Audio Visual Archive Of Scilly Life Looking For Material From St Agnes

The Museum on St Mary's

Islanders who are prepared to chat to other residents about their memories of old Scilly are being recruited by the Museum to develop an audio-visual archive.

The project is being driven by Sheffield University researcher Emma Moore, who started it as a hobby several years ago but obtained funding last year to develop the archive.

She says the funding has allowed her to do a full audit of the existing material and obtain new recordings to fill the gaps. She’s already archived dozens of interviews from old home movies.

The existing audio recordings covered mainly St Mary’s and the new funding has allowed these to be extended to the Off-Islands.

Emma told us the amount of material from St Martin’s has increased greatly over the past year due to the interviews that Val Thomas has been making, and similarly Lydia Birch has been collecting material from Tresco and Bryher.

But Emma says material from St Agnes is fairly thin and she’s looking for a volunteer from the local community to collect interviews there. There’s video equipment available for anybody who wants to capture and preserve stories and Emma will provide full guidance on how to run the interviews.

Scilly Voices website

Not that it will be difficult – she says Scillonians are proud of their heritage and are only too willing to talk about their past and this makes for some great interviews.

There are some real treasures in the archive, Emma says, including recordings of John Osborne, the former headteacher of the Five Islands School who did several recordings in the 1970s about island life during the two World Wars.

There are also valuable details about how people lived and worked, especially how people farmed on the islands.

The material is available online and Emma says the website has been very popular, especially the videos, although she says they’re also going to make the transcripts available soon which will help those researching their family history.

On Thursday morning there will be a presentation of recent recordings made on St Martin’s by Val Thomas. The presentation starts at 11.15am and you can go to Emma’s website, Scilly Voices here.