British oral histories document rural life in late 19th/early 20th cen

The British Library has posted a collection of 250 sound recordings made by oral historian George Ewart Evans, "between 1956 and 1977, many in Suffolk, with a smaller number in Wales, Ireland and Scotland. The recordings document rural life and agricultural work in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, folk beliefs about animals, medicine and witchcraft, folk and popular songs."

I'm pretty taken by interview with unidentified borstal inmate used in preparing the book 'Horse power and magic' (London, 1979).

George Ewart Evans collection (via Warren Ellis)



    Something to add to the box tricks. St Fagans open air museum in Cardiff keeps thousands of hours of Oral History in both Welsh and English. The web site is too text heavy but the media is well worth seeking out. This link is to the Saer folk song collection. He use to take a caravan and generator out to rural communities, together with Minwel Tibbott, recording recipes, ceremonies, work songs, and storytelling. My grandmother died when I was 2: through this archive, I was able to find and listen to her voice. She was telling stories about witches, rag and bone men and of course, my rambunctious grandpa. I am so grateful for the collection for this.

  2. There’s a remarkable collection of British dialects available at the British Library, of 821 dialect and accent recordings that were recorded during WWI from British POWs in German camps. The only copy of these shellac recordings survived in an Archive another war, and 60 years of being forgotten in storage.
    The motives by German authorities to collect these are somewhat dark, but as an historical document invaluable nontheless.

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