Category Archives: Oral History

Walking to School 100 Years Ago

Assuming that people in the early 1900s walked from place to place for a purpose and that in doing so they used existing paths or created new ones, it is interesting to consider why people were walking into (and out of) Beachamwell at that time.  We can imagine many of the reasons: employment, shopping, education, worship, visiting family and friends, or attending village events. The Log Book of Beachamwell CE School shows that several children walked long distances to school from across the Warren and that inclement weather could have a disruptive effect on their education, for example:

13 January 1913:  A very rough morning.  Swaffham Rd being flooded prevented a number of the Warren children from attending.

Children walking long distances also had an impact on the timing of the school day:

1 November 1909:  We commence afternoon school for the winter months at 1.20 and leave at 3.30 to enable Warren children to get home before dusk.

Pupils at Beachamwell School c1910

Pupils at Beachamwell School c1910

To find out how many children walked significant distances to school we will need to search in the Norfolk Records Office and use census returns.  As part of our oral history research, we will ask people who attended the school in the 1950s if they can recall how far children walked to school in their day.

Words: Leah Spencer

Talk the Walk

Peter Stibbons of Poppyland Publishing leading the oral history workshop at Blickling

Peter Stibbons of Poppyland Publishing leading the oral history workshop at Blickling

After an excellent training session at Blickling Hall, Saturday 27 July, we are now ready to begin the oral history element of our village project.  We will be inviting a number of local residents, who have lived in Beachamwell most or all their lives, to a reunion in the village hall.  At this meeting, we will encourage people to talk in general terms about how footpath use in the village has changed during their lifetimes.  This will then be followed up with individual, recorded interviews.
Eileen Powell and Leah Spencer

Other training and workshops attended by the group so far:

  • 24 April 2013: Footpaths: historical sources & fieldwork led by UEA Landscape Group
  • 20 June 2013: Practical session on fieldwork recording with Sarah Spooner & Jon Gregory of UEA
  • 17 July 2013: Copyright & Publishing. UEA Ideas Bank workshop
  • 25 July 2013: Video training – BBC