Info Sheet: Tales from the River

Tales from the River – how we are collecting stories with oral history interviews (Download page, Word.doc, 2 pages)

About Tales from the River

logos NHLF and BFER; National Lottery Heritage Fund

Tales from the River is a lottery funded project that is collecting stories, memories and folklore about outdoor swimming and other watery recreation in, on or by the Brecks rivers and other waters.

As well as people’s own memories and stories, we also hope to gather photos, films, maps and information.

The range of watery activities is wide, including outdoor swimming, dipping, jumping, diving, paddling, playing in water, picnicking, boating, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, walking, running, camping, and art inspired by the water.

The stories we uncover and collect will be shared with wider audiences to celebrate the heritage and traditions in the distant and recent past, so we can understand and build up a history of these activities in the area and connect the past with the present and future of river recreation.

The area for the project is the rivers of the Brecks area and the edge of the Fens. Some of our volunteers are exploring particular areas of the Brecks and specific themes, and they will explain this when they talk to you.

Find out more about the project, Tales from the River, here, It is part of The Brecks Fen Edge & Rivers Landscape Partnership Scheme (BFER), supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

What is oral history?

Oral histories are recordings of people talking about their memories. Oral history helps to fill in the gaps often left by documents by capturing the experiences of ordinary people.

What will happen to the recordings we make?

Recordings made for this project will become part of the collections at Suffolk Archives. We will also use information or extracts from them in exhibitions, videos, on our website and in social media during the project. We might share all or part of them with other projects or suitable local history societies. At your interview you will have the opportunity to say if you would like to place any restrictions on how your recording or parts of it are used.

What can you expect at the recording?

You will be meeting with one or two of our trained volunteers, who will ask you a few questions and record your conversation.

This can happen at your own home or a different place if more convenient to you.

Forget the recorder is there and just have a chat!

Oral history interviews begin with the interviewer stating their name, and the date and place that the interview is taking place. They will then ask you your name and age or the year you were born, so that listeners in the future will be able to put some context to the recording.

If there is anything you’d rather not talk about that’s fine, and if there’s anything you want to make sure doesn’t come up just let our volunteers know.

You will be given two forms to sign – one before the recording to give your consent for taking part, and another at the end giving permission for us to keep and use the recording. If you would like to place any restrictions on its use this is where you can do so.

We hope you enjoy taking part!

 Other materials related to your story

 We are also interested in other materials related to your story, such as photos, films, documents or maps. If you have any other information like these the volunteers can explain how you could donate these or lend them to us so that we can do a digital copy. There will be a form for this, and we will look after the materials carefully.

Questions and contacts

If you have any questions about the recording or about the project, or if you would be willing to talk to project volunteers about your memories, please get in touch with us: project lead Imogen Radford imogen36[at] or BFER bfer.admin[at]

More details and links

logos NHLF and BFER; National Lottery Heritage Fund

swims and swim places, and related issues