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Elizabeth Roberts and the Legacy of the Working Class Oral History Archive

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>20/11/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Transactions of the Cumberland & Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society
Volume20
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)275-282
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

In 2014, the Regional Heritage Centre (RHC) of Lancaster University embarked on
an ambitious project to digitise the transcripts of three significant oral history projectsm carried out by Elizabeth Roberts, and latterly by her colleague Lucinda McCray Beier, in the 1970s and 1980s. Focusing on the recollections of family and social life in Barrow-in-Furness, Lancaster and Preston from 1890 to 1940 and 1940 to 1970, the collection of 584 interviews with over 260 respondents – totalling three million words – was renamed the Elizabeth Roberts Working Class Oral History Archive.
Incorporating the original indices and biographical details of each (anonymised)
respondent, it offers a rich resource for historians of working-class life in NorthWest England, and of social history more broadly. The index includes topics ranging from abortions to world war experiences (although the wars were seldom the focus of discussion) through fairs and ice cream. Popular digital searches include such themesas accidents, schools, weavers, family planning and pace egging. Contained in the interviews is vital information about long-lived customs that are now dying out from our communal memory.