North West Collections >

Bolton Museum and Archive Service
The Dock Museum, Barrow-in-Furness
The King's Own Royal Regiment Museum, Lancaster
Liverpool Record Office
Manchester Jewish Museum
North West Sound Archive
Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre
Urban Strawberry Lunch - Finest Hour Liverpool Blitz Sound Archive
Wigan Heritage Service

 

Collection websites contain:
 Transcripts / Summaries  Audio files              Video files            
 

Bolton Museum and Archive Service / Bolton Remembers the War        
Le Mans Crescent, Bolton, Lancashire, BL1 1SE
Contact: Julie Lamara, Local Studies Librarian
Telephone: 01204 332185 Fax: 01204 332241
Email: archives@bolton.gov.uk

Collection description:
This collection consists of about 600 cassette tape recordings, the bulk of which were produced by the Bolton Oral History Project of 1981-1983. This project, financed through the Manpower Services Commission, resulted in over 300 hours of interviews with local people on topics such as childhood, home life, work, leisure activities, politics, war and community life in the earlier years of the twentieth century. One part of the collection is the Bolton Remembers the War oral history project. Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the project has aimed to record and preserve representative living memories of Bolton people who shared the life of the town during the Second World War.

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

Subjects covered:
Home Front Evacuees Royal Navy

Format of recordings:
Audio - all or some with transcripts
Note: About two thirds of the tapes have been transcribed verbatim and all of them have been summarized. Subject and name indexes of the collection have also been compiled. The tapes themselves together with transcripts, summaries and indexes are available for consultation in the Archive and Local Studies Search Room.

Access:
Researchers can listen to the cassettes and read the transcripts in the Bolton History Centre during opening Hours Monday- Saturday 9am-5pm. Prior notice of visit to hear the tapes is advisable.
Related products:
The recordings from the Bolton Remembers the War project have been used to create the comprehensive Bolton Remembers the War website. The site includes mp3 audio files and full transcripts of the recordings in html and pdf formats.
Current status: The collection is still being developed
Additional notes:
Copies of the collection are also held by the North West Sound Archive.

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The Dock Museum
North Road, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, LA14 2PW
Contact: Sabine Skae, Collections & Exhibitions Manager
Telephone: 01229 876400 Fax: 01229 811361
Email: dockmuseum@barrowbc.gov.uk

Collection description:
The Dock Museum has a small oral history archive relating largely to working life in the borough of Barrow-in-Furness. Approximately half of the collection concerns memories of World War II, whether as a child or a working adult. Oral histories were first recorded in the mid to late 1990s and the recording progamme has recently been re-started.

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

Subjects covered:
Home Front Evacuees British Army Women's Land Army Women shipyard workers

Format of recordings:
Audio - all or some with transcripts
Access:
All audio and transcripts are accessible at the North West Sound Archive. Should a researcher want to access the audio and transcripts at the Dock Museum prior notice is required. There are no charges for use.
Current status: The collection is still being developed
Additional notes:
The North West Sound Archive holds copies of the audio and transcripts of the Dock Museum's oral history archive.

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The King's Own Royal Regiment Museum
Market Square, Lancaster, Lancashire, LA1 1HT
Contact: Peter Donnelly, Curator
Telephone: 01524 64637 Fax: 01524 841692
Email: kingsownmuseum@iname.com 

Collection description:
The King's Own Royal Regiment Museum holds a small number of oral history records which were undertaken between 1989 and 1992.  None have been indexed or transcribed. They cover memories of service with the King's Own in North Africa and Burma.

Recordings relating to World War II: 
4 (Recordings are solely focused on wartime experiences)

Subjects covered:
British Army (N. Africa/Italy)  British Army (Burma/India)  British Army (unspecified)  Prisoners of War (in German/Italian camps)

Format of recordings:
Audio - not transcribed

Access:
Contact the Museum for details.

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Liverpool Record Office
Central Library, William Brown St, Liverpool, L3 8EW
Contact:
Telephone: 0151 233 5817 Fax: 0151 233 5886
Email: recoffice.central.library@liverpool.gov.uk

Collection description:
Liverpool Record Office holds three collections of relevance.

CruelSea (Ref 387 CSR)
Reminiscence project to record the memories of World War II Merchant Navy veterans from Liverpool's black and racial minority communities, including the Chinese, Somali, Caribbean, West African, Arab and Yemeni communities - people whose stories had never been recorded and whose contribution to the history of the city had effectively been lost. The result was a unique archive of World War II memories, reflecting the different experiences of Liverpool's diverse communities. In 2006 the Isle of Man also contributed to the research.

World War Two memories collected by Liverpool Libraries (Ref 940 PWP)
Transcripts of recordings which were undertaken by Liverpool Libraries to record peoples memories of World War Two. Includes DVD footage titled 'Liverpool 1941: the effects of German bombing raids on Liverpool and the docks'. Also included video recordings of interviews undertaken in the library.

Material relating to the evacuation of Beaufort Street School, Toxteth (Ref 940 EVC)
This study was submitted in Sep 2001 for the Open University Oral History Project. It was based on a study of records held at Beaufort Street School that have subsequently been deposited in Liverpool Record Office. Mr. Hunter also conducted a series of interviews with surviving evacuees and the tapes form part of this deposit.

Detailed information on each of these collections can be found by searching the Record Office catalogue using the specific reference numbers.

Recordings relating to World War II: 
c. 100 (Includes recordings solely focused on wartime experience & life histories which include references to wartime experiences)

Subjects covered:
Home Front Evacuees Royal Navy Merchant Navy WAAF (Women's Auxiliary Air Force) 

Format of recordings:
Audio - all or some with transcripts
Video

Access:
Contact the Record Office for details.

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Manchester Jewish Museum
190 Cheetham Hill Road, Manchester, M8 8LW
Contact: Alexandra Grime, Curator
Telephone: 0161 834 9879 Fax:
Email: info@manchesterjewishmuseum.com

Collection description:
Manchester Jewish Museum holds a large collection of oral histories from Manchester Jewish residents. 32 interview relate directly to holocuast experiences. We also hold 328 other interviews which may cover aspects of war time experience as they are the participants life stories. These tapes all have a reference number from J1- J62. They can be searched in the museum by key words, names and associations.

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

Subjects covered:
Home Front Evacuees British Army Holocaust related  Home Guard Refugees (from Europe) 

Format of recordings:
Audio - all or some with transcripts
Access:
Researchers must make an appointment to see the curator of the museum. They can then search for the tape that they wish to listen to and can obtain copies if they wish or listen in the museum. The charge for copies is 2.00 per tape.
Current status: The collection is not currently under development but this is under consideration.
Additional notes:
The collection would be very useful to a researcher that wished to obtain knowledge of Jewish experience during the holocaust.

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North West Sound Archive
Old Steward's Office, Clitheroe Castle, Clitheroe, Lancashire, BB7 1AZ
Contact: Andrew Schofield, Sound Archive Officer
Telephone: 01200 427897 Fax: 01200 427897
Email: nwsa@ed.lancscc.gov.uk

Collection description:
Recordings from various collections held by North West Sound Archive as well as recordings collected by the staff of North Wewt Sound Archive. The collections mainly cover the north west of England but also include memories of serving abroad in the various armed forces.

Recordings relating to World War II:
c.2000 (Includes recordings solely focused on wartime experience & life histories which include references to wartime experiences)

Subjects covered:
Home Front Evacuees  British Army (Northern Europe)  British Army (N. Africa/Italy)  British Army (Burma/India)  British Army (unspecified)  Royal Navy  Royal Air Force (Bomber & Fighter Command)  Royal Air Force (unspecified)  Merchant Navy Prisoners of War (in German/Italian camps) Prisoners of War (in Japanese camps) WAAF (Women's Auxiliary Air Force)  WRNS (Women's Royal Naval Service)  ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service)  Women's Land Army Holocaust related German Prisoner of War (in Allied camps)

Format of recordings:
Audio - all or some with transcripts
Access:
Recordings can be accessed (by appointment) free of charge at North West Sound Archive or copies (copyright restrictions permitting) may be borrowed via post for which a small administrative fee is levied.
Current status: The collection is still being developed

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Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre
Central Library, Old St, Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, OL6 7SG
Contact: Alice Lock, Local Studies Librarian
Telephone: 0161 342 4242 Fax: 0161 342 4245
Email: archives@tameside.gov.uk

Collection description:
We hold two oral history collections. We have over 350 interviews, mainly in life story format, with elderly Tameside residents. They have been recorded by library staff, community groups, individual researchers and as part of the 2005 HLF funded Tameside Oral History Project which recorded the memories of people who have come to Tameside from the Indian sub-continent. We also hold over 1000 interviews recorded by the Manchester Studies Unit between 1974 and the early 1980s with people from all over the North West. There are more detailed descriptions of these collection on our web page, but no online catalogues as yet.

Recordings relating to World War II:
70 - Tameside Oral History Project
7 - Manchester Studies - although many others make reference to it
(Includes recordings solely focused on wartime experience & life histories which include references to wartime experiences)

Subjects covered:
Home Front British Army (Northern Europe)

Format of recordings:
Audio - all or some with transcripts
Access:
Researchers can access the recordings at the Local Studies and Archives Centre - see web page for opening hours. No appointments are necessary, but researchers would probably find it useful to ring in advance to discuss requirements.
Related products:
Hyde Wartime Memories (1996); The Home Front, Life in Ashton during World War 2 by Barbara Atkinson (1995); The Home Front, 1939 - 1945 by Ashton Probus Club (2005)
Current status: Collection is still being developed

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Urban Strawberry Lunch - Finest Hour Liverpool Blitz Sound Archive    
13 Hope St, Liverpool, Merseyside
Contact: Ambrose Reynolds, Artistic Director
Telephone: 0151 709 7562 Fax: 0151 707 2325
Email: info@finest-hour.net

Collection description:
Urban Strawberry Lunch's Finest Hour Liverpool Blitz Sound Archive began in 2003, with a two year "lead up" period. Established with a small grant from HLF, we bought 10 mini Disc recorders, a mini Disk Deck, a CDR Recorder and a laptop computer. The interviews are recorded on mini disc and then transfered to CDR then stored in the Laptop in "iTunes" format. We began the process by taking part in the British Library Oral History interviewing workshops, followed by a series of 1 to 1 interviews either at the home of the interviewee or at another location. In 2004 we embarked upon an outreach workshop programme in junior and senior schools and in youth centres, teaching young people how to conduct an oral history interview and capture it on MD and CDR.

Throughout the project we have mounted an annual event at St Luke's Church, Liverpool. The church was destroyed during the "May Blitz" of 1941 and acts as a poignant reminder of the damage done to the city of Liverpool during WW2. Our key target group are non-combatants, principally people who were children or young during the Blitz, especially examining the effect that the Blitz had on young minds and the developments that followed.

The collection is held in 3 formats to ensure longevity of the recordings; Mini Disc, these will eventually be donated to the North West Sound Archive who only use MDs. CDR these recording will be donated to The New Museum of Liverpool Life when it opens sometime in 2010. The principal media for reference purposes are MP3 files which are held on the projects Laptop and can be copied to small MP3 players (ipod). We hope to expand the output by placing the entire Sound Archive on-line, possibly through the iTunes on-line store. The use of the modern mp3 format bring the concept full circle as most young people are familiar with this format and can therefore guide and assist older people who wish to listen to the Sound Archive. Bringing into focus the alterior motive of the project to bring young and old people together with a common purpose and new understanding of each others worlds.

Recordings relating to World War II:
Approximately 5.5 days worth of recordings (Recordings are solely focused on wartime experiences)

Subjects covered:
Home Front Evacuees Women's Land Army
Note: Principally non-combatants who were children or young in 1941

Format of recordings:
Audio - all or some with transcripts
Access:
Researchers may gain access to the Archive simply by emailing or telephoning us and requesting access, there are no restrictions on it's use and the charge is based on the cost of the discs. The archive is not yet fully indexed so it may be very time consuming at present for researchers to find the relevant excerpt. We quite often copy the whole archive on to several discs and lend the whole thing out. We are in the process of adding a digital index that lists minute by minute the content of the archive, making it easier to find the desired topic or excerpt ie. all the people who were buried alive, for example. We hope that by May 2009 the entire archive will be fully indexed and available on line, pending funding.
Related products:
We are developing an "Urban History" educational pack to provide assistance for other people wishing to engage young people in Oral History projects, especially to do with WW2 and the Liverpool Blitz, we hope that the learning pack will be available in autumn 2008. In 2006 we worked with Wirral Youth Theatre to produce a show "Living with History" based upon our Sound Archive, the show was devised, produced and directed by the young people and took place in St Luke's (bombed out) Church on the anniversary of its destruction, there are plans to release the show and "the making of" on DVD at some point when funding and time allows.
Current status: The collection is still under development

Additional notes:
The subject of WW2 is so wide, yet so little is known of "The May Blitz of Liverpool" the real strength of our Archive is that it has a very narrow focus, it's only about The May Blitz of Liverpool and whilst it contains some fascinating insights into the private lives of its contributors, the common thread is the Liverpool May Blitz. The project was initiated in 2003 with a 6 year life span for the recording of the interviews, this keeps an air of urgency to the project. In the final year of the project we will be focusing on the Chinese community in Liverpool, expanding the language to include interviews in Cantonese and Mandarin with simultaneous translation using one speaker (or headphone) for English and the other for Chinese. The former China-Town in Liverpool was completely obliterated during The May Blitz and was subsequently moved to the site that it now occupies on Berry St. Nothing is documented about the destruction of the old China-Town in Liverpool, which also happens to be the oldest in Europe.

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Wigan Heritage Service
History Shop, Library Street, Wigan, WN1 1NU
Contact: Yvonne Webb, Collections Development Manager
Telephone: 01942 828123 Fax:
Email: Y.Webb@wlct.org

Collection description:
Wigan Heritage Service holds a small collection of oral history recordings which include a number of references to local peoples' experiences during the Second World War.

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

Subjects covered:
Home Front British Army Royal Air Force ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service)  Home Guard

Format of recordings:
Audio

Access:
Please contact the Heritage Service for details.

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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.