Oral Histories for Archives


We’re in the final stages of the project which is a little sad but exciting to see show much has been achieved. A big hats off to all participants, partners and volunteers, a wonderful job all round. This week has been focused on getting the correct copies of transcriptions, permissions, burning files to discs and depositing with both Redbridge and Tower Hamlets Local History & Archives (visit – this post has a photo of the space). We really hope that these interviews will be helpful for future generations of researchers but also the general public. We hope that with this project we’ve highlighted that storing them in archives is a great preservation approach but it’s also exciting to use them in different ways. We’ve really enjoyed creating the youtube style soundbites and sharing them via out social media channels which has had a great response. Also, we’ll be airing them via a radio show soon. More info coming…

Posted by OB


Display at Redbridge Library

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It’s now moved onto it’s third location!

This is a huge space with so much going on…don’t forget to visit the fantastic museum on the upper floors of the same building. Dates of where we have been and where we are going with the display are here:

4th & 5th October         The View Tube, The Greenway, Marshgate Ln, London E15 2PJ
6th – 19th October         Homerton Library, Homerton High St, London E9 6AS
20th Oct – 2nd Nov       Redbridge Library, Clements Road, Ilford, Essex, IG1 1EA
3rd – 16th November    Forest gate Library, 4-20 Woodgrange Rd, London E7 0QH TBC

Redbridge Central Library (formerly Ilford Central library), Clements Road, Ilford, Essex, IG1 1EA

And see our earlier post about the making of the display.

Posted by OB

The View Tube

2 4 5 photo 3 We are huge fans of The View Tube – a community cafe and event space in the heart of The Olympic Park. The amazing views are the highlight of course but the atmosphere is welcoming and excellent coffee and cake can be had. We were really chuffed that The View Tube Fun Palace celebrations invited us to take part. Our display and booklets were available for a broad audience and it was great that many who’d we’d interviewed for the project at the Capital Age Festival at Oxford House came down and saw their own games and quotes included in the work. The display has now moved onto it’s next location at Homerton Library and will be there for 2 weeks. Find out about other dates here: https://bestdaysofourlivesproject.wordpress.com/displaybooklet/

POsted by OB

Display at Homerton Library

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Display is currently at Homerton Library!
It’s such a lovely library. The new modern ones are of course with their fantastic merits but it is heart warming to go to a library like we used to remember… And they are currently promoting lots of reading material for Black History Month and Local History Month. Two themes that are very related to our project.

Pop down: Address is: Homerton High St, London E9 6AS

Posted by OB

Handmade Display

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It’s done, it’s made! As you can see from the photos – there’s been lots of craft involved – all part of the mechanics of play we believe. This is our end of project display that has been confirmed at the following locations in October:

4th & 5th October         The View Tube, The Greenway, Marshgate Ln, London E15 2PJ
6th – 19th October         Homerton Library, Homerton High St, London E9 6AS
20th Oct – 2nd Nov       Redbridge Library, Clements Road, Ilford, Essex, IG1 1EA
3rd – 16th November    Forest gate Library, 4-20 Woodgrange Rd, London E7 0QH TBC

If you would like to host it in your venue or as part of your event, just get in touch. It’s easy to transport and to set up:
olivia [at]raiseup.org.uk

Project Display’s first visit….

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Our end of project display is being created as we speak. It will be hand made with care and patience and that’s what this has all been about right? Estelle Morris who has been designing all of our material will be getting the paper, pens, thread, felt etc at the ready to make a hanging that will be displayed at different places throughout October.

First stop if the fantastic View Tube – as close as you can get to the olympic park without being right inside. Incredible views. Of course. On the weekend of 4/5 Oct – the Fun Palaces will be taking over the whole of country – a great idea and one of those initiatives everyone’s getting involved in – find out more here.

Our display/hanging will be there on the Sunday. We’ll take some photos but until then it’s under wraps. More venues throughout east London coming soon.

Posted by OB

Universal Experiences

Best days of our lives

I’ve been editing the interviews we did for this project and selecting soundbites to put up on our

special page on the website here.


Technically this proved a bit of a challenge for me, as I’d never done anything like this before. So I

had to download a package from the internet and start learning how to do it quickly! I chose the

Audacity package and got to know it very well indeed over the next few weeks. At first it seemed

very fiddly with all the soundwave forms and three different counters to keep an eye on, but

eventually I got the hang of it and was able to turn things around a lot more quickly than when I

started using it. Practice makes perfect, as they say. I have a new respect for the record producers

who produce and mix on those 64-track consoles, I had enough trouble working with just two!
What struck me listening to all these interviews was the range of people’s experiences from all

around the world and yet, perhaps unexpectedly, how universal those experiences had been. It

seems as if all over the world children were playing similar sorts of games; the universal ones like

hopscotch and marbles and jacks, of course (although they may have been called different things in

different countries); but also variations of chasing games like he, statues, knock-down ginger and

others with different regional variations. Within the four London boroughs we interviewed in, we

spoke to people who were born and brought up in the local area, but also to people who came here

from as far afield as St. Helena in the middle of the South Atlantic, Jamaica, Spain, Bangladesh and

Israel, just going to show that the area remains as much a melting-pot of different cultures now as it

ever was.

Peter recalled seeing a car for the first time when he was 12, when one came to take him to a family

wedding. Sibyl remembered travelling all the way from St. Helena to Dorset, without getting even

a sandwich to eat when she arrived. Roy and Rupert remembered playing dominoes

on the street corner in Jamaica; they are still playing dominoes at their Friday night club (and

having a great time, by the sound of it). Vera remembered playing knock down ginger on the local

policeman’s door – “we must have made the poor man’s life a misery!”. John also remembered

playing knock down ginger, and also egging the neighbour’s windows – shades of Justin Beiber,

there. Nadeem remembered his Steve Austin 6 million dollar man doll, with the bionic eye and arm;

I can vaguely remember that, which dates me!

Overall impressions are that people spent much more time out in the street socialising with other

neighbourhood children than they feel children do nowadays, and they think they had the better

part of the deal. Of course, there were so many fewer cars around then that children had much

freer access to the streets than they do nowadays. Many of our interviewees reminisced about

playing freely on bombsites after World War II, which would be unthinkable now. Sarah spoke

about the beginning of adventure parks in Stockholm, where builders created a park using left-over

materials from one of their developments; similar projects are now encouraged here. But overall it

seems as if most of our interviewees do not think today’s children, largely confined indoors with TVs,

tablets and computer games, get as much enjoyment out of their childhoods as they themselves did

in the past.


Posted by PMG


photo 2


Here we go again!!! Was a long time I didn’t write anything here that I really wanted.


These weeks I was working very hard on transcribing two interviews for the project. When I was asked to tell my personal experience about it, I was very excited.


We have many objectives for doing this: we think it´s useful to have a backup of all the interviews just in case the audio fails.  As well, it´s  another way of creating more accessible versions for the hard of hearing. Also, we are going to give some of these recordings to the Local Archives and they need the transcribed versions.


I’ve had the chance to transcribe two different interviews, one from Nuru, and the other from Dan, two very different people who shared something in common: “the happy childhood”. Both of them had a happy childhood; Nuru in Bangladesh and Dan talks about his experiences here in London.


Transcribing Nuru’s memories was amazing. During all these months on the project I’ve realised that no matter where you come from, all the kids around the world, more or less, play the same games that I played. So this is what I enjoyed discovering when interviewing Nuru – the same games all over the world. Her interview made me remember once again all the good memories of the moments in the fields with my cousins and friends. She showed me another culture completely different to what I know but there were connections to my own.

Dan surprised me in other way. At first when I had to transcribe what he was talking about I was thinking “Oh my God, I’m not going to understand any of that”. But I managed. Dan lives in East London and his accent was a little problematic for me, especially when he spoke quickly…I had to spend lots of time listening and listening again the same thing to understand (or not in a couple of parts) what he was saying.

Transcribing his memories was another gratifying experience in terms of imagination. He told an experience that he had in school with kids that were playing some kind of “Intergalactic War”. They had the forces to fight against the alien forces who invaded the castle, the prison, the safe areas…and all of them on the school playground!!! It is absolutely the power of kids imagination, and it is a shame that nowadays we can’t see as much of this. Especially when you can see a kid playing with an Ipad instead of a ball…but anyway, it is good if you want to share your thoughts about this. For me that was the best part of this transcription.


So from here thank you very much once again to Nuru and Dan to share their memories with us!!! I really enjoyed this experience!!


And remember!!! you can listen to a clip of Dan’s interview in our Oral Histories section, the one about Nuru is coming very soon!!!

Finally I want to let you all know about Dan´s current exhibition in Tower HamletsLocal History and Archives.

You can find more information here:




Posted by CA

Coming Soon….The Best Days of Our Lives’ Brochure!

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Well, this article pretty much does what it says on the tin.  I am glad to say that we have almost, almost finalised the project brochure, and it will be going to the printers very soon.  So watch this space.

I have thoroughly enjoyed working on this particular sub-project because it has been challenging, but at the same time, very rewarding.  One of the biggest challenges was condensing the huge amount of information our volunteers have collected over the course of the project as a whole into 20 pages.  Equally challenging was trying to figure out the ‘voice’ of the Best Days of Our Lives.  If this project was a famous person or car, who do you think it would be?

I hope the brochure will be well received.  I hope it will trigger off happy memories and discussion about toys, games and ways of playing back in ‘the good ol’ days’ and the different types of play across  

the world.   Even better, I hope some of you will revive these games and share them with others. 

The brochure, and indeed the project as a whole, would not have been possible without the input of the volunteers and all of those we interviewed.  I’m very grateful for the material you have provided us in the form of copy, research and interviews.  Thank you. And also to the wonderful illustrations of Estelle Morris.


Posted by JB