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Sudbury: Oral history alive and well

PUBLISHED: 10:00 03 January 2013

Lord Andrew Phillips

Lord Andrew Phillips

ORAL history is experiencing a renaissance in one Suffolk town, according to a prominent amateur historian.

Lord Andrew Phillips of Sudbury says he has seen an increase in the number of history enthusiasts who are giving talks based on their own memories or interviews with local people rather than research drawn from old documents and archives.

He said: “There has been a revival in interest in history in Sudbury of late and much of it is drawn from first hand experiences. One reason for this is the huge changes that have taken place in the town since the end of the Second World War.

“Fifty years ago the town was completely different compared with today. Local people had much more autonomy in the way the town was run but that has changed since the Local Government Act of 1972.

“Another big shift has been the arrival of the national chains into Sudbury. After the war, all the shops were run by local retailers, which gave the town a different feel to today.”

Lord Phillips, who is collecting oral accounts of post-war Sudbury and intends to publish a book on the subject in the future, was speaking ahead of a new programme of history lectures, which are due to take place at Sudbury’s Quay Theatre throughout the winter. The programme features a number of talks based on first-hand experiences including accounts of local government in Sudbury in the 1970s by ex-councillor Syliva Byham, memories of local ploughman ‘Tulip’ Rowe by historian Ashley Cooper and a talk about nurse training at Sudbury’s Walnuttree Hospital in the 1960’s by Phyliss Felton.

All proceeds from the lectures go to the Quay Theatre. They start this Sunday evening January 6.

Visit www.quaytheatre.org.uk for details.

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