About us

Help us build up our archive

The Workshop’s achievements depend 100% on our members, as we have no paid staff – members do all our work, as volunteers. We are looking for new active members who can take our work forward by interviewing (with support and training), writing, organising and even raising funds.

You should be interested in people’s lives and want to preserve their testimony; you may not have experience already, but be ready to try; you will completely respect our interviewees’ confidentiality; you should be able to work relatively independently if necessary, within a supportive environment.

We have monthly new members’ sessions for 30 minutes on Saturday mornings, using Microsoft Teams, where you can find out more about what we do, and how we do it. The next sessions are March 19 and April 16.

You can email us to book your place, or call Nick on 020 7097 2272 (1200-1700 Mon-Fri) to find out more!

How we started

Waltham Forest Oral History Workshop began as an adult education class in 1983. After learning our basic technique from Ken Worpole, the noted East London writer and historian, we became an independent group later that year.

The 1980s were a period of expansion for oral history in London with encouragement from the Greater London Council, “The Making of Modern London” oral history series on television and a growing awareness of the value of the movement. WFOHW won several prizes in London Weekend Television’s annual oral history competition linked to the series.

Our work has grown tremendously since then, increasing the number of recordings to more than 800 and publications to eleven.

Nearly all our work is voluntary, but in addition to the unincorporated association WFOHW formed a Community Interest Company, limited by guarantee, in 2009 for occasionally obtaining grants. The CIC is in process of being voluntarily wound up.

Details of the CIC are:

Waltham Forest Oral History Workshop CIC
Company registered in England, number 06811906
Registered office: 19 Bushwood, London E11 3BN.
Directors: A Mackay, M Custance, R Wilkinson

Get involved

If you are interested in oral or local history you can get involved in several ways:

  • Best of all you can volunteer and join us (it’s free) and play a full part in the group at our meetings in Leytonstone or Walthamstow
  • You can interview people with a story to tell
  • You can be part of our practical sessions – working on audio files, indexing, summarising or transcribing
  • You can transcribe or annotate some of our recordings at home

Contact us to talk more about it.

Aims, objectives and activities

Waltham Forest Oral History Workshop (WFOHW) is a voluntary organisation, without paid staff or funding, founded in 1982 to record the histories of people living and working in the London Borough of Waltham Forest and the surrounding area.

The aims, objectives and activities of WFOHW are:

  • To make and archive recordings of life in Waltham Forest and surrounding areas in the public interest
  • To operate a permanent, public reference archive for use in research, publication, education, lectures, broadcasting and through the internet.


From November 2021 we will alternate between the second Monday of each month, and the second Tuesday. The evening business meetings review current projects, new developments and ideas for further work.

We will be reviewing our working sessions in the light of Covid experience and regulations.

Physical meetings are currently in Leytonstone.

Our next meetings will be:

Tuesday February 8
Monday March 14
Tuesday April 12
Monday May 9
Tuesday June 14
Monday July 11

starting at 7.30pm. These will be hybrid meetings – at Mike’s for those who can make it in person, and on Zoom for those who can’t. Any new members contact us for details.

You are encouraged to come in person if you are able, and feel comfortable with it.

These meetings are obviously dependent on Covid restrictions in operation at the time and are subject to change – check for details.