About us

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 1000 and publications to eleven.

Get involved

All our work is voluntary, relying on the skills, time and expertise of our members.

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, or manage and correct some of our new automatic transcriptions.

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.


Our meetings take place on the second Tuesday of each month starting at 7.30pm. These business meetings review current projects, new developments and ideas for further work.

Meeting dates for 2024 are:
January 9
February 13
March 12
April 9
May 14
June 11
July 9
August 13
September 10
October 8
November 12
December 10

starting at 7.30pm. These will usually be hybrid meetings – at a local venue 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 can.