Oral History Project
Ever since Warley Woods Community Trust began managing Warley Woods in 2004, people have been coming into the Trust’s office sharing their memories. It became clear that people wanted to share them and that these fascinating stories should be recorded for others to hear. This was the impetus behind planning this oral history project and we were keen to ensure we recorded as many memories as we could.
The Community Trust has been able to undertake this project thanks to the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. Their grant provided funding for training, equipment and professional support with sound editing, video production and transcribing.
Beginning in February 2012 with the first training course for interviewers, our volunteers have been out and about around the area responding to people who offered stories for our collection. Thirty-nine people have shared the part that Warley Woods has played in their lives and their stories span from the 1920s to the present day.
A book of these stories has been published by Warley Woods Community Trust which is available at the shop at The Pavilion, Lightwoods Hill. We think it does paint a fabulous picture of experiences and detail which ordinary history books could never tell.
Part of this project involved the students of two local schools: Abbey Junior School and St Gregory’s Catholic Primary School. In spring and summer 2013 Julia Letts of the Oral History Society visited the schools over a number of weeks, training the students in how to be good interviewers. The students then interviewed seven local residents about their memories of Warley Woods on camera, filmed by a professional film company, Scraggy Dog. The DVD of this part of the project is also available at the Trust’s shop.
The results from the whole project, every full interview, every transcript and every photograph have been deposited in Sandwell’s Community Archive at Smethwick Library for future generations.
Below are links to some excepts of some of the stories that we have recorded
|Paul Ross||Park Keepers and Scouts||1.31|
|Dorothy Ludlow||The Morris Dancers||0.19|
|Roger Phipps||Cross Country Running||0.47|
|Nigel Lloyd||Warley Woods Pacers||1.08|
|Sharon Williamson||The Fallen Down Tree||1.01|
|Robert Jones||Sledging Accident||0.38|
|David Gray||The Icehouse||2.56|
|Steve Cemm||The Fence||0.56|
|Anthea Kirk||Near the Abbey||0.34|
|Robert Jones||Inside the Abbey||1.35|
|Derek Ward||Inside the Abbey||0.5|
|Anthea Atherton||Inside Abbey Club House||0.34|
|Peter Munn||Inside the Abbey||1.15|
|Jack Yates||Inside the Abbey||1.14|
|Keith Hutchinson||The Pool||1.4|
|Paul Ross||The Rose Garden||0.59|
|Roger Haslam||Planting the Rose Garden||1.46|
|Charles Garfield||Bert Fereday and Peter Butler||1.58|
|Ernie Archer||Busy Golf Course||0.59|
|David Atherton||Playing Gladys Lunn||1.34|
|Peter Munn||The New Pavilion||2.18|
|Gill Whittaker||Air Raid Shelter||1.33|
|Vic Curtis||The Bomber||1.49|
|Peter Bird||The Home guard||2.2|
|Bernard Cox||The Secret Tree||1.32|
|Joyce Fisher||The Prefab||1.33|
|Jack Yates||Staff Misbehaving||2.07|
|Roger Haslam||Clearing Leaves||1.01|
|Peter Munn||Working on the Golf Course||2.48|
|Steve Eling||Glass Houses Entrance||0.27|
|Brian Simmonds||Working in the Glass Houses||1.59|
|Keith Hutchinson||Metal Detectors||1.37|
|Judy Priest||99 Lightwoods Hill: a House of Strays||1.26|
Charity number: 1092754