History of the Project

After taking specialist advice from the East Midlands Oral History Archive based at the University of Leicester, the most appropriate recording equipment was purchased and eleven volunteers attended an initial oral history workshop in September 2007 conducted by Leicester University followed by a further training session in the Village Hall after the interview teams had completed their first interview, so that techniques could be compared and best practice followed. 

Over thirty potential interviewees were identified over the course of the first year of the Project, though it was envisaged that no more than twenty would be recorded and that the programme of interviewing would continue after the Project had officially ended. The first interview and recording was successfully completed in January 2008.

The interviewers worked in teams of two so that one would do the interviewing and one would operate the recording equipment. On the subsequent interview they would switch roles. As each interview was completed it was typed up by another set of volunteers. 

On completion of the first eleven interviews the recordings were handed over to Dave Sankey to create a set of DVDs and to select extracts to be loaded onto audio handsets so that visitors to the Project’s second exhibition could listen to the interviewees talking about various topics.  To make the selections it was necessary to annotate every transcript to identify the topics the conversation had ranged over and to edit the recordings into smaller segments by topic. For the exhibition, segments from each interview were then grouped by topic e.g. farming, schooldays, shops etc so that the company that hired out the audio equipment could load them onto the handsets.  A number of photographs were then selected from the archive to sit alongside the recordings at the exhibition to illustrate the anecdotes.

For the DVDs the whole of all the interviews, comprising some eight and half hours of recording material, including extracts from Margaret Moutrie’s memoirs read by Chris Ditcham, were placed on three DVDs to be sold as a boxed set. Having edited each interview by topic it was possible to rearrange the order into a more logical sequence in some cases where an interview had ranged over a number of topics and then returned to them from time to time. Editing also provide the opportunity to remove hesitations, long pauses, errors, coughing and other extraneous noises. This made for a more coherent and dynamic flow to the conversation. To add colour to these recordings a further selection was made from the Photographic Archive to illustrate every anecdote so that the DVDs could be listened to while appropriate pictures appeared on the TV screen with more information provided as captions.   Where this wasn’t possible an internet picture would be used, though to avoid any assumption that the image was from the Archive such images were captioned “Internet picture.”