Cranes, Boats and Trains: an intergenerational oral history project

Young people interviewing

Project Summary

St. Thomas More RC School based in North Tyneside working in partnership with Living History North East and the BBC ran this project to equip young people and older volunteers with the skills and resources needed to record memories of the shipyards along the Tyne. It was funded with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The objectives of the project were:

  • To train both young people and volunteers in oral history recording
  • To bridge the gap between generations
  • To record individual memories on audio and videotape

Six intergenerational groups were selected, made up of three young students and one older volunteer from the community. Each worked as a team to acquire the skills of an oral historian and to develop camera and editing techniques to produce a DVD of their work which was distributed to schools in the area.

Key Lessons

  • Good partnerships, bringing skills and expertise to the school
  • Long-term commitment of volunteers, who were dedicated to the intergeneration experience
  • A good planning and preparation stage
  • Partnership with the BBC meant some of the interviews would be included on the BBC website ‘The North East on Film’. The BBC was very supportive and eager to assist the project. When they began to look at the interviews they were impressed by the improvement of the recordings as the interviews progressed
  • Interviews and other archive material are now available on the BBC website at To see the archive, type ‘Tyneside shipbuilders’ in the search box.
  • Partnership with Living History also guaranteed the long-term use and archiving of the recordings

Living History and St Thomas More are planning another one-year project, to continue the intergenerational link with oral history as it provides a valuable learning resource for the school.

This archive entry was last updated on 08/07/2019. Information incorrect or out-of-date?
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