Oldham Oral History

Oldham Oral History – Voices of the Past

The Voices of the Past collection was created by Oldham Local Studies and Oldham Museums Service between 1985 and 1999. This collection includes various distinct projects, which all feature life story interviews with people in Oldham born between the late nineteenth and the mid-twentieth centuries:

  • Local librarian and author Freda Millett’s interviews with cotton mill workers and half-timers (1980s). Freda interviewed dozens of elderly Oldhamers in the course of researching her local history books.
  • North West Sound Archivist Ken Howarth’s interviews with Oldham people (1980s)
  • Interviews with workers at the Ferranti electrical engineering works in Waterhead (Heritage Lottery Fund project, late 1990s)
  • Interviews with people connected to Dr Kershaw’s Home (now Dr Kershaw’s Hospice) in Royton (Heritage Lottery Fund project, c.2000)

Many of Freda Millett’s interviews were recorded on open reel tapes but only a few of these survive. Most of the early interviews only survive as compact cassette copies. Some cassettes in the collection are duplicates of those held elsewhere and have therefore been excluded. Most of the collection was duplicated by the North West Sound Archive; the best surviving copy in each case has been chosen for digitisation. We plan to publish a selection of these recordings on the British Library’s website.

The full length interviews will be available at Oldham Local Studies and Archives in due course.

You can read the full descriptions online at the British Library’s Sound and Moving Image catalogue. The British Library collection reference is UAP010. The local reference is OLDHAMOH.

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