This oral history collection was created between 1984 and 1986. It contained over 120 interviews of recollections of life in Chester and the surrounding areas during the 20th century.
The Chester Archaeological Society Oral History Project later became the Chester Oral History Group. After 1987 the interview recordings were deposited with Chester City Archives under their management. Loan cassettes were initially with Chester History and Heritage Centre at the Grosvenor Museum; they only became available at Chester Record Office after the amalgamation of Chester City Archives and Chester Record Office. Master cassettes and other documentation including index cards and transcripts were stored elsewhere until 2015.
The interviews not only cover occupations and work history but also the social changes in and around Chester, namely the housing provision. Childhood memories of events and activities are also captured from days out on the river to the long awaited arrival of Collin’s fair.
Other stories about the history and heritage of Chester have also been captured.
Miss Bingley talks about the art school she attended, which was located on the top floor of the Grosvenor museum. She describes the layout of the floor and the activities and classes that took place. (D-8759-5) transcript here
Mrs Banham recalls childhood days out, particularly the boat trips to Eccleston Ferry, with music on the steamers and a stall selling ‘pop’. (D-8759-4) transcript here
Mr. Burcott worked for Chester Corporation Electricity Department in the 1930s. Here he remembers the music played in both Groves & Grosvenor parks before and after WWII. (D-8759-2) transcript here
Mrs. Salmon was interviewed for the project on a number of occasions. She remembers life in Chester throughout the 1920s and 1930s. In the first clip she shares her recollections of May Day celebrations as a child. (D-8759-9_2) transcript here
In this second clip Mrs. Salmon talks about the old market, recalling the interior, produce sold and opening hours. (D-8759-9_4) transcript here
Here is Mr. S. H. Brown on Brown’s the department store, Eastgate Street, Chester.
The full length interviews will be available at Cheshire Archives and Local Studies in due course. A selection of interviews will be published on the British Library website.
You can read the full descriptions online at the British Library’s Sound and Moving Image catalogue. The British Library collection reference is UAP017. The local reference is D-8759.