A digitised version of the Elizabeth Roberts Working Class Oral History Archive will be officially launched at Lancaster University on May 19 – and Mirador will be there to celebrate!
A team from the Regional Heritage Centre (RHC), based in the History Department, has led the project to digitise the Archive – which will be accessible as a fully searchable, largely open access, online resource.
The new website will host the transcripts of memories collected from people in Lancaster, Barrow and Preston during the Seventies and Eighties, looking back on their lives from 1890-1970.
It will be launched at a special oral history conference at the University on May 19 which will feature inputs from a range of oral history projects in the region and talks by poet Mandy Coe and artist Pippa Hale who were commissioned by Mirador to take part in the Walking In Others Footsteps project.
The conference will also host the first showing of a documentary film – Give Me Today, Anytime – also commissioned by Mirador and produced by Jon Randall and Tom Diffenthal.
Dr Sam Riches, from the Regional Heritage Centre, said of the Archive: “It is hailed as one of the most important twentieth-century oral history archives in the UK, allowing us to hear the voices of people born in the late nineteenth century.
The impact of the archive will be transformed once it is digitised and made accessible worldwide.”
Dr Roberts, who lives in Lancaster, was a postgraduate student when she undertook her first oral history project, ‘Social Life in Barrow and Lancaster, 1890-1925’ in the mid-1970s.
Later in the same decade, whilst working at Lancaster University, Dr Roberts undertook a second related project, ‘Social Life in Preston, 1890-1940’.
It is these archives which form one of the most important collections of oral history testimonies collected in the 1970s when oral history was a relatively new form of data collection.
They are an important source for the history of working-class life in the North West.
For full information about the conference and to book places please visit: http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/users/rhc/events/details/2018/OralHistoryintheNorthWest.html