Focusing on Patterton Camp, this intergenerational oral history project has captured much of the history of the camp and its impact on local people between 1939 and 1959.

Around fifty local volunteers, including many young people, received filming, research or oral history training and interviewed over twenty respondents who lived in or near Patterton during WWII and the post-war era of rationing and austerity. Volunteers worked with Dr Sue Morrison, a professional oral historian, to produce audio clips from the oral history archive; others worked with a film maker to film interviews and create short videos. These digital products are available to view on the project website.

The project offered further opportunities for cross-generational learning through creative activities and exploration of experiences through reminiscence events, public talks and film screenings.  These evoked memories of living near Patterton Camp when Italian and German prisoners of war were there, or when they themselves occupied the camp’s huts after the war, when the shortage of housing stock led families to seek shelter wherever they could. Some of our wonderful respondents also shared with us their wartime recipes, and they gave WWII era dress and make-up tips to volunteers.  Young volunteers even learned how to dance, 1940s style!

Most importantly, this project has resulted in the creation of a unique oral history archive, which is a priceless learning resource for local people and researchers worldwide.

We are grateful to National Lottery Heritage Fund, National Lottery Players, Oral History Research & Training Consultancy, and Communities Past & Futures Society, for their generous support, and, in particular, we extend our deep gratitude to everyone who participated in this hugely successful project.

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