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Sound Recordings at the Tameside Local Studies & Archives Unit


Sound Recordings

Image of an oral history researcher at Taneside Local Studies and Archives CentreThe Local Studies Library has three main sound collections - commercially produced sound recordings of local bands and performers; oral history interviews with elderly Tameside residents and the Manchester Studies oral history tapes.

Commercial Sound Recordings Collection

This consists of cassette, vinyl and CD recordings of local bands such as Adamson Military Band and Stalybridge Band, school and church choirs and bands and local performers such as The Fivepenny Piece, Tom Shepley Band and Bryan & Michael. These recordings can only be listened to in the Library.

We are always keen to add to this collection and would welcome notification about recordings not in our stock.

Tameside Oral History Interviews

We have over 360 tape recordings, mainly in the life story format, with elderly Tameside residents. Recording started in 1976, which means that the memories of a generation which has since died out have been captured. Most interviewees talk about the period between the wars, although a few go back to the First World War and before.

Many of the people we interviewed had worked in the cotton industry but other occupations include a canal boatman, a slaughter man, proprietor of The Reporter, farmers, shop workers, an undertaker, workers at Park Bridge, a miner, a music-hall performer, boxer, trade-unionists, swimming teacher, hat workers, clerical workers, etc.

Well-known local personalities recorded include Frances Lockett the Cotton Queen, the grand-daughter of Henry Dowson - minister at Hyde Chapel, the daughter-in-law of Robert Cummings - Vicar of Hurst - and Harry Rutherford.

Interviewees talk about working life, family life, schooldays and leisure activities including such local customs as the "monkey run". We have a few tapes with veterans of the Manchester Regiment in the First and Second World Wars.

We hold the tapes and transcripts which were recorded as part of the Threads project in Mossley in 2003. People from All Saints Church and school recorded life in the town.

We also hold the Tameside Oral History Project tapes. This was an HLF funded project to record the memories of people who came to Tameside from the Indian sub-continent in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. The result is over 150 tape recorded interviews in various languages, but all transcribed in English. The tapes are in the archive collection TOHP and can be consulted at the Local Studies and Archives Centre.

Photographs were also collected and can be seen on the Tameside Image Archive (the keyword "minority" will bring up the whole collection, but they can also be searched using specific words and names). An exhibition and a book, Here to Stay, were also produced. They give a small flavour of the collection with extracts from a selection of the tapes and photographs.

A short programme about the project can be seen on the Tameside TV Oral History Video Page.

We also hold copies of tapes recorded by local researchers and groups, such as the interviews recorded by the Living Memories of Hyde project, tapes used by Derek Southall for the book Voices of Ashton-under-Lyne (Tempus, 2000 ISBN 0752421603) and tapes used by Jill Cronin for the book Droylsden and Audenshaw Voices (Tempus, 2001 ISBN 0752421999) These have helped fill a gap in our collection as they include tapes about experiences in the Second World War.

Tapes are indexed and most of them are fully transcribed. They can be consulted in the Library where tapes can be listened to. An edited tape of extracts from several interviews illustrating ordinary life in this area is available for loan.

Material from the oral history tapes had been used in the Looking Back At Ashton, Looking back at Stalybridge books and in several of our touring exhibitions which are available for loan.

Manchester Studies tapes

Over 1000 oral history interviews with people all over the North-West were recorded by the former Manchester Studies Unit between 1974 and the early 1980s. They cover topics such as childhood, marriage, school, work, leisure, politics, trade union activity, the cotton industry, poverty, housing, Italian immigrants, domestic service, the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War, along with tapes concentrating on areas such as Wythenshawe and Miles Platting.

There are summaries for all the tapes and transcripts for about half. The index is limited to the main subject of each interview, there is no detailed subject index. The summaries can be consulted on the online catalogue To see the whole collection put 'Manchester Studies' in the any text box and click the oral history option in the format box.

Currently we are unable to access the recordings of the Manchester Studies project; however the transcripts are still available. Please check the catalogue.

Other Oral History Collections in the Region

Denton Local History Society have a collection of tape recordings with Denton residents which is available for loan . They have produced a book using tape material called Denton Voices. Contact Mr. & Mrs. Cronin, Denton Local History Society, 4 Romford Avenue, Denton, Manchester, M34 3EJ, telephone: 0161-336-3989.

The Living Memories of Hyde Project has recorded tapes with residents of Hyde, which can be consulted at the Local Studies Library. They have produced several books using tapes and memories, which include Living Memories of Hyde, Hyde Showtime Memories and Hyde Schoolday Memories. A touring exhibition using photographs and oral history extracts is available from the Local Studies Library.

The Living Memories of Hyde books and the Tempus books on Droylsden and Audenshaw, Dukinfield and Stalybridge, Denton and Ashton are available for sale from Tameside Local Studies and Archives - please contact us for details (0161 342 4242)

North West Sound Archive

The NWSA provides resource material and information for reminiscence therapy, local history research, academic research, drama, dialect and accents, broadcasting, schools, the visually impaired and family history research. They can advise on oral history projects and training.Telephone Number01280 427 897 

A collection of 100 tapes from the North West Wound Archive collection is available  for loan from the Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre.

Starting an Oral History Project

The Local Studies Library holds a range of books on oral history recording and can offer advice to anyone thinking of starting an oral history project. The library can also provide a permanent home for tapes (or copies of tapes) which can be preserved and made available to local historians.

General Information

Advance booking is necessary for microfilm readers. Please note that archives will not be produced within thirty minutes of closing time and that all archives must be returned fifteen minutes before closing time.

Important: Please include your name and postal address when you send us a message as this will help us provide a full response to your enquiry.

Contact Information
Contact by Post

Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre
Cotton Street East
Contact by Telephone
0161 342 4242