Be an Oral Historian


Be an oral historian (.pdf)

Hidden Histories

The Memories of Ely Pits and Meadows project has collected stories about the area by interviewing people who live or have lived in Ely, and know it well.

History is often seen as being all about big, well-documented events that have affected large groups of people - wars, political and social changes. The day-to-day lives of people are often seen to be less important. Their stories can bring the past to life and tell us how the ‘bigger’ events in our history affected people’s lives.

Listen to the stories

One thing that is clear when you listen to people talking about their childhood is that children in the past were much freer to play on their own without adult supervision.

Listen to the clips and see what you can find out about what the interviewees did for fun when they were small.

There are lots of things about the common and the pits that haven’t been written in history books, and are not obvious at first glance.

What can you find out about the tank trap that was dug out during WWII? The pill box was also part of the defence against invasion. Can you find out more about it by listening to this interview? There are strict laws now about how old you can be to start paid work, but children often used to have to work. What kind of jobs did they do? Can you find out how young they were by listening to the interviews?
Flanders Hopkins
Elaine Griffin Singh
Peter Lee
George Reynolds

Useful Links

Find out more about WWII

Primary school:


History of child labour: