On February 1st we are excited to be launching the first of six podcasts based on Voices from the Forest recordings from the last five years that tell the fascinating story of people in the Forest of Dean in the last half of the twentieth century. We examine from the oral sources we have collected, how people’s lives changed as the experience of work shifted from land-based work in collieries, foundries and the woodland to new jobs in factories. We listen to women explain how they found new working opportunities and were freed from the tyranny of domestic service. We also discover from listening to them, how some of these opportunities were a ‘false dawn’. Meredith and Drew invested in a new biscuit making plant in Cinderford, but it closed just over a decade later with the loss of over 300 jobs and the goliath Rank Xerox employed thousands, only to collapse in the face of digital technology. Women struggled for equality in the workplace, with unequal pay and few employment rights.
We begin by looking at the impact of World War Two an event that influenced and shaped the next fifty years and when the cry of ‘Got and gum chum’ rang out on the streets of Cinderford. Listen to find out about the bombs and the Yanks that shook the Forest.
You can listen to the podcast here, at Voices from the Forest - just go to the Podcast page - or you can find us on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Here's a short taster of what's to come...
Our latest addition comes from retired police officer Nigel Isaac. Born in 1942, Nigel grew up in Hucclecote and remembers the anti-aircraft infrastructure there from World War Two. He talks about going to school in Gloucester and the bullying he experienced. His varied working life saw him first following his parents' advice to take up an apprenticeship, but closure of the factory gave him the chance to make his own choice and he decided to work in farming. Later he decided to join the police force and underwent training at the police college in Dorset. Moving back to the area now as a police officer, he describes how much he enjoyed walking the beat in and around Lydney, and how - without radios - they kept in touch with the station. Nigel also describes how he became involved in anti-poaching patrols on the River Wye.