MS 4760/35 project booklet
The Home Away from Home project archive (MS 4760) documents the personal experiences of women who moved from Mirpur in Pakistan to the Saltley and Washwood Heath areas of Birmingham in the 1960s and 1970s.
The archive is a visual and audio record of these women’s experiences which include happy memories and recollections as well as some of the challenges they faced. It contains oral history interviews recorded with the women, copies of photographs from their own personal collections and a summary booklet giving a useful overview of the project and the interviews.
A number of common themes emerge through the stories and experiences shared in the recordings. One of these is the sense of community the women experienced when they first arrived in the UK which they felt was better in those days than it is now. Life was much more difficult, however, in practical ways such as heating and lighting of houses.
The ladies had some shared experiences, for example several mentioned that they would have liked to learn English when they moved to the UK, but that there were no suitable opportunities or classes for them to go to. A number of the women were also scared of going to hospitals but found that when they did go the staff were kind and helpful and they were able to communicate with each other through gestures.
Studio Theatre, The Library of Birmingham Friday 4th April 2014 10.30-17.30
Charles Parker interviewing Mrs Costello photographed by Bob Etheridge
[MS 4000 2004/172]
The extensive Charles Parker Archive [ref. no. MS 4000] stored at Archives, Heritage and Photography at the Library of Birmingham, comprises the papers and tape recordings collected by Charles Parker (d. 1980). Parker was a BBC radio producer in Birmingham until the 1970s, was an activist and co-founder of the Birmingham and Midland Folk Centre, Grey Cock Folk Club and Banner Theatre of Actuality. He was a tireless campaigner for the voice of ordinary people to be heard on radio, and the folk music and song which originally came from the working classes to be preserved and re-used for contemporary campaigns.
The 10th Charles Parker Day, the annual conference that celebrates the radio feature – past, present and future – will be held at the Studio Theatre, Library of Birmingham on Friday 4 April, 2014.
The first Charles Parker Day was organised by the Centre for Broadcasting research at Bournemouth University on 5 April (Charles Parker’s birthday) in 2004. It included the launch of the Charles Parker prize for students of radio features.
For the last eight years, the main theme of the conference has been the Radio Ballads, for which Parker and his collaborators, Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger became famous.
It’s 50 years since the last of these eight innovative radio features – ‘The Travelling People’ – was broadcast. So this year, the Charles Parker Day celebrates this ballad about travellers and examines the legacy of the whole series of Radio Ballads.
For this special occasion one of the original creative team, Peggy Seeger, will attend the day and will reflect on the making of the ballads, in particular ‘The Travelling People’, in an illustrated conversation with Peter Cox (author of the definitive book on the Radio Ballads ‘Set into Song’).
But have attitudes towards travellers changed during the intervening 50 years? Heritage writer and consultant Sarah Baylis will examine the relevance for travellers today of the original recordings for the ‘Travelling People’ in the Charles Parker Archive. Continue reading
Ben and Melissa’s story
Gender Matters has been awarded Heritage Lottery Funding to capture the oral histories of the trans community in the West Midlands.
Birmingham Archives and Heritage have been supporting the project to help map the history of trans experience.
Members of the group are telling their stories through stories, song, poetry and art, which will form a permanent record of trans experiences in the region.
This is Ben and Melissa’s story:
Ben is a cross dresser and has captured his story – and his transition to Melissa through a series of photos and memories:
‘I got married when I was 21 so my access to women’s clothes increased…but the difficulty in hiding it also increased. There was a subconscious desire to be found out and accepted, combined with the fear of not being accepted.’
The stories describe positive and uplifting journeys.
‘I wasn’t prepared to go through the deceit and lies in another relationship so I was very upfront in the early stages and was thankful that she was accepting and supportive which has enabled me and Melissa to flourish. It’s a cross dressers dream to be accepted and supported.’