Tales of the Vale – Stories from the Lower Severn Vale Levels
Our Tales of the Vale project oﬀered local volunteers with a passion for the past, people, and the landscape a chance to learn how to explore A Forgotten Landscape in one of two ways.
The historical research team was led, taught and mentored by Dr Virginia Bainbridge, a professional historian. Team members decided for themselves what they wanted to research and, ably guided by Virginia, they delved through archives, old maps, photographs, even learning elements of mediaeval Latin palaeography as they uncovered more and more about their chosen topics.
The oral history team was led, taught and mentored by Julia Letts, a professional oral historian. Team members recorded nearly 50 conversations with local residents, mostly older people, reminiscing about their lives growing up and reflecting on changes in the area. All these recordings are a treasure trove for anyone interested in the past.
Both of these projects came together in the final year in our wonderful publication and recording Tales of the Vale: Stories of the Lower Severn Vale, a collection of two years of effort by our volunteers. Their work spans more than two millennia; we are immensely proud of and grateful to them all.
The final work was launched with an exhibition that toured the area for several months, with stops including places like UWE and Thornbury library to allow access to as many groups as possible. 2,500 copies of the book and CD were distributed free of charge, and the oral histories were presented to both Bristol and Gloucester Archives.
You can read the book here (for best viewing, click on View and then Read Mode). Use the link below to listen to our oral histories.