Oxborough history and memories afternoon

First drop in session for the project, jointly with Oxborough History Group, an afternoon gathering oral histories, contacts for future discussions and updates, material and stories – and we all had a lovely time chatting and celebrating watery history and memories.

The Tales from the River project held its first drop in session, Mon 28 March 2022, jointly with and hosted by the Oxborough History Group, who provided delicious refreshments at the lovely spacious refurbished  Village Hall.

About 30 visitors from the village, surrounding area and beyond came along to look at historic documents & photos from the village and local area and the project’s display panels, to chat to each other and to volunteers to share memories of swimming, fishing, boating or playing in the rivers.

They jotted down on Post-it notes how they enjoyed the rivers and put stickers on the map to show where and what recreation they did or if they owned land and welcomed recreation there. Volunteers recorded some oral history interviews on the day and arranged to do several more at people’s homes, as well as people signing up for updates on the project and the group.

We heard stories about supposedly bottomless pingos, enormous sea trout making their way up the rivers and streams, about picnics and paddling and about all the ways water in the area was so important in people’s lives. One person brought in the skull of a large animal found in their part of the river, and another talked about some enormous deer antlers they had found.

Post-it notes: “Seeing my 2 young daughters in a canoe at Santon Downham, initially still tied to me by means of a long stout rope.”

“Watching the heron by the edge of the Gadder”

“Swim, picnic, birthday celebration, work lunch breaks, Stoke Ferry common, Summer 20, Spring 21”

“I had a paddle from a cow beach on Borough Fen, and I dangled my toes in the water from Oxborough Ferry a couple of weeks ago”

Brief report of the session on the BFER project page, with more photos on the BFER Flickr page and on the project lead’s Flickr page. And see the display panels here.

See the Swim history project plans page for a brief report and from earlier in the project, for other events coming up.

We are looking for people who might like to tell us their stories and memories about swimming and other recreation or activities, or would like to send us information – Outdoor Swimming maps, info, photos or stories to share.

The next project drop in is in Thetford Library, 3 May, 11-1, info on poster and on the Swim history project plans page.

selection of cakes and biscuits
Photo ©BFER

swims and swim places, and related issues