Oral History

First Base Day Centre opened in 1984 and so will be 30 years old in 2014. At BHT Heritage we decided to use this time frame to research the history of homelessness in Brighton and Hove.

We’ve found that the voices of people who have experienced homeless were largely missing from official documents and media articles. To remedy this BHT Heritage are worked with Dr Sam Carroll from the University of Sussex to develop an oral history project which allowed clients with experiences of homelessness to tell their stories.

Life story recordings help us understand history through the words of those who were involved. With oral history we can learn new information, hear unique viewpoints and personal memories provide an alternative history. It presents the voices of people who may otherwise be ‘hidden from history’.

In a series of workshops, client volunteers were trained by Dr Carroll in oral history interviewing techniques and conducted interviews with clients from across BHT. Dr Carroll interviewed professionals who have worked in homelessness services in the city about their experience of homelessness in Brighton and Hove.

The full oral history recordings are available to listen to at the University of Sussex Special Collections.

You can listen to the audio clips by clicking on a photo or name to your right or below on mobile devices. Please do explore them all.


Are you a KS3 or 4 teacher?

Has your class explored how oral history can educate society about the recent past?

We have developed a FREE project outline for Key Stages 3 and 4; students will explore the relevance and reliability of oral history interviews as historical sources, consider how oral history differs from other evidence, plan and prepare an oral history project, and interpret and present the information they discover.

To access the resources please click here.

Have you used our Oral History resources? We would love to hear from you with any comments, feedback or suggestions you may have!