A grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund is making it possible to preserve a series of unique audio recordings, which document the lives of ordinary people in the former mining and quarrying area of N.W. Leicestershire. In the 1980s and 1990s Mantle Arts recorded interviews with local residents talking about their everyday lives in the early 20th Century. These tapes provide an irreplaceable record of the social history of the area, but they are in danger of deterioration or physical damage. Among the recordings are Molly, who was raised in a Lincoln orphanage and worked as laundry maid at Coleorton Hall; miners talking about their home and working lives; evacuees and their hosts remembering the war years; stories of life above and below stairs at Bardon Hill House; and a projectionist, usherette and cinema-goer discussing the history of Coalville’s cinemas. The digitised audio will be available online and Mantle Arts will also be running a number of projects to make the material more widely accessible, including a series of CDs and booklets, a podcast and a programme of schools workshops. The audio material will also provide inspiration for permanent and touring exhibits.
Matthew Pegg, Director of Mantle Arts says “We are very pleased that this project will take the organisation back to its roots in oral history, and allow the material to be experienced by future generations in new and exciting formats. We will also be starting a new round of recordings, covering the latter half of the twentieth century.”
Mantle Arts would like to thank National Lottery players for contributing the funding to enable this project to happen.