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The Fernhurst Society

Oral History group


This group is undertaking recorded interviews of villagers in Fernhurst Parish. So far 60 interviews have been made, on cassette tape. Many more interviews are planned and we are starting to use solid-state digital audio recorders. We are currently using the Marantz PMD620 compact falsh memory recorders, and have found that their built-in stereo microphones are sensitive enough to make good quality interviews, removing the need for the wired lapel mics that we used in the past.

The original cassette and digital recordings are archived in the West Sussex Record Office. Copies of each recording on cassette, on audio CD, and as mp3 files on CD-ROM, are lodged in the Fernhurst Archives.

Many volunteers are involved in making this project a reality. We need more people to record interviews, for which training and equipment will be given. We also need more people to help transcribe the taped interviews. Anybody who would like to help should contact the coordinator, Ralph Carver, via the Society's email.


2005-2007 Oral History Project

The aim of our Oral History Project, based on interviews with long-time residents of Fernhurst, was to develop a picture of how everyday life in the village has changed over the last 100 or so years, with particular emphasis on the period 1920-1980. With the aid of funding from the Local Heritage Initiative, between 2005-2007 we produced a book, created additional pages on this website, and launched a temporary exhibition. Much of the £21,780 grant subsidised the cost of the book production.

From a wealth of recorded memories and information, we drew out material to show different aspects of life in Fernhurst – e.g. schooling, shopping, transport, employment (industry/agriculture), village organisations, sport, religion, housing and health.

The material has been archived in both the Fernhurst Archives and at the West Sussex Records Office, for use by future local historians. The Project, which is now completed, involved a team of some 25 local volunteer interviewers, transcribers, artists and designers.

Details about the book, "Voices of Fernhurst", are below.

The exhibition, held over two days in November 2007, gave villagers and other visitors a chance to hear some of the original recordings made for the 'Voices of Fernhurst' Project and discover more about village history through original documents and photographs from the Fernhurst Archives. The exhibition also displayed prrofs and other designs to how the book was put together, plus an exhibit from Fernhurst Primary School.

Although our LHI-funded Project has finished, the Oral History group's work continues, collecting more interviews and adding to the rich record of life in Fernhurst.

For further information about the project and for text and audio extracts from the interviews, so our Oral History Project web pages



Voices of Fernhurst book

Specially selected transcriptions from the interviews were published on 2nd December 2006 as a book, "Voices of Fernhurst" - the story of Fernhurst through the 20th century as seen by its residents.

See our Publications page for details including ordering information.



The Local Heritage Initiative was developed by the Countryside Agency and is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Nationwide Building Society.

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Fernhurst History