Oral History Project



In April 2002 the History Society was awarded a grant of £10,574 from the Local Heritage Initiative, “to raise awareness of the heritage of Sulgrave, Northamptonshire by training local people in oral history techniques and producing a detailed oral history of the village, to create a leaflet-guided heritage trail and arrange, as part of a Local History Week, an exhibition, guided walks and historical re-enactments”.

This took place in May 2002 and each activity involved a great number of villagers. The very fine Sulgrave History Walk Leaflet was completed and distributed to all by the end of the year. This period also saw the special training of the Interviewers for the Oral History Project. Nine were trained in all. Sets of recording equipment were purchased as was a computer and all the necessary accoutrements needed to transcribe the interviews, to prepare individual CDs and to print out finished copies.

2003 saw the mammoth task of organising the interviews and setting up recording sessions with over 40 Sulgrave residents. This often needed several visits before everyone was happy with what had been captured on tape. Pictures were taken to add to the oral record.

Then came the even more time consuming transcription of each interview, revising, reviewing, and re-typing of each script until all were satisfied. Next came the transferring of the tapes to CDs and the reproduction of copies for each interviewee as well as a set to be lodged at the Northampton County Record Office. This was to take up the next three years and culminated in the Presentation Evening on 27th March 2008.

Extracts from interview transcriptions are being used in the production of an occasional series of webpages bringing together memories in common themes. The first of these is “Wartime Memories“.

The oral history production team comprised David Dunlop, Joan Gottowik, Ann and Peter Mackness, Julie Metcalfe, Clare and Peter Pollak, Christina Shillito, Emily Whitehead, Colin Wootton, Sue Young and Martin Sirot-Smith, Project Co-ordinator.

Team photos by Peter Mackness:

Back row l to r, Peter Pollak, Nancy Young, Richard Young, George Metcalfe
Front row l to r, Julie Metcalfe, Sue Young, Jenny Sarton

L to r, Julie Metcalfe, Clare Pollak, Jenny Sarton

Joan Gottowik

L to r, Sue Young and Ann Mackness

L to r, Martin Sirot-Smith, George Metcalfe, Julie Metcalfe, Peter Pollak, Clare Pollak

Donald Barrett interviewed by Julie Metcalfe

Martin Sirot-Smith

Donald Taylor interviewed by Martin Sirot-Smith


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