Museum of London


150 London Wall
Prout Road
United Kingdom

Collection owner: 



Collection name: London History Workshop; Subjects: Oral History: In 1992 the Museum of London acquired the sound and video archive of the London History Workshop. The London History Workshop was established in 1983 with the aim of ‘advancing the education of Londoners of all ages in their own history by making available through courses, sound recordings, pamphlets, learning packs and other publications some of the many aspects of their own history that are for the most part neglected by other centres of historical study’. It also aimed to set up ‘London’s first oral history archive devoted to the proper conservation of the many voices of today’s Londoners, speaking directly on nearly every aspect of their lives, from childhood to old age’. By 1990 its sound and video archive contained over 1000 audio cassettes and 80 videos. However, due to withdrawal of London History Workshop’s funding the sound and video archive was acquired by the Museum of London in 1992. The recordings cover a range of subjects, including communism and feminism, the 1926 General Strike, schooling, the LCC, the GLC Popular Planning Unit, and projects focusing on various localities and communities. The London History Workshop collection includes some important oral history projects that are integral to the historiography of oral history in Britain including Jerry White’s original recordings for his Rothschild Buildings and Campbell Bunk publications and Raphael Samuel’s recordings with Arthur Harding who was born in 1886 and ‘grew up to become a familiar figure in the East End underworld.’ Samuel’s Harding recordings are also held at The Bishopsgate Institute.; items: 1000 Compact Cassette Collection name: Daily Mail Street Recordings; Subjects: Documentary & News: 12 Gramophone records of London street noises recorded in 1928 by the Daily Mail.; items: 12 Vinyl Disc Collection name: Roy Mankilow; Subjects: Oral History: 90 interviews with London dockers; items: 150 Compact Cassette Collection name: George Cossey; Subjects: Documentary & News: Journalist interviewing people for the Dock Newspaper.; items: 200 Compact Cassette Collection name: Wall Family Phonograph Recordings; Subjects: Social History: This collection of 25 phonograph recordings contains some of the earliest, clearest and most vibrant home phonograph recordings known to survive. They were recorded between 1902 and 1917 by Cromwell Wall (1866-1937), a civil engineer who lived with his family in what was then the new north London suburb of New Southgate. Cromwell's father, William, had come to London from Somerset as a young man, working his way up from humble beginnings to co-found the firm of Biggs, Wall & Co. in 1884. By 1902, it was one of London's largest engineering companies.; items: 25 cylinder Collection name: Core Collection; Subjects: Oral History: The Museum of London actively collected oral history interviews between 1992 and 2013. The majority of these were audio recordings. The collection features in-depth life story interviews with people from a wide range of backgrounds, communities, localities and professions all of whom lived and/or worked in London. Much of the work was proactive and project driven, focusing in particular though not exclusively on exhibition projects, supported by a general ongoing programme of reactive interviewing. Project based-work has resulted in a concentration in some specific areas of research interest including but not limited to: people who arrived from Jamaica on the Empire Windrush in 1948; London taxi drivers; Chinese women; 1950s teenagers; the business of the disposal of the dead; the Blitz and the Second World War more generally; the fashion industry in London; Asian communities around Green Street in Newham and also in Southall; people from Turkish, Cypriot, Latin American, Jewish and Russian backgrounds; the campaign against the M11 Link Road; faith; refugee communities in London; people who lived or worked in the area cleared to make way for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Park; people who were or had been homeless; people from LGBT backgrounds; and Women’s Liberation.; items: 474 Compact Cassette, 134 DAT, 493 MiniDisc, 100 Digital Audio Files, Mini DV Collection name: Port & River; Subjects: Oral History: The Museum in Docklands began collecting oral history related to London’s port and river in 1985, only a few years after the last of London’s upstream docks closed. The bulk of the collecting was undertaken between 1985 and 1989, much of it by a team of eight interviewers employed as part of a Manpower Services Commission scheme. Some 200 interviews were collected, totalling approximately 500 hours of audio material. The collection features interviews with people who had worked in jobs related to the port and river – dockers, engineers, stevedores, lightermen, watermen, machine operators, river pilots, typists, porters, crane drivers, customs officers, policemen and a local pie and mash shop proprietor. People who worked in various associated manufacturing and trades are also represented including fur printers, fur dyers, fur nailers, skin merchants as well as employees of the fashion house Hardy Amies. The interviews focus in particular on the interviewees’ working lives, together with labour relations, family life and childhood, community and social life, and the two world wars. Some of the interviewees have memories stretching back almost to the beginning of the twentieth century, with the period from the 1910s to the 1980s well represented within the collection.; items: 800 Open Reel Tape



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Hilary Young

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