East Midlands Oral History Archive

Oral history projects in Derbyshire

If you would like to add details of your project to this page, email us at emoha@le.ac.uk.


The Derbyshire Cricket Foundation led a project to create an oral history of cricket in Derbyshire, collecting audio-visual reminiscences about cricket at every level within the county, from grassroots to the Test arena. The project enabled volunteers to capture recollections and memories of former Test and county cricketers, spectators of all ages and from all backgrounds, club cricketers, women, disabled and partially-sighted cricketers, officials, scorers, umpires and groundstaff. See more on the project's YouTube channel. Funding of £72,200 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.


Buxton & District U3ABuxton Crescent & Thermal Spa Heritage TrustBuxton Museum & Art GalleryDiscover BuxtonPast Lives Project partnered on the Buxton's Present from the Past project to capture memories from the past, preserve them in the present and record them for the future. The collected memories were deposited at Buxton Museum & Art Gallery and the Derbyshire Record Office.  


Deeds Not Words Towards LiberationVox Feminarum: Women's Voices recorded, preserved and raised awareness about women's social and political activism in Derbyshire. Using oral history it explored women's activism history, local activism, the rationale and outcomes of that activism, as well as, an examination of  the places, personalities and offshoots of those stories locally and within the context of the wider national struggle for equality.

Homes for Good was led by the Derbyshire Law Centre to collect oral histories and written accounts of residents’ experiences of social housing in North East Derbyshire. The project website features an elegant timeline of legislation relating to housing as well as oral histories and other material. The project received National Lottery Heritage Funding.


Unexamined Lives was led by Ockbrook and Borrowash Historical and Archaeological Society to record the history of the 20th century as it was lived by residents in the Derbyshire village of Borrowash. Find out more from the project website.


Cresswell Crags ran two oral history related projects as part of their 'Limestone Journeys' project. 'Securing the Past' preserved and digitised oral history archives held by local history societies. Volunteers were trained in order to expand the digitisation to other groups in the area, generating a comprehensive digital archive. 'Mining Memories' captured memories from a time when mining was the dominant local industry. Training was offered for volunteers to record oral histories from members of the local community.

Reppin Endz used hip hop and digital media to engage young people with heritage. It worked with young people in the Osmaston Park, Chaddesden Park, Markeaton Park and Normanton Park areas of Derby, to carry out interviews, create music, photography and film.


The Hadhari Oral History Project in Derby captured and documented the outstanding lifetime achievements of Derby's African Caribbean residents during the post Second World War period. The programme used intergenerational activities to bring together young people and community elders who came to the UK during the 1940s, '50s and '60s to live and work in Derby. The group received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £49,800.


Tideswell Tales, led by Tideswell Living History Group, aimed to preserve and communicate the recent past of this Derbyshire village by collecting memories and old photographs of Tideswell and district residents, ex-residents and visitors. Funding of £32,900 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.


The Ashover Audio Trail is a one-and-a-half mile audio tour around Ashover Village in Derbyshire which tells the stories of eight people whose memories of the village date back to the early years of the 20th century. Discover where Liquorice Allsorts were first made and the site of Ashover's very own zoo. Developed by Audio Trails the guide can be downloaded onto MP3 players, iPods and mobile phones, and is linked to from the Ashover Parish Council website. Some interviews were conducted especially for the audio trails, while others date back to 1984. All are archived at the Derbyshire Local Studies library in Matlock.

iPods, Baboons and Crocodile Shoes was a community exhibition from Wirksworth Heritage Centreinvolving residents of Wirksworth who came together to explore memory and place using photography, oral histories and interactive maps. 

Derwent Valley Threads, a project led by Fleet Arts, was based at the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. It aimed to capture the memories of people who used to work at the textile mills between Masson Mill in Matlock Bath and the Silk Mill in Derby, or who lived nearby. Most of the Mills closed in the 1980s leaving ageing former workers an at risk resource. The project used artist-led inter-generational work to enable artists and young people from the area to work with older people in preserving stories on the web, rather than in a printed publication. Funding was awarded from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Derbyshire County Council, Derby City Council and the Derwent Valley Mills WHS Partnership.


Moor Memories, organised by the Moors for the Future Partnership, carried out oral history interviews with local people who involved with managing and looking after the Peak District moorlands, as well as people who had witnessed changes to these landscapes within living memory. The project was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, English Heritage, South Pennine Leader, East Peak Innovative Project, the Peak District National Park Authority, National Trust, United Utilities and the Sheffield Ramblers. 


Bakewell Old House Museum led an oral history project exploring the history of the local DP Battery company, a firm which was the largest employer in Bakewell, after the demise of the cotton mill, and which made batteries for submarines, post office telephone exchanges and electric vehicles. 

Glassball Arts worked with a group of 12 young people, aged between 13 and 17, who came together to creatively explore the gardens at Chatsworth. They worked with artists, archivists and photographers. With unprecedented access to the Chatsworth archive and staff and using photography, filmmaking, graphics and writing they took a contemporary, vivid, and fresh look at Chatsworth. The resulting work was exhibited at Chatsworth and made into a publication. A DVD including photographic slideshows, sounds captured from the garden and oral history interviews was also produced. In 2009 Glassball worked with another group of young people to investigate the working lives of employees at Chatsworth. Funding of £25,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.


The Etwall and Burnaston Local History Society aimed to raise awareness of the evolution of place and community for the benefit of residents and visitors by the research and publication of four heritage pamphlets: ‘Etwall Built Environment’, ‘Understanding the Rural Landscape’, ‘Geology and Building Materials’ and a fourth pamphlet for young people. An archive of the 20th century was created incorporating an oral history record gathered from the memories of elderly residents, a pictorial collection assembled from the community and a research record of the evolving social and economic circumstances of the time. The Group received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £12,391.

Quarndon: Then and Now - a Local History Book used the outputs of an exhibition of a local parish chest to create a local history book. Volunteers recorded memories collected and collated pictures, artefacts and memorabilia and undertook detailed archival research. National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £22,351.


Cressbrook Village Community Group brought together local people to gather historical and contemporary material, through photography and oral history, about the village of Cressbrook, its people and its natural history to create A Book for Cressbrook. Funding of £20,340 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Food Heritage Project celebrated the Peak District’s food heritage by capturing memories and stories of local food producers, retailers, workers, farmers and consumers. Working in partnership with writer David Fine and a team of volunteers coordinated by 'Read On Write Away!', the Farming Life Centre brought together collected memories into a book of reminiscences called 'Seasons to Taste'. 


The Past on Your Doorstep, The Future in Your HandsGroundwork Derby and Chaddesden Historical Group worked with local schools in the Osmaston Park and Chaddesden Park areas of Derby, over two years, to investigate the development of industry in Derby over the last 100 years. Listen to the recordings and view slideshows. Funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.


Bamford in Derbyshire's Hope Valley is typical of Derbyshire villages which saw great changes during the 20th century with local valleys flooded to make the Howden, Derwent and Ladybower reservoirs. Many families who had farmed the land for generations became dependent on water management for employment. The decline of manufacture in the UK saw Bamford Mill, once an important employer in the village, converted into luxury flats. Led by Bamford Community Arts & Crafts, Bamford Living Memory Project engaged older villagers to share their memories with younger generations in their own words and for younger generations to respond. Bamford Community Arts and Crafts worked with Bamford Primary School, Senior Citizens Committee, Over-60s Club and History Group. A selection of writings from the project were published and performed. The words and music of local carols were transcribed, published and recorded on a CD by local adults and children. A local photographic group recorded activities. Selected material was exhibited and performed at Bamford Festival. Free copies of the books and CD were made available to local people and copies were placed in national, regional and local archives. Funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund £24,996.

Belper Library (part of Derbyshire Library Service) and Belper Historical Society led an oral history project, creating 19 interviews of people's memories of Belper from the 1930s to the 1950s, with a particular focus on World War Two. Some recordings are available on CD, others are only in minidisc format.  

Train Ride To History recorded oral histories of the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway and surrounding area. The railway contributed to the local economy for over a century, used to transport stone as well as agricultural products. The project recorded the memories of people who worked on the Wirksworth Branch Line and surrounding quarries, including stories of people whose relatives worked there. A video was produced and interpretation boards installed at stations south of Wirksworth. A 1960s railway coach was refurbished by volunteers to house interpretation of oral history in DVD form alongside railway and quarry artefacts found in the area. The group received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £24,944.

The Kinder Sheepwash Project explored farming life and agriculture in the Kinder Valley before 1950. Led by the Hayfield Civic Trust, it recorded reminiscences of farmers in the Valley to provide a living record of life there. The project also restored an old sheepwash (one of the few traces on the landscape of a once thriving upland farming community) and researched and documented how it was used and its place in the farming calendar. A CD-ROM of oral reminiscences and other researched information on the social and economic life of upland farmers was produced. 


From Smoke to Grass documented the Manchester Overspills, when Manchester residents were rehoused on the Gamesley estate in the early 1960s. The community-led project collected memories and reminiscences for the production of a book and interpretive art. The project received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £24,970.


Trains and Trails was a collaboration between Derbyshire County Council and the Peak District National Park's Countryside Service which recorded people's memories of the Cromford and High Peak Railway and the Ashbourne to Buxton Railway and looked at how these railway lines were turned into public trails. The resulting book and CD are available from Middleton Top Visitors' Centre.

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