This is a sponsored post on behalf of Bishopsgate Institute.
Listen To Fascinating East London Life Stories
"... you wouldn't let your kids play on debris now"
"... my dad crying, I couldn't believe it"
"... can you please not talk Cockney!"
There's nothing like talking to someone who lived history, to bring the past to life. Since 2007, Bishopsgate Voices has been capturing the stories and experiences of people from east London. This fascinating project, inspired by the work of historian Raphael Samuel whose pioneering oral history recordings from the 1970s are held in Bishopsgate Institute library, has now collected over 100 interviews and produced a CD to showcase the work.
From playing on bomb sites and spoonfuls of cod liver oil to apprenticeships making shoulder pads by the dozen, to working three jobs just to keep the kids out of 'the home', these snippets of lives lived in an almost unrecognisable east London are deeply personal. Whether talking about the ineffable glamour of a West End tea dance singer, checking the outside loo door was shut so trolleybus passengers can't see in, or witnessing the Bethnal Green tube disaster, these stories are full of character and emotion.
Here are people speaking about growing-up without electricity and getting married in their teens, living through the Second World War when "you never knew if you were going to see the next day" and dancing in the street when it all ended. People who watched the Boundary Estate be built over the slums, yet remain a desperate no-go area for years. Here are Bangladeshis who arrived in the 80s when there wasn't a single Bangladeshi stall or shop on Whitechapel and those who watched the BNP fight with protestors at the end of Brick Lane every Sunday. Here are also those who've witnessed the more recent emergence of the east end as a cool and desirable place to live, the excitement of being from an 'up and coming' area and the change in the community as a result.
The collection looks at different aspects of life, growing up, work, holidays, private lives, homes, war, community and politics. Whatever their experience, the voices are riveting and this CD showcases just a fraction of the stories gathered to date. You can listen to some clips online or for free in Bishopsgate Institute Library. Get your own copy of the CD for just £5 from Bishopsgate Institute reception, 230 Bishopsgate EC2M 4QH or online.
Fascinated by east London history? Check out these upcoming courses at Bishopsgate Institute.
Last Updated 05 June 2015