Oral Histories (2016-2019)

Oral Histories was part of the 'Peeling the Onion' project. It gathered spoken memories of a changing working landscape and how people lived their lives within it.

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 unmetalled, water came from village pumps and there was no electicity. This project aimed 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.

The interviews, transcripts and also video 'montages' can be accessed under Listen, Read and Watch on this page.

The Project's aims and benefits were:

  • To support and train 8 volunteers and local residents to record 12 oral history interviews.

  • To engage and train local school children in interviewing older members of the community.
  • To enable people to understand the recent history of the landscape and how working it has changed over time.

So far so good...

Key Outcomes:

  • A group of 12 oral historians were recruited and trained in oral history techniques: interviewing, using the recording equipment and uploading the interviews to the internet.

  • 14 Adult interviews have been completed and transcripted.

  • Two schools have been engaged in the project, with pupils interviewing members of the community. 9 Schools interviews have been completed and transcripted.

  • All interviews and transcripts are available on this website (see under 'Listen' and ‘Read’ below).

  • 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.

  • A book of the transcipts has been published: 'Rusland Voices' (September 2019)

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


The Challenge

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

Our Approach

With our volunteers the aim was to record the memories of people with a long association with the landscape. This connected with the 'Mapped Histories' project, in helping to 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 - 2024. All rights reserved.
Rusland Horizons was a Landscape Partnership funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund until July 2019. It is now being delivered by The Rusland Horizons Trust Limited. Company No. 2133450; Charity No. 519410; Registered Office: Bleacott Farm, Witherslack, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria LA11 6RZ.