Oral history collection

Oral history collections

Thanks to a Heritage Lottery Funded Project, the museum has been able to collect recordings of the memories of many people who have lived and worked in the district. Here you can listen to some of those recollections.

The collection covers a wide range of themes, experiences and opinions. Memories include ordinary everyday events of childhood, school, work and fun as well as memories of major moments in history such as the Second World War.

You can listen to four extracts from interviews here. Please note that the copyright in all of the interviews, both in audio and transcript format, rests with them museum or the interviewees. The extracts on this site are not to be reproduced without the permission of the museum.


At the start of the century, dairy farming dominated agriculture in this part of Essex. Today only two dairy farms remain. John Graham kept a dairy herd in Nazeing, like his father and grandfather before him. He explains why he decided to move to beef cattle in the 1970s.

Image of John Graham with family and salesman at Lodge Farm, Nazeing





(Image of John Graham with family and salesman at Lodge Farm, Nazeing)


The increase in residential development is one of the most visible changes to the Epping Forest District. The Shelley estate in Ongar was erected in the 1940s. It started with a row of prefabs. Brenda Hadsley was one of the first people to move in.

Image of The Hadsley family in front of their prefab





(Image of The Hadsley family in front of their prefab)


Of all the industries based in the district, the Royal Gunpowder Mills in Waltham Abbey is one of the most famous, even though its work was top secret for many years. Jack Elliott worked there from 1936 to 1943.

Image of Mr and Mrs Elliott in Ponders End, late 1930.





(Image of Mr and Mrs Elliott in Ponders End, late 1930s)


The railway came to Epping in 1865, when the Eastern Counties Railway extended the line from Loughton to Epping and Ongar. Almost a hundred years later, Epping became part of London Transport's Central Line, following electrification of the line. Bob Knight recalls the steam trains at Epping Station.


Image of a steam train to Ongar leaving Epping Station, 1947.





(Image of Steam train to Ongar leaving Epping Station, 1947 - Courtesy of Vestry House Museum)


Phone Contact us....

Telephone: 01992 716882
Email: museum@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Or you can write to us at:
Epping Forest District Museum, 39-41 Sun Street,  Waltham Abbey, Essex EN9 1EL





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