From its modest beginnings in 1987, National Life Stories has grown significantly and helped to create one of the largest oral history collections in the world – the British Library holds some 70,000 recordings of which nearly 3,000 are long, in-depth biographical interviews created by National Life Stories. Each episode of this podcast will bring you a conversation with someone else associated with National Life Stories – from interviewers, to curators, to listening service and technical staff. We’ll be using this medium to surface great interview extracts and try to get to the bottom of what we think is special about the life story approach to oral history.
Science and Religion
Episode 6 of National Life Stories podcast features Paul Merchant talking to Charlie Morgan about his work on the project Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum.
Dr Liz Wright talks about a new collection of theatre design interviews available on British Library Sounds. What do the the recordings tell us about the theatre design profession, and about what was it like to make them?
Cathy Courtney, Project Director on the National Life Stories oral history projects Artists’ Lives and Architects’ Lives, chatted to David Govier for our fourth National Life Stories podcast. The conversation starts with why Cathy got into oral history, and moves on to discuss why oral historians ask about Christmas.
For our third National Life Stories podcast Charlie Morgan spoke to Steven Dryden, co-curator of the exhibition Gay UK: Love Law and Liberty. Gay UK marked 50 years since the 1967 Sexual Offences Act and 60 years since the Wolfenden Report. The exhibition was extremely popular and it just so happened that it contained a lot of oral histories!
Dr Tom Lean, Project Interviewer on An Oral History of the Electricity Supply Industry, chatted to David Govier for our second National Life Stories podcast. Tom takes us back to 1950s Lancashire when Granville Camsey (born 1936, shelfmark C1495/09) was about to become a power station apprentice.
Piper Alpha was an oil rig in the North Sea, north east of Aberdeen. It suffered a huge explosion on the 6th of July 1988 killing 167 people. National Life Stories worked with the University of Aberdeen on the oral history project Lives in the Oil Industry to document the oil industry. For this episode Mary Stewart, Oral History Curator, chatted to Dave Govier about the project.