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ByHeritage Unlocked

May 10, 2020

ORAL history recordings featuring memories of life on Teesside over a century ago can be heard for the first time in decades as part of a collaboration between Heritage Unlocked and Teesside Archives for Stockton & Middlesbrough Local History Month.

Throughout May, the ‘Rediscovered Voices of Teesside: Memories from the Archives’ link-up will showcase a selection of oral history recordings featuring unique, first-hand accounts of life in the area dating back to the late nineteenth century.  Hosted on Heritage Unlocked’s website and across both organisations’ social media channels, featured recordings focus on a range of key themes including industrial heritage,  sporting memories, social conditions. and life during the World Wars.

The first featured oral history extract is focused on the Second World War and features the memories of Sidney Clay, born in Thornaby in 1927. The son of a railwayman who was President of the Newport Workingmen’s Club, Clay attended Archibald School and spent most of his working life on the railways at Newport Shunting Yards and Middlesbrough Dock. One of the youngest ever Branch Secretaries of the National Union of Railwaymen and a prominent member of the Communist Party, in the newly digitsed recording Clay recalls life in communal air raid shelters, the bombing of Middlesbrough Railway Station, an anti-aircraft site near the Newport Bridge, and experiencing wartime blackouts.

Heritage Unlocked’s Dr Tosh Warwick said: “Teesside Archives’ oral history collection provides unique, first-hand perspectives on numerous aspects of local and national history. These invaluable recordings have already helped provide new perspectives on the area’s past on a number of projects in which Heritage Unlocked is involved, including the multi-million pound TeesAMP Newport Ironworks regeneration.”

Ruth Hobbins, Teesside Archives Manager, added: “We welcome opportunities to collaborate with external partners through initiatives such as ‘Rediscovered Voices of Teesside’. We hope that the Local History Month link-up will help promote and enhance access to the unique historical material held in Teesside Archives collections.”

The first ‘Rediscovered Voices of Teesside: Memories from the Archives’ feature, along with more information on Stockton & Middlesbrough Local History Month, can be found at www.heritageunlocked.com/features/rediscoveredvoices. New recordings will be added each Thursday (5pm) during Local History Month and be available on Heritage Unlocked’s Facebook and YouTube channels.

Press release available online at: https://www.heritageunlocked.com/news/rediscoveredvoices.