much detail about life in the town before and after the High Street was pedestrianized; there were tales of the High Street’s former alehouses (seventeen in number!), the hallelujah lamp, mods and rockers and bakeries and butchers.
The pupils were intrigued to find out how the High Street has changed and how the contributors’ experiences of Bromsgrove have shaped their lives. During the last meeting students were interviewed by the locals themselves so that the project can gain further relevance by comparing the experiences of different generations.
Justin Hughes commented that “The shared memories are an insightful, moving and amusing social history, and we will be producing a film narrative of the stories, due to be released in the early summer of 2014".
Julia Zafar, Head of History at Bromsgrove School commented, “this project brings the local environment and the impact it has on people into focus for the students. It has demonstrated to them that History happens as we live”.