East of England Collections >

Burnham-on-Crouch and District Museum
Epping Forest District Museum
Essex Sound and Video Archive
Fordham History Society
Great Yarmouth Museums
Grantham Museum
Mersea Island Museum
Museum of Lincolnshire Life
Stamford Museum
Suffolk Record Office

 

Collection websites contain:
 Transcripts / Summaries  Audio files              Video files            


Burnham-on-Crouch and District Museum
Coronation Road, Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex, CM0 8AS
Contact: Henry Potten, Curator
Telephone: 01621 783444 Fax:
Email: histmus@aol.com

Collection description:
The Museum contains a number of wartime related items:
Recording of account of Dunkirk relief operation by local participant, Walter Amos.
Publication of transcript of Amos in museum publication 'Burnham and the Navy'
Collection of photos of Bradwell wartime air base
Collection of photos of building of Bradwell Bombing Range by local company 
Pictures of evacuated boys from London training ship/school Exeter (2)
Some pictures of local men in forces WWII (poor quality)
Some photos of locally-held German POWS as farm workers 
Publication of an account of building the Bradwell Bombing Range, by the Museum.
The collections form part of the local archives collected by the Museum since 1972, as an aspect of local history of the Dengie Hundred Area of Essex.

Recordings relating to World War II: 
1 (The recording is solely focused on wartime experience)

Subjects covered:
Home Front Royal Navy

Format of recordings:
Audio - with transcript (also published in 'Burnham and the Navy')
Access:
Prior notice required. Use for Educational purposes or research. Pictures copyable for a fee, but subject to copyright by Museum.
Related products:
'Burnham and the Navy' (41pp, illustrated). Compiled by Henry Potten. Including an account of the Burnham training naval base in WWII, as HMS St Mathew; Landing-craft training of naval and Royal Marine personnel. Available from the Museum - £4 + p&p
'King and Hines and the building of the Bradwell Bombing Range' (illustrated) by Douglas Joslin, £3.50 + p&p
Forthcoming: Reminiscences by local shipwright and aircraft worker David Chipperfield, including his experiences as local ARP rescue squad worker.
Current status: The collection is currently under development

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Epping Forest District Museum
39-41 Sun Street, Waltham Abbey, Essex, EN9 1EL
Contact: Jill Holmen, Collections Manager
Telephone: 01992 716882 Fax: 01992 700427
Email: jholmen@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Collection description:
Changing Perceptions: an Oral History Project to record residents' experience of life in Epping Forest District during the Twentieth Century. Recorded c.2000-2005. For use in exhibitions and for research. Reference Numbers begin CP/EFDM

Recordings relating to World War II:
10-15 (Includes recordings solely focused on wartime experience & life histories which include references to wartime experiences)

Subjects covered:
Not specified - please contact the Museum for further information

Format of recordings:
Audio - all with index and summary, some with transcripts
Access:
By appointment. No charge made for access.
Current status: The collection is not currently under development

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Essex Sound and Video Archive
Essex Record Office, Wharf Road, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 6YT
Contact: Martin Astell, Sound Archivist
Telephone: 01245 244644 Fax: 01245 244655
Email: ero.enquiry@essex.gov.uk

Collection description:
The Essex Sound and Video Archive holds a number of significant collections of oral history recordings relating to Essex. This material comes from the work of local societies, academics, students, documentary makers and individuals who are keen to record the reminiscences and experiences of Essex people from all walks of life. We also hold collections of broadcast material. Selected items have been received from BBC Essex radio since its first transmission in 1986. Selections from local hospital TV and talking newspapers are also deposited. The archive comprises a unique chronicle of life in Essex as told first-hand by its residents. Accounts of working life, tracing the emergence of some occupations and the decline of others, and descriptions of home life and childhood form the backbone of the collection. The experience of life in two World Wars, floods, harvests, holidays, Christmas, courtship, and class divisions are all remembered. The changing face of Essex, the city commuter and the retired agricultural worker, transport and technology, the rising standard of living and migration into the County are all represented. Collections which contain a significant amount of material relating to the Second World War include SA 1 - BBC ESSEX; SA 8 - COLCHESTER RECALLED; SA 20 - TED HALEY RECORDINGS; SA 24 - MISCELLANEOUS RECORDINGS; and SA 25 - ESSEX POLICE ORAL HISTORY RECORDINGS.

Recordings relating to World War II:
400 (Includes recordings solely focused on wartime experience & life histories which include references to wartime experiences)

Subjects covered:
Home Front • Evacuees British Army Royal Navy Royal Air Force Merchant Navy • Prisoners of War (in German/Italian camps) Prisoners of War (in Japanese camps) • WAAF (Women's Auxiliary Air Force) Women's Land Army Canadian Armed Forces American Armed Forces German Prisoner of War (in Allied camps) Italian Prisoner of War (in Allied camps)

Format of recordings:
Audio - all or some with transcripts
Video - no transcripts
Access:
Oral history recordings are available for research at the Essex Record Office in Chelmsford. No appointment is necessary, but a County Archive Research Network (CARN) reader's ticket is required. See website for details.
Related products:
"Essex at War 1939-45" teaching pack including audio cassette of reminiscences, photographs, maps, facsimile documents and teaching notes. Available from the Essex Record Office and via the website.
Current status: The collection is not currently under development
Additional notes:
Our collection is particularly strong in the area of the Home Front and civilian experiences of the war in different parts of Essex and East London. Another area covered in some depth (by BBC Essex) is Essex airfields at war.

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Fordham History Society  
Ditchling, Quilters Green, Fordham, Colchester, Essex, CO6 3LZ
Contact: Jess Jephcott
Telephone: 01206 242228 Fax: 01206 240099
Email: jessjephcott@aol.com
Web: www.camulos.com/fordham.htm

Collection description:
This is an ongoing collection of audio visual recordings of people's life story memories which include WW2 recollections.

Recordings relating to World War II:
All in the collection (Life histories which include references to wartime experiences)

Subjects covered:
Home Front • Evacuees British Army (all theatres) •  Royal Navy • Royal Air Force (Bomber & Fighter Command) • Merchant Navy • American Armed Forces

Format of recordings:
Video - all or some with transcripts
DVD (included within)
Access:
Please contact the Society
Current status: The collection is currently under development

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Great Yarmouth Museums 
Time & Tide Museum, Blackfriars Road, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, NR30 2SH
Contact: Colin Stott, Learning Manager
Telephone: 01493 743930 Fax:
Email: colin.stott@norfolk.gov.uk

Collection description:
The Great Yarmouth Voices archive contains over 200 recordings of people living in the Great Yarmouth area. Several of the recordings refer to life in and around wartime Yarmouth. Some refer to wartime experience in other parts of the country or in the armed forces abroad.
The archive is accessible for research purposes at Time and Tide Museum. We are currently duplicating our recordings so that copies will be available at the Norfolk Records Office. We are continuing to record people's ,memories of all aspects of Great yarmouth life. Clips of recordings are being added to the Our Great Yarmouth website - http://www.ourgreatyarmouth.org.uk/

Recordings relating to World War II: 
30 (Includes recordings solely focused on wartime experience & life histories which include references to wartime experiences)

Subjects covered:
Home Front • Evacuees British Army (Northern Europe) Royal Air Force (Bomber Command / other)

Format of recordings:
Audio - all or some with transcripts
Access:
Recordings can be accessed by appointment at Time & Tide Museum. Copies are also being placed with the Norfolk Record Office.
Current status: The collection is currently under development

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Grantham Museum  
St Peter's Hill, Grantham, Lincolnshire,  NG31 6PY
Contact: Deborah Bircham, Collections Officer
Telephone: 01476 568783 Fax: 01476 592457
Email: grantham.museum@lincolnshire.gov.uk

Collection description:
A small collection of recordings of mostly unidentified local people talking about wartime experiences in and around Grantham, including the presence of American troops in the town, and VE Day. Most tapes were made in 1993 as part of research for Grantham ’43 exhibition. The collection also includes an interview conducted by member of Museum staff with Harry Humphries, Adjutant of 617 Dambusters Squadron, when his collection of Dambusters material was purchased by Grantham Museum in 1996.

Recordings relating to World War II: 
5 (Recordings are solely focused on wartime experience)

Subjects covered:
Home Front • Evacuees British Army (North Africa / Italy) •  Royal Air Force (Bomber Command) • American Armed Forces

Format of recordings:
Audio - only one with transcript (Harry Humphries interview)
Video - no transcripts
Access:
By prior appointment only, contact Grantham Museum to arrange. Researchers will be required to sign ‘Application to use Audio Recordings’ Form. Access is free for personal research purposes. A fee will be charged for commercial usage.
Related products:
A book about the Dambusters’ published in-house by the Museum used the Harry Humphries collection and interview as source material. (‘To the Dams and Back’ by Katie Page and John Finch available from Museum shop).

A research thesis by the former curator at Grantham Museum written about the American troops based in the town used the oral history recordings in this collection as source material.A copy is available at Museum for research purposes only. Copyright reserved by author. 
Current status: Not presently under development but this is under consideration

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Mersea Island Museum
c/o 54 Upland Road, West Mersea, Colchester, Essex, CO5 8DG
Contact: Tony Millatt
Telephone: 01206 385191 Fax:
Email: Info@merseamuseum.org.uk

Collection description:
Interviews with local residents, with some material about their experiences during WW2. Some of the experiences are local, for example commercial fishing during the war; other experiences are while serving in the armed forces elsewhere.

Recordings relating to World War II:
12 (Life histories which include references to wartime experiences)

Subjects covered:
Home Front • Evacuees British Army (North Africa / Italy) Royal Air Force Merchant Navy • Prisoners of War (in German/Italian camps) Prisoners of War (in Japanese camps) • Women's Land Army Other: Local commercial fishermen continuing to work through the war

Format of recordings:
Audio - all or some with transcripts
DVD (included within)
Additonal notes: Transcripts are being developed on a private section of the Museum website. The records are searchable but at the moment, most recordings have only basic indexing information.
Access:
We do not yet have an access policy. The effort is being put into digitising about 200 tape cassettes. However, we will consider requests for access.
Current status: The collection is currently under development
Additional notes:
Some of our recordings are also held by Colchester Recalled. Many of our recordings are coming from Lions Talking Magazine produced by the local Lions since 1979 and containing many interviews with local people, referring to the War. About 45 out of over 300 cassette tapes have been digitised to date.

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Museum of Lincolnshire Life
Burton Road, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, LN1 3LY
Contact: Sara Basquill, Collections Officer
Telephone: 01522 528448 Fax: 01522 521264
Email: sara.basquill@lincolnshire.gov.uk

Collection description:
Collection of audio cassettes and transcripts from Lincoln Community Play research undertaken in project 'Memories of Wartime Lincoln' (2001).
Further tweleve recordings on audio cassettes and reels, made maimly in the late 1970s, of local people's wartime reminiscences, nine of which are specifically about VE Day.
Two recordings with Royal Lincolnshire Regiment veterans.

Recordings relating to World War II:
35 (Includes recordings solely focused on wartime experience & life histories which include references to wartime experiences)

Subjects covered:
Home Front • British Army

Format of recordings:
Audio - all or some with transcripts
Access:
Access is by appointment. Reproduction and use subject to permission of the interviewee.
Current status: Not presently under development but this is under consideration

Additional notes:
Lincolnshire Heritage Service has been working with the Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology, who are planning to collate oral history recordings from around the county, produce copies, and make these recordings accessible to researchers from a central point. It is also hoped that some of these recordings will be published on the Internet - Lincolnshire's Community Grid for Learning.

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Stamford Museum
Broad Street, Stamford, Lincolnshire, PE9 1PJ
Contact: Deborah Bircham, Collections Officer
Telephone: 01780 766317  Fax: 01780 480363
Email: stamford_museum@lincolnshire.gov.uk

Collection description:
The recordings were taken as part of an oral history project conducted at Stamford Museum in 1983, and the wartime recollections in these form part of a collection of general Stamford Memories.

Recordings relating to World War II:
4 (Includes recordings solely focused on wartime experience & life histories which include references to wartime experiences)

Subjects covered:
Home Front • British Army (Italy / North Africa) Home Guard

Format of recordings:
Audio - all or some with transcripts
Access:
By prior appointment only, contact Stamford Museum to arrange. Researchers will be required to sign ‘Application to use Audio Recordings’ Form. Access is free for personal research purposes. A fee will be charged for commercial usage.
Related products:
Some educational material and lectures published in-house by the Museum feature extracts from these recordings. Copies can be purchased from the Museum.
Current status: The collection is not presently under development, but this is under consideration.
Additional notes:
The recordings are mostly related to local history, Stamford-based memories and civilian accounts. One detailed account by a local man of fighting in Italy at Monte Cassino.

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Suffolk Record Office
Gatacre Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 2LQ
Contact: Bridget Hanley, Collections Manager
Telephone: 01473 584541 Fax: 01473 584533
Email: bridget.hanley@libher.suffolkcc.gov.uk
Web: www.suffolk.gov.uk/sro

Collection description:
The majority of the oral histories are held in a single collection, The Suffolk Oral History Project (Reference L401) which is a unique collection of Suffolk-related sound recordings and oral reminiscences of life histories, events and places, covering many and varied aspects of the County’s local history. There are approximately 750 recordings that were collected by record office staff from various private and public sources throughout Suffolk, as well as donations of collections from other projects and organisations. The majority of the recordings were collected between November 1985 and March 1988, with a final collection of recordings being made up to 2002.
There is also The Lynda Burrows collection of 16 catalogued tapes made between 2001-2004, recording interviews with 29 Suffolk women in connection with their experiences during the 1939-1945 War. (Reference L500)

Recordings relating to World War II:
192 (Includes recordings solely focused on wartime experience & life histories which include references to wartime experiences)

Subjects covered:
Home Front • Evacuees British Army Royal Navy • Royal Air Force • Merchant Navy WAAF (Women's Auxiliary Air Force) WRNS (Women's Royal Naval Service) Women's Land Army American Armed Forces German Prisoner of War (in Allied camps) Italian Prisoner of War (in Allied camps)
Other subjects covered:
Aircraft spotting; ARP; Bombing raids; Bombing of convoys; Czech pilots; Fire service; Fire watching; French Navy; Garretts of Leiston and their work during WW2 (D Day Mulberry Harbour); Home Guard & Local Defence Volunteer Force; Mines and Mine-sweeping; Newfoundland Regiment; Observer Corps; Prisoners of War (British); RAF airfields in Suffolk; Rationing; RMC; Suffolk Regiment; Trinity House Lightship; US Air Force air bases and pilots; Women in the Home Guard.
There are also some oral history reminiscences of the bombing of London, Norwich, and Southampton

Format of recordings:
Audio - all or some with transcripts
Access:
Some recordings are marked “Restrictions on access”, which indicate that there are restrictions which were placed on the recording by the interviewee at the time of the recording. All the master recordings and transcripts are held at the Suffolk Record Office, Ipswich. The record office is open from Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm. Some recordings are available for free loan on C60 or C90 cassette tapes through the Suffolk County Library Service. The cassette tapes are kept at the County Library, Ipswich, but tapes may be requested and borrowed from any library in Suffolk.
Current status: The collection is not presently under development, but this is under consideration.
Additional notes:
The collection will be digitised by December 2009 as part of an HLF funded project - Suffolk Voices Restored. The recordings will be then available on CD for lending through the Suffolk County Library Service and some digital extracts will be available online.
The collection compliments other collections in our care, including the Suffolk Regiment Collection (details available on the A2A website). There is a leaflet about this collection and a list of Suffolk Record Office sources for WWII which are available on our website.

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This website is continually being updated. If you would like to suggest a collection which should be included, please contact me.