Oral Histories

Oral Histories is part of the Peeling the Onion project. It will gather oral memories of a changing working landscape and how people have lived their lives within that landscape. Interviews are available online.

The way we live and work in the lakeland landscape has changed radically; some of the older residents of the area have fascinating memories of life before mechanisation of farming, when many of the roads were unmetelled, water came from village pumps and there was no electicity. This project will gather oral memories of how the landscape has changed and been worked, how people have lived their lives within it, and make them available online. It aims to improve the understanding of past lives and landscapes of the Rusland Valley and Fells to inform future planning and enable people to learn about and become involved in conserving our heritage before it disappears.

Aims and benefits: To support and train 8 volunteers and local residents to record 12 oral history interviews which will enable people to understand the landscape of the area and its features and how things have changed over time.

So far so good...

Update March 2019:...

  • A group of 12 oral historians were recruited and trained in oral history techniques.
  • 3 volunteer training days have been held.
  • Two schools have been engaged in the project.
  • Over 50 people attended the Oral Histories Celebration Event on 3rd October 2018, listening to audio recordings and taking part in live interviews. Scroll down to 'Watch' below to see some of these recordings with historic images.
  • 14 Adult interviews now completed along with 9 Schools interviews (see under 'Listen' below).
  • Transcripts for all 14 Adult interviews have been written (see under 'Read' below)
  • 8 video 'montages' (voices and photographs) completed (see under 'Watch') below

Did you know?

There are a number of places in the area named after the Rowlinsons. They were an extensive landowning family in the area. Between the 17th and 19th centuries they built several notable houses including Rusland Hall and Silverholme.

Listen to the interviews, read the transcripts and watch the short video montages below


Project Lead

Oral History Project: Tim Fleming, Mapped History: Professor Angus Winchester

The Challenge

There was a strong desire for this project from the local community. The aim is to transform stories, history and old place names which are stored up in local memory and archives into an accessible and real resource which will help to create a strong sense of the project area. This will give a unique insight into how the landscape has been managed traditionally and once gathered, it is hoped that this information will help feed into future landscape management plans.

Our Approach

With our volunteers we will record and map as many minor names and field-names as can be recaptured from cartographic evidence (dating from 17th to 20th centuries) and by talking to local people.

We will also record the memories of people with a long association with the landscape. This will help flesh out the local place names by providing evidence as to how the landscape has been worked and lived in across the past century.

© Rusland Horizons 2017 - 2019. All rights reserved.
Rusland Horizons is a Landscape Partnership funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund