The Swaledale Voices Project was formed in January 2008 with the backing of the Friends of Swaledale Museum and guidance from the Richmondshire District Museums Officer. The group consisted at the start of five volunteer interviewers. A grant was received from the Heritage Lottery Funds (Awards for All) which was used to purchase recording equipment, software and training in Oral History interviewing and the audiopost by which the recordings have been made accessible to the public.
The aim of the Swaledale Voices Project is to record memories of people from Swaledale and Arkengarthdale whose families have lived in the area for centuries or who have long standing connections with the two dales. Memories have been grouped around a number of themes such as childhood and schooling, social and religious life, agriculture, other occupations such as building and plumbing, the musical life of the dale, war-time recollections and domestic life, including the all important obtaining of food and provisions. People have been interviewed from all parts of Swaledale and Arkengarthdale, with experiences of living in villages, hamlets and outlying farms.
Extracts from the recordings, grouped according to themes, can be heard on the audiopost in the Museum. A new stage of the project is now being planned which will incorporate further themes and more participants, as well as some more interviewers. If you are interested in taking part either as an interviewer or because you would like to record some memories or suggest areas of enquiry please do get in touch with the group through the Museum.
Veronica Sarries, February 2010