Rivers Nursery Orchard Oral History Project

Rivers Nursery Orchard Oral History Project

In September 2008 the Rivers Nursery Site and Orchard Group began a year’s oral history project, supported by a grant from Awards for All, that has the following aims:

1- Gathering as oral history the voices of those who had contact with the historic Rivers Nursery business, closing in 1987, or who have significant information about its contribution to horticulture and to gardens great and small. We are involving young people from local primary and high schools to work with adult interviewers and saving the interviews as CD disks in our Archives, accessible to all.

2 - Publishing edited oral history within the context of background from the Archives and other material as a book on the history of the Rivers Nursery.

The project has fallen into 3 phases:

Preparation: From before we received the grant, we began to gather information: from a course at the British Library on methods and equipment, from the schools on whether any interest in being involved would be shown and most of all, from all previous sources and from publicity, leads on people who have memories or stories. This process led to many direct contacts and possible searches, all of which had to be followed up.

Recording interviews and involving schools: This phase is well underway and much of this work has been completed, with involvement from two out of four local primary schools and the high school, and about 15 interviews completed so far. A great effort has been made to have a variety of voices as interviewers and with the voices of the storytellers the recordings make a picture of our local community. People have been generous too in sharing written memories and pictures from the past.

Gathering material, writing and publishing: This last phase is gathering impetus and we expect a book to be published in the autumn.

It’s all of great interest and historical significance - and a lot of work!

More information on the Rivers Nursery Orchard from Kate Yarnold, 07887763258 or Joseph Fitzgerald, 01279 721245 .