Print This Post Print This Post

Oral History – With Pictures

Looking back into recording history

The Stroudwater Navigation – An Oral History DVD is now available to view online.

The Stroudwater Oral History was the product of a successful application to The Local Heritage Initiative (LHI) in 2006.


The LHI project was a grant programme funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund for local projects around England. The programme lasted from 2000 until 2006 and provided mid-range funds between £3000 and £25,000.

Elements on view

Other elements of the project are now on public view. The Ebley Mill Mosaic stands close to the towpath at the pedestrian entrance to Ebley Mill. This mosaic is the result of the research and creativity of pupils of St Matthews Primary School.

High level local artistry

Further evidence of local high level artistic talent stands just along the towpath in the shape of a Kingfisher & Dragonfly panel.This is the work of Steve Roberts of The Stroud Design Cooperative.

Steve also researched, illustrated and produced the ‘Along the Cotswold Canals’ leaflets – Ryeford Bridge to Wallbridge and Brimscombe Port.

The leaflets are now out of print, so if you have them hang onto them. If you do not have copies then archive copies are held at the CCT Visitor Centre at Wallbridge.

How & why it happened

Cotswold Canals Trust Development Adviser Neville Nelder managed the Local Heritage Initiative process. His 2006 application was timely as the scheme closed down later that year.

Asked recently to comment on the project in general and the Stroudwater Oral History in particular Neville commented…

“I have always felt that ‘history’ is not just what happened hundreds of years ago…. ‘History’ is what happened in recent times too, with the advantage that we have an opportunity to see and listen to the people who were actually there.

"The memories and voices of those people, some of whom are no longer with us, are now recorded for others to enjoy and learn from”

Bruce Hall, past Chairman of the Cotswold Canals Trust, comments…

“The project was intended to produce some clarity for people.

"We were dealing with two derelict canals, the Stroudwater and the Thames-Severn, opened in the 1700s, so much history and so many stories to tell, all of which needed to be explained to local people in order outline the viability of the restoration.

"I like to think it helped to achieve that aim.”

Available to view online

The Oral History DVD is no longer available to purchase. However, thanks to the creative and technical skills of long time Trust member Robert Paget, we can still enjoy the voices and stories Neville & Bruce refer to.

With the kind permission of copyright holders The Cotswold Canals Partnership, Robert has installed The Stroudwater Navigation Oral History on the CCT You Tube Page. 

Robert explains some technicalities… “ I had to divide the original into two separate parts in order to upload it. You Tube then offered me three picture icons from the upload.

"The second video showed local author Joan Tucker in her study. Joan passed away last year, so I felt it was the perfect choice to use as the icon for Part 2.

“The DVD is a 'must see'. Not just for the people’s stories. The excellent film footage of the Stroudwater Navigation prior to restoration is a joy to watch. The improvements achieved in just a few years are remarkable.”

Click here or on the DVD picture to go to the Cotswold Canals Trust You Tube page.

Click on the other pictures to view larger versions.