Eel Pie Island oral history given voice with help from Richmond Council

Release Date: 28 September 2017

An oral history project about life on and the people of Eel Pie Island led by Digital:works and awarded £3,000 by Richmond Council’s Civil Pride Fund had its premiere earlier this month.

The project sees older people interview current and former residents of Eel Pie Island to record the stories as well as the history of the rowing club.  They worked with Michele Whitby and the team setting up the Eel Pie Island Museum, the Richmond Local Studies Centre and with local historians.

As part of the project, local residents received training in research techniques and undertook oral history workshops with digital-works to understand the role of oral history, how it works, and to generate oral history questions and to learn interview techniques.

Digital:works will now work with the local studies centre and Twickenham Society to advertise the project and copies of the film will be available to local schools and promoted through community screenings, film festivals, as well as library and community groups.

The Council’s Civic Pride Fund is available to individuals or groups who want to organise a project or event to improve their local area and deliver more for their local communities. Grants of up to £5k are available to organisations and £1k for individuals.

Cllr David Linnette, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and the Voluntary Sector, said:

“Being able to promote projects which show life within our wonderful borough is exactly the kind of the thing the Civic Pride Fund is all about.

“I’m thrilled we have been able to help this project and look forward to hearing the funny, and unbelievable stories that will no doubt come to the fore.”

Matthew Rosenburg, from Digital:works, said:

“The aim of the project was to enable local people to work with us to record on camera 32 oral history interviews to capture the stories and events that have shaped the island - from the residents talking about their lives on the island, to the Eel Pie Club, the boatyards, the yacht club and the rowing club.

“The full interviews are being given to the Eel Pie Museum and Richmond Local studies. They have also been edited to make a wonderful documentary about the history of Eel Pie Island. The funding from Richmond and the Heritage Lottery were crucial in enabling this project to take place.”

The film and full interviews are available to watch online now.

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Lyle Skipsey on 020 8487 5182.

Reference: P446/17

Updated: 2 October 2017