East Midlands Oral History Archive

Oral history projects in Nottinghamshire

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


The Black Miners Museum Project builds on two earlier projects, Miners of African Caribbean Heritage: Narratives from Nottinghamshire (2015-2016) and Digging Deep: Coal Miners of African Caribbean Heritage National Narratives from across the UK (2017-2018). Run by Nottingham News Centre CIC this project also responds to a renewal in public interest into mining heritage. It will expand and increase public awareness of the contribution made to Britain's industrial past by miners of African Caribbean heritage from across the UK. The project aims to 'grow lasting partnerships with existing mining museums across the UK, by enriching and enhancing current visitor displays through the integration of recently unearthed narratives, memories and creative representations of former coal miners of black/African-Caribbean heritage within UK mining history.' Website: Black Miners Museum Project website. Awarded a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.


Bombs to Butterflies researched, recorded and interpreted a major military installation in Rushcliffe. The Ordnance Supply and Disposal Depot been part of the local environment for 50 years until its closure in 1990 and was subsequently transformation into a Country Park. Led by Ruddington Local History and Amenity Society / Friends of Rushcliffe Country Park, the project gathered reminiscences of people connected with the installation. The local community was fully involved in recording memories and collating historical data. A booklet, CD-ROM, audio visual display and temporary mobile exhibition were produced and events were held throughout the community. In 2019 the project was extended with a call out to the local community for more information about the site. The project was awarded a grant of £11,350 by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. 


The Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham received funding to undertake a history of The Theatre Royal. Working in partnership with the University of Nottingham, the project documented the venue's 150-year history, discovering lost stories and collecting memories about past productions to share with its audiences. A digital archive - ourtheatreroyal.org - was created. Funding was awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.


St Anns Allotments in Nottingham is the oldest and largest area of Victorian detached town gardens in the world and has been listed with a Grade 2* by English Heritage. The site covers 75 acres and sits in the heart of the one of the most deprived inner-city communities in the country. This project, led by The Renewal Trust, preserved the heritage of the site, including the creation of an oral history archive. Awarded funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. 


The Boots UK Oral History Programme, a project led by Boots Corporate Archives Department and the University of Nottingham, aimed to capture the memories of Boots employees both past and present by recording the perspectives of individuals who might not otherwise appear in the historical record. The aim of the programme was to understand the gaps in the archive collection by capturing and collating recordings based on a wide range of subject areas. The D10 Project was a collaboration between the Boots Corporate Archive Department and Dr Richard Hornsey, Lecturer in Modern British History at the University of Nottingham. It aimed to capture the memories of employees who worked in this architecturally significant Grade I listed factory. The factory opened in 1933 and remains responsible for the manufacture of many Boots products today. The D6 Project commenced in 2015 and aimed to capture memories of employees who worked in the D6 ‘Drys’ factory in preparation for the celebration of the 80th anniversary of its opening in 2016. 

Down Hockley to Sneinton Market was a project from Sneinton Community Traders Ltd which aimed to capture memories and stories about the market, both past and present and create a digital archive. 'Stories of Sneinton Market' was published in 2016, written by Colin Haynes and based on interviews with local people.


Worksop: Something About Us worked with young people from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender group W.O.W (now LGBT+ Service Nottinghamshire) in Worksop. Led by Eden Film Productions and Nottinghamshire's Rainbow Heritage, it aimed to research and record what it was like historically to be LBGT in the past compared to the present-day, with a focus on the local area. The project provided training in archival research, oral history and filmmaking skills, providing an opportunity for LGBT young people to have a voice and to share the history they have found with the wider community to aid a more beneficial understanding of the LGBT community locally. The young people produced a documentary film, Something About Us, and recorded their on-going reflections of the research process on GoPro cameras to produce a separate reflective film. The project was awarded a grant of £28,200 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. 


Attenborough Nature Reserve Oral History Project. This two-year project, led by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, captured people's memories of the change in landscape and natural history of what is now Attenborough Nature Reserve over time - from dairy farmland to industrial gravel pits to now renowned flagship SSSI nature reserve (all within a 80 year period). It recorded people's associations with these changes, their memories, thoughts and feelings about the past and the present. Attenborough Nature Reserve was established in 1966 and opened by Sir David Attenborough. It owes its current appearance to gravel and sand extraction and careful restoration work. Extraction began in 1929, and still takes place today just upstream of the nature reserve. The site is now designated as a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) and is one of the most important sites for conservation in the East Midlands. In order to obtain an accurate account of the history of the reserves from a range of perspectives the Trust interviewed former and current staff, volunteers, members and visitors. A social media campaign and online survey were set-up to encourage the public to participate in the project and send in their personal memories of the reserve. Graduate interns from Nottingham Trent University spent three months interviewing, researching and collating the information. The ACE (Access, Community and Education) Oral History Project at Attenborough is currently running alongside the Reserves Histories Project with relevant overlapping information shared between the two projects. Awarded a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. 

Signpost to Polish Success was a Nottingham-based project explored Polish Heritage in the East Midlands. You can listen to interviews and look at photos on the project website.

Backlit Gallery, housed in buildings which were originally part of Samuel Morley’s textile manufacturing business in Nottingham, led The Samuel Morley Programme. This project used oral history recordings from the Nottinghamshire Oral History Collection as part of an exhibition; it celebrated Samuel Morley’s philanthropy and support for the arts and education in both Nottingham and in London and his belief in fair wages and free education for the working classes. It was Samuel’s interest in the technology of the time that led to the building being known as the ‘House of the Flying Wheel’ and this was the name given to the exhibition that was held from June to September 2014.


The Children of the Croft was a project which explored the stories of women who were lone parents in the 1960s and 1970s and who lived at The Croft in Alexandra Park, Nottingham. The Croft was a non-institutional shared house, consisting of eight flatlets which offered a safe haven to young mothers and their babies. It was run by the pioneering housing charity, Family First, and was described at the time by the Home Office as a 'revolutionary idea'. The project, led by Now Heritage, recorded oral histories of up to 30 former residents of The Croft, and sought to discover how the support they received helped them to shape positive futures for themselves and their babies. Funding of £20,00 was awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Many Rivers to Cross recorded memories of early settlers in Nottingham from the Caribbean. Led by Syncopate Media and MUNDI Global Education Centre the project resulted in a film and the edited movie can be seen on YouTube and Vimeo. Awarded National Lottery Heritage Funding.


The Hyson Green History Project, On the Flats, was led by by Radford-based charity the Partnership Council. The project focused on the life and times of Hyson Green flats in Nottingham, which were built in 1965 and demolished in 1988, as a way of exploring what life was like in Hyson Green during those decades. A grant of £43,300 was awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.


The Selstonia Living Heritage Project aimed to bring people of all ages and experience, living within the Parish, together and to increase the skills-base and aspirations of residents through the medium of recorded memories. A community archive was created by collecting the memories of people in Selston Parish. A grant of £276,000 was awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Project. 

The Tuxford School project gathered eye-witness accounts of life at the school from its foundation in 1958 to its move to new premises in 2007. Developed by Tuxford School PTA (now Tuxford Academy), it also recorded the heritage of the original school building. School archives were developed by tracing photographs and documents in the local museum, library and also those private ownership, resulting in the publication of a book and DVD. The project received funding of £24,750 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.   

Tollerton is one of the oldest licensed airfields in the country and a significant local landmark. The History of Tollerton Airfield from Inception to the Present grew from attempts to identify people in old photographs of airfield personnel. Led by Keyworth & District Local History Society, research resulted in a book, DVD, website and archive of oral history recordings. Copies and transcripts of the interviews were deposited with Nottingham Local History Library and EMOHA. Awarded a grant of £21,125 by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Warsop Main Colliery, Warsop Vale Village and its Inhabitants from 1900 to the Present Day. This project, led by Warsop Vale Local History Society, came about because of plans to demolish 100 unoccupied properties within Warsop Vale and replace these with new houses. Coal mining was once the heartbeat of the local community and the project aimed to raise awareness of the impact mining had on the area. The project interviewed members of the community, recording their memories and photographing the area. It produced a publication and an oral history archive. A welcome pack was produced for newcomers to the village with information on its history. Awarded £18,500 by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Ollerton of Yesteryear preserved the history of New Ollerton, which developed solely as a result of the sinking of the colliery. It collected over 200 photographs, donated by residents of New Ollerton, some dating back to the 1920s. These were preserved for posterity through cataloguing and storage and displayed in a variety of formats accessible to the public. Using these photographs as a prompt, interviews were carried out with various people, preserving their memories and anecdotal evidence of the past. Awarded a grant of £24,952 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Jesse Boot Primary School, the largest inner city primary school in Nottingham, celebrated its 70th anniversary with the project Passing on the Past: Celebrating 70 Years of Jesse Boot Primary School, 1935-2005. Initial research uncovered very little recorded history on Jesse Boot so letters, posters, leaflets and a small press article were used to measure interest in a history project about the school. The response from old pupils and local people willing to help was overwhelming. An exhibition of old photographs provided triggers for memories which were recorded and the material was used for a community play, devised with a professional scriptwriter, director and artists working alongside volunteers. A commemorative booklet was also printed. A room within the school was set-up in 1930s style and made accessible to the local community and other local schools. A grant of £21,790 was awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Dukes Wood Oil Drilling Site is claimed to be Sir Winston Churchill’s ‘Best Kept Secret of the War’. The site had 215 oil wells producing four million barrels of oil, which was crucial to World War Two. Duke's Wood Oil Museum is the only oilfield museum in the UK and features crude oil samples, cores, historical photographs, drilling implements and military montages. It is managed by a dedicated group of ex-oilfield workers who run the museum for school groups and other visitors. The site is also an SSSI and is managed by the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. A project, led by the Friends of the Plantation Group, to capture reminiscences from ex-oilfield workers produced a leaflet about the site. The information gathered was also presented in the form of video, a CD-ROM and a website. Guided walks, outside lectures and exhibitions were held throughout the project to help visitors enjoy and appreciate the site. There were events to promote the natural heritage of the site such as moth watches, nature walks and pond dipping. The project was awarded a grant of £15,290 by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. 

Gamston Primary School moved to new premises in 2005. The 5th Duke of Newcastle paid for the original school to be built in 1876 and Nottingham Archives house two of the Gamston School Logbooks from 1876 onwards. The Gamston's Early Schooling project, led by Gamston Primary School Parents and Friends Association, developed as a way to thank villagers and the surrounding community for their kindness and support to the school over its long history. It carried out research into its history and memory recording. A grant of £14,795 was awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The village of Lambley is recorded in the Domesday Book. Working alongside professional archaeologists, volunteers were involved in field-walking and geophysical survey of the Pingle Field, thought to be the location of the ancient Lambley Manor. The Lambley Heritage Project, led by Lambley History Group, involved a programme of activities, research and local events engaging the community in local heritage of the Lambley area. The aim was to set up an accessible digital archive of documents, photographs, oral histories and film. A grant of £17,677 was awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Nottingham - Hip Hop Heritage was a project led by Take 1 Studios documenting the history of hip hop in the Nottingham area. It interviewed people who played an active role in the hip hop scene, documenting their thoughts and compiling a DVD to be used as an educational tool for schools and young people. The project ran workshops at local community centres and schools, promoting hip hop and its history. A grant of £49,900 was awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. 


Hucknall Heritage Archive Project led by Hucknall Library Local History Group, recorded the heritage of this former mining and textile town by carrying out a variety of projects, linked to a month long Local History Fair. It aimed to engage the community by offering a variety of events, including a project led by a professional playwright; material was gathered through research and interviews with individuals and community groups. The material was used to create a performance that combined stories with images of places and people, both past and present. An adult storytelling event based was held and a series of family history sessions were also held. The oral history strand of the project was entitled 'Locally Speaking' and interviewed local people who were living in Hucknall in the 1930s and '40s. Reminiscences were transcribed and held on tape and added to the archive. Local young people were involved through a photographic competition focusing on the heritage of the town. A grant of £8,371 was awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund as well as sponsorship by Kodak, Rolls-Royce and Councillor Chris Baron of Nottinghamshire County Council.  

Acres in Time, led by Rushcliffe Barn Owl Project, aimed to create a living history of the lives of people who worked on the land. Old photographs and film and contemporary oral reminiscences were gathered. Present day landscapes and wildlife were filmed through the changing seasons. The use of agricultural buildings was also investigated. Final outcomes included a video, a project survey data, a project booklet and an updated website. Awarded a grant of £21,218 by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The villages of Caunton, Maplebeck, Eakring, Norwell and Carlton on Trent all lie along the course of The Beck – a stream in north Nottinghamshire. The Festival of The Beck aimed to link these villages through a series of community events, including guided walks and historical talks along the Beck and additional activities organised by each village. A performance was created by each of the villages reflecting the heritage and character of its community. A book was produced collating and recording historical facts, local stories and anecdotes from all five of The Beck Villages and included maps and local walks. A grant of £10,593 was awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Colston Bassett Captures the Past, initiated by residents of Colston Bassett, researched the village's history, developed an oral history record, collated and captured documents and photographs into a digital format, created a website and published a booklet. The oral history collection contains transcripts and covers subjects such as; growing up in Colston Bassett; Colston Bassett Hall and the influence of the Estate; the village school; St. Mary's Church and St. John's Church; farming and agriculture; village buildings; transport; working lives; the War years; sports and events; and entertainment. A grant of £20,130 was awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. 


The Changing Face of Education in Flintham, led by The Flintham Society, celebrated the existence of Robert Thoroton School by gathering oral memories, staging an exhibition and producing a booklet. The natural heritage connected with a dewpond at the side of a small 18th Century building was also be investigated and interpreted. A grant of £24,536 was awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.


The Nottinghamshire Living History Archive Millennium Awards Scheme enabled nearly 90 local people to design and execute their own heritage projects on any topic within the county. The Scheme, run by Nottinghamshire County Council, was managed by a small group selected from a consortium of local authorities, organisations and individuals. It employed two people, based at Mansfield Library, to provide the mentoring and administration. Awardees were given expenses, training and mentoring. Working either as individuals or in groups, they produced a range of outcomes from books and edited videos to websites and exhibitions, all based on sound and/or video recordings. All the original recordings on minidisk and video are stored at Nottinghamshire Archives, but copies are available for loan from Local Studies or the nearest appropriate County Library. Examples of themes covered by the projects include the Ukrainian community in Nottingham, childhood games, Clipstone and Manton collieries, evacuees in Nottinghamshire, and the Mansfield business community. The scheme operated between 1999 and 2002 and was awarded a grant of £337,000 by the Millennium Commission.


The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Project for Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. This project began in 2000 as part of Nottingham Living History Archives through which it produced a set of recorded oral histories, a book, photographs and other resources. It is now part of Nottinghamshire's Rainbow Heritage.

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