National Life Stories: An Oral History of Farming, Land Management and Conservation in Postwar Britain

Black and white photograph of farm workers in a potato field
Lifting potatoes in Railway Field, Dalreoch Farm, Perthshire, 1952. Credit: John Marshall.

Life story interviews with farmers, farm workers, land owners and managers, scientists, advisers and policy makers.

Published date:

Supported by the Arcadia Fund, this National Life Stories project documents changes in agriculture and the management of the countryside in Britain since 1945. Fifty extended oral history interviews capture applications of scientific knowledge and changing moral debates over the use of land. The recordings reveal the often hidden lives of farm workers and gamekeepers, impacts of national and EU policy, and the experience of gender, racial and sexual difference in agriculture.

Articles and blogs drawing on the recordings include:

Further information about An Oral History of Farming, Land Management and Conservation in Postwar Britain can be found within the National Life Stories Annual Reviews, in particular the 2018/2019 NLS Annual Review2019/2020 NLS Annual Review, and the 2020/2021 NLS Annual Review.

Access and related recordings

Selected clips from the recordings can be listened to on the British Library’s SoundCloud.

To explore the collection in detail, please search the Sound and Moving Image catalogue. The catalogue reference used for all the recordings in the project is C1828. In 2022 the full recordings will be accessible online on the British Library Sounds website.

Interviews recorded for An Oral History of Farming, Land Management and Conservation in Postwar Britain complement recordings made for other National Life Stories projects, especially:

Other related British Library oral history material includes the George Ewart Evans collection.

Partners and sponsors

National Life Stories gratefully acknowledges the support of Arcadia – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.

Advisory Committee for An Oral History of Farming, Land Management and Conservation in Postwar Britain

  • Professor Jon Agar (chair)
  • Professor Maggie Gill
  • Lord Haskins
  • Professor John Martin
  • Andrew Thorman
  • Professor Michael Winter

Senior Academic Advisor

Dr Sally Horrocks

Oral Historian and Project Researcher

Dr Paul Merchant

Contact us

If you have any queries about the project please contact us at: 

National Life Stories
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London NW1 2DB
United Kingdom

Email: oralhistory@bl.uk

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7412 7404

Subjects

Oral history

Interviews on a wide range of subjects relating to British life and experience

Sound

Sound and video recordings from all over the world

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A unique and invaluable record of people’s lives in Britain today

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An Oral History of British Science is a national collection of in-depth, life story audio interviews with scientists and engineers.

National Life Stories Goodison Fellowship

This award of £5,000 allows the Goodison Fellow a period of sustained engagement with the oral history collections in order to share the results in public domain.

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Collection guides

Oral history

One of the largest collections of oral history and life story interviews in the world

Oral histories of science and technology

Oral history collections concentrating on medicine, science and technology.

Oral histories of industry and employment

Reminiscences of heavy industries, rural work and working conditions

Oral histories of politics and government

Recordings that document British politics and government

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