Witness

Witness

Oral History Project at the University of Sheffield
Full list of Witness Oral Histories
The following list is the full collection of Oral Histories collected by the Witness project, organised by year. Hovering on a link will provide a summary of the interview. Clicking on the link will direct...
Resources
WITNESS INTERVIEWS Access to our extensive collection of audio material. WALKLEY ARCHIVE Explore our sources relating to the Walkley Action Group's fight against slum clearances.
WALKLEY ACTION GROUP
Walkley is a suburb to the North-West of Sheffield city centre. The close-knit community that thrives there today is a result of strong community action in the late sixties and early seventies. In 1970 Walkley...

About Us

The Witness Project is based at the University of Sheffield’s History Department. Witness was set up in 2011 by two of the department’s historians, Charles West and Andrew Heath, to collect and preserve Sheffield’s past through the medium of oral history. The interviews are carried out by trained history students in their second year who are tasked with recruiting participants from the local community conducting a number of interviews.

Common themes include Sheffield during World War II, local politics, youth culture, the Miners’ Strikes and the impact of deindustrialisation on Sheffield and its community.

The Witness Project is now in its sixth year. Over the years we have collected many hours of valuable oral histories which are readily accessible via our online archive. Our work has uncovered lesser known aspects of Sheffield’s history, as well as some personal thoughts and anecdotes that provide a valuable insight into life in Sheffield in the twentieth century. We have interviews covering everything from the Sheffield Blitz and rationing, to Sheffield’s nightclubs!

During 2013 – 2014 the Witness Project collaborated with the Walkley Historians. Walkley Historians is a community history group researching the history of the Sheffield suburb of Walkley. Our collaboration focused on the work of the Walkley Action Group during the 1970s, and their fight against the planned slum clearance of much of Walkley. This community activist group was one of the first of its kind in Britain. As part of our collaboration, the archival material of the Walkley Action Group, and related materials, have been made available on our website. This archive presents a vast range of resources to researchers interested in community activism, urban planning and local politics.

In the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 period Witness has expanded to run a series of workshops on oral history with local Key Stage 3 students, after which they conduct their own oral history interviews on childhood. The project culminates in a visit to the University where the students reflect on modern childhood, using their interviews as source material.

This year Witness has been interviewing people to find out what it was like to grow up Jewish in Sheffield during and after the Second World War.

Project on Jewish Sheffield

Photo of Nathan Lapatnick, who fled the Russian Empire in 1890

Witness, together with students in the university, have produced an insightful and fascinating project interviewing and exploring the lives of Jewish communities living in and around Sheffield. Focusing upon life during the 20th century growing up in the city of Sheffield, many interviewees gave their personal testimonies to their own individual circumstances as well as experiences of or after World War II. This Oral History Project adds to our ever-growing discovering of Sheffield's history.

Interview with Avril Lappin
Interview with Avril Lappin
Interview: keyword transcript (To follow) Interview: reflective piece (To follow) Interviewers: William Morley, Johnny Davies and Molly Hayde
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Interview with Carole Sayliss and David Sayliss
Interview with Carole Sayliss and David Sayliss
Interview: keyword transcript Interview: reflective piece (To follow) Interviewers: Tilly Stott, Thomas Holt and Amy Federski.
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Interview with Ruth Sayliss
Interview with Ruth Sayliss
Interview: keyword transcript Interview: reflective piece The Witness project provided an interesting opportunity to track the history of Sheffield and Leeds. Our focus throughout the...
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Interview with Jill Shaw
Interview with Jill Shaw
Interview: keyword transcript Interview: reflective piece When I decided to take part in the Witness Project, my motivations stemmed from a desire to undertake my own...
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Interview with Jeanette Rubinstein
Interview with Jeanette Rubinstein
Interview: keyword transcript Interview: reflective piece (To follow) Interviewers: Tilly Stott, Thomas Holt and Amy Federski.
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Interview with Pauline Woolf
Interview with Pauline Woolf
Interview: keyword transcript Interview: reflective piece The Witness project provided an interesting opportunity to track the history of Sheffield and Leeds. Our focus throughout the...
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Interview with Judy Simons
Interview with Judy Simons
Interview 1: keyword transcript Interview 2: keyword transcript Interview: reflective piece Molly: The experience of participating in the Witness project was very much different from...
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Interview with Eric Sayliss
Interview with Eric Sayliss
Interview: keyword transcript (To follow) Interview: reflective piece (To follow) Interviewers: Thomas hunt
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Interview with Rolf Heymann
Interview with Rolf Heymann
Interview: keyword transcript (To follow) Interview: reflective piece (To follow) Interviewers: Freddie Coombes, Bethan Hughes and Kasturi Pindar
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Interview with Estelle Hakim
Interview with Estelle Hakim
Interview: keyword transcript Interview: reflective piece The whole process of the Witness project was challenging but insightful. It taught us about working alongside one another...
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Interview with Dorothy Fleming
Interview with Dorothy Fleming
Interview: keyword transcript (To follow) Interview: reflective piece (To follow) Interviewers: William Morley, Johnny Davies and Molly Hayde
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Interview with Edward Patnick
Interview with Edward Patnick
Interview: keyword transcript Interview: reflective piece (To follow) Interviewers: Matt Ashby, Phoebe Cahill and Catherine Kennedy.
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Interview with June Bott
Interview with June Bott
Memories: Michael Bott Last week my brother-in law, Alan Kay, came to Hull to visit his sister June and me. He brought with him a...
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Interview with Sue Pearson
Interview with Sue Pearson
Interview: keyword transcript Interview: reflective piece When I decided to take part in the Witness Project, my motivations stemmed from a desire to undertake my...
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Interview with Alan Spier
Interview with Alan Spier
Interview: keyword transcript Interview: reflective piece Upon completion of the Witness Oral History Project, we are taking a moment to reflect on our experience. Having...
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Interview with Sonia Howard
Interview with Sonia Howard
Interview: keyword transcript Interview: reflective piece What both Kirsten and I were able to take away from this project was a sheer appreciation for the...
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Interview with Steve Mendelsohn
Interview with Steve Mendelsohn
Interview: keyword transcript Interview: reflective piece The whole process of the Witness project was challenging but insightful. It taught us about working alongside one another...
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Interview with Shirley Myerson
Interview with Shirley Myerson
Interview: keyword transcript Interview: reflective piece What both Kirsten and I were able to take away from this project was a sheer appreciation for the...
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Featured: Jewish Sheffield

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