York Oral History Society was founded in 1982 to collect and preserve memories of York people. We have a collection of 600 recorded interviews, most of which have written transcripts, plus over 2000 photographs. We have produced several books and CDs. We also have exhibition boards including such subjects as York Centenarians, transport, work, childhood and business in York before the Second World War, popular music in York 1920-1970s and the history of Terry’s. The collection, until recently housed in York City Archives, is now split between York Explore and York Archaeological Trust. Our  aim is to find a permanent home where full public access is available.

The Society has recently been donated (by the Castle Museum) a set of six interviews with members of the Chinese community.  These are from the 2007 project in which the museums of Yorkshire celebrated Chinese life and culture in the region.

There are several small collections of oral history recordings including Bishopthorpe, Haxby, Skelton, Copmanthorpe and Tang Hall history groups, housed with each group. These need to be catalogued and digitised.

For information about oral history, the contact is Van Wilson, also North Yorkshire representative of the national Oral History Society network, on vann@vanalexinamay.freeserve.co.uk. See www.oralhistory.org.uk.
For information about the Society, the Chairman is Philip Johnson on York 644381. York Oral History Society also has a page on Facebook.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation Works with Civic Trust

York Civic Trust over the years has become increasingly aware that there is a tremendous amount of knowledge about the social history of York held in the mind of the key senior members of the community
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation are funding a project to capture the significant memories of some of the key people in the city of York from the 20th century, going back in some cases to the 1930’s and earlier.  Interviews are taking place with the following people in York and podcasts will be available to listen to shortly. Note: these will be in MP3 format so need to be heard via a WIndows-based format.

Peter Addyman on Archaeology
Sir Donald Barron
Darrell Buttery, writer and collector
Sir Ron Cooke
Ken Dixon, senior manager at Rowntrees
David Foster  Registrar at the University of York
June Hargreaves city planner
Susan Hartshorne on Quaker experiences in York
John Langton
Hugh Murray
Nigel Naish
Alison Sinclair talks about historical architecture
Dick Stanley talks about working in York and the Merchant Taylors’ Guild
Michael Sturge
Irvine Watson