What is oral history?
Oral history is spoken history, recorded for posterity.
Our memories are fragile – they die with us – so it’s important to preserve these precious historical records while we can. We listen to people talk about their lives, work, neighbourhood or on a specific theme and record them so that their testimony is preserved.
Oral history gives a new perspective on the past – different to established sources, different to dry historical tracts – the history of the people of Britain, how they see their lives, and the times they have lived through.
The Workshop was formed in 1983 to record the memories of people in Waltham Forest, north east London. It is probably the longest-established oral history group in London, and since beginning its work has made more than 1000 recordings. WFOHW has created eleven publications on aspects of life in this part of London, looking at a changing social landscape as well as some personal stories.
What do we do?
- We interview local people and record their memories of the topics we are currently researching, and preserve those recordings for the future
- Summaries of recordings, recorded interviews and transcripts (if produced) are available by arrangement for researchers, students and interested people – contact us. First check our Index for what is available or use the Search button on this page.
- We write publications on many of our projects