Audio Archive: Oral History - Family Life in Ewyas Lacy
Extracts from a DVD published by the Longtown and District Historical Society in 2007 entitled “In the Shadow of the Black Mountains: Memories of Rural Life in South West Herefordshire”. The audio recordings are reproduced here with their kind permission, after adaptation by the Ewyas Lacy Study Group for website presentation.
The material consists of interviews with local residents designed to record an oral history of the parishes of Ewyas Lacy. The work was carried out by members of the LDHS Oral History Group between 2004 and 2006 as part of a project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The memories in this clip relate to the history of family life in Ewyas Lacy. In a series of interviews, narrators describe the realities of day-to-day home life in the shadow of the Black Mountains in the early to mid part of the twentieth century.
From filling the wood-fired boiler for the Monday wash by fetching water from a spring at the bottom of the meadow to butchering your own pig, this was a time when country folk had to be self-reliant in the home. Mains water and electricity had yet to put in an appearance, and machines were for farming, not for easing domestic chores or providing entertainment. Food was mostly home-grown and prepared, so that shopping was a rare luxury - save for the occasional visit to the sweetshop by the children [a bag of four varieties for a penny in Longtown].
Today such a way of life seems almost unimaginably harsh, yet the memories seem mostly happy ones.