Archive highlights Lancaster’s working class

Elizabeth Roberts.
Elizabeth Roberts.

A project which plans to bring to life a unique archive about the working class people of Lancaster, Preston and Barrow needs your help.

Walking In Others Footsteps is the latest arts and heritage programme being developed by Mirador, the Lancaster-based company who recently presented the successful Behind The Wall project. Walking In Others Footsteps will focus on The Elizabeth Roberts Working Class Oral History Archive, a unique source for the history of working class life in Lancaster, Preston and Barrow from 1890 to 1970.

Dr Elizabeth Roberts, a former Lancaster University historian, collected the memories in the 1970s when oral history was a relatively new form of data collection and it has become one of the most important collections of oral history testimonies in the UK.

Remarkably extensive, the archive contains 545 tape recordings, questionnaires and transcripts of interviews where people born at the end of the 19th Century share their perspectives on birth, love, marriage, health, work, family and death.

The original recordings are stored at Lancashire Archives and have been published in books and articles. Now the archive is being digitised and to celebrate the widening of public access to its treasures, Mirador plan to produce a series of original artistic, community, participative and heritage events next spring.

Mirador Creative Producer, George Harris said: “One of our key ideas is to engage with as many people as possible to encourage the collection of memories and artefacts from communities living in Lancaster, Barrow and Preston today, linking to the themes in the archives and specific locations in all three places.”

If you are interested in finding out more or wish to be involved with Walking In Others Footsteps, please email george@miradorarts.co.uk.