We have oral history collections about the working lives of archivists, librarians, museum curators and information professionals.
About the collection
Many of our oral history collections give an insight into the working life of archivists, librarians, museum curators and information professionals. We also have a number of collections focusing on British heritage organisations and institutions.
What is available online?
- An Oral History of Oral History is an ongoing British Library-funded programme of interviews which started in 2003 with the aim of recording the pioneers and leaders of oral history in the UK dating from the 1950s onwards. The collection so far includes over 30 interviews, of which fourteen are available online.
What is available in our Reading Rooms?
Museums, libraries and archives
- Interviews with librarians comprises interviews made in 1974-76 and also featured as part of Drake Educational publication 'Librarians Speaking'.
- Museums Oral History interviews is a series of interviews with museum professionals begun in 2002.
- The Public Record Office Oral History Project records the memories of current and former staff at all levels.
- The Society of Archivists oral history project comprises 72 interviews with archivists and conservators to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Society of Archivists.
- The Health Libraries Group Oral History Project includes interviews with librarians and information workers in the NHS, voluntary organisations, public libraries, universities, colleges and industry.
- The British Library Slavonic and East European Oral History Interviews is a collection of interviews which capture the experiences and memories of former members of the British Library Slavonic and East European department staff. The recordings cover the period 1955 to 2004.
- NLSC: General Interviews includes an interview with librarian, Gwyneth Gosling.
- The British Library Staff Oral History Project is a growing collection of interviews with former staff of the British Library, begun in 1985.
- The National Trust Sound Archive is an ongoing collection of interviews recording the experiences of those that worked in properties now owned by the National Trust between the 1920s and the present day, recalling daily life, the families that lived in the properties, and descriptions of the houses and gardens.
- The British Council Oral History collection covers the careers of prominent employees of the British Council.
- Oral History of Oral History in the UK is a growing series of interviews with oral historians and others involved in the production and preservation of oral histories, including the Oral History Society and the development of UK oral history.
- The Society of Antiquaries collection is recordings of Sir Mortimer Wheeler addressing the first South Asian Archaeology Conference in 1971, and Dame Joan Evans, interviewed by Professor Norman Hammond in 1975.
- The Charleston Trust collection comprises recordings of Duncan Grant in conversation with Quentin Bell about his connection with Charleston. Angelica Garnett (née Bell) and Grace Higgens, former housekeeper at Charleston, also speak.
- An Oral History of the Courtaulds at Eltham Palace is a a National Life Stories project funded by English Heritage comprising interviews with people connected with Stephen and Virginia Courtauld, mainly during the period of the Courtaulds’ residence at Eltham Palace 1936-1940s.
- The Leaders of National Life collection includes an interview with Jennifer Jenkins, Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and the Royal Institute of British Architects, former Chair of both the National Trust and President and the Ancient Monuments Society.