Appeal to trace voices from the past

St Helens Council’s Library Service is looking to trace the relatives of a number of residents who took part in voice recording interviews over 30 years ago.

The call comes after the original cassette tapes were recently digitalised.

From 1985-86, St Helens Library Service conducted an oral history project which involved library staff interviewing 37 members of the public, aged between 60-90 years of age, to find out about living and working in St Helens – and to reminisce about their lives growing up in the borough.

The interviews, which were carried out by Peter Sargeant and Heather Taylor – formerly of the St Helens Library Service – were recorded on cassette tapes and have been stored for many years in the borough archives.

As part of this year’s St Helens Community Archive project – supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund – St Helens Library Service have digitised these recordings in order to preserve copies for the future and to make them more accessible to the general public.

Later in the year, BA Animation students from Edge Hill University are planning to use some of the recordings to create short new animation clips. These animations will later be added to the new St Helens Community Archive: where all residents will be able to view them.

The list of names of those who took part in a 1985 interview is as follows:

· Joseph Curran of St Helens

· Lily Harrison née Bradshaw of St Helens

· John Barratt of Thatto Heath

· Mary Gaffney and Ethel Mather of St Helens

· Ernest Whittle of Haydock

· May Redman née Middlehurst of Billinge

· Elsie Watkin of Haydock

· Alfred Moran of St Helens

· William and Margery Kenning of Earlestown

· Annie Nicholson of Haydock

· James Forsyth of St Helens

· William Ashton of Haydock

· Amy Bracegirdle of Haydock,

· Noah Lamb of St Helens

· James (Jimmy) Dowd of Haydock

· John and Edith Boughey of Pocket Nook

· John (Jack) Case of St Helens

· Willie and Jane Potter of Haydock

· Valentine Cotham of St Helens

· Albert and Elizabeth Rawes of Rainford

· Emma Brain née Shields of St Helens

· William Martindale of St Helens

· Elsie McCooey née Parr of St Helens

· Wilf Hill of Peasley Cross

· Annie McGee of St Helens

· James Knowles of St Helens

· Teresa Lee née McGee of St Helens

· Frank Bamber of St Helens

· Mary Lowe of St Helens

· Elsie Hill of St Helens,

· Eva Rogers of St Helens

· Eric Burroughs Phythian of St Helens

If you believe you are related to one of the residents listed above and would like to hear the recording and find out more about the project, please email


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