The Oral History project
One of the aims of our Heritage Lottery funded project was to record some new oral histories as well as transcribe existing recordings carried in the 1990s by Molly Pewsey to record local people talking about their memories of Brading. Oral history allows us to capture the voices of people who have lived through eras and events and preserve their spoken memories of the past for posterity. Many of Molly’s interviewees have now died and so this a wonderful legacy to them all and Molly herself.
Our project volunteers have also been trained, with the help of Island oral historian Lisa Kerley, to conduct new recordings of people’s memories of the way of life, families and people and occupations and work in Brading.
Pupils from Brading Primary School also undertook some training in oral history and interviewed some older residents, with one gentleman having attended the very same school 85 years ago and enjoyed looking around at the building describing the changes and talking to the children about how it used to look when he was a pupil there.
Young people at Brading Youth Club also learnt about recording the memories of older people about Brading in the past. Some of our interviewees come from many generations of Island-born families and so speak with the distinctive Isle of Wight dialect and accent which these recordings have also preserved for future generations.
We hope you enjoy listening to some soundbites of their memories and learning about life in Brading – warts and all – through the last century, from our residents – from shopkeepers, to farmers, from schoolchildren to doctors – from the 1930s to the 1980s.
Listen to some soundbites of our interviews here:
We have grouped soundbites from some of the interviews under the following thematic headings. Just click on the link to hear examples of recordings within that theme. The interviewees on these soundbites are:
Mrs Beryl Wallis:
Born in 1933, Beryl came to Brading in 1945 as a small child when her parents moved to the Island from London. Beryl ran the Brading Drapery Stores, taking over from her parents who retired, from 1968 to 1999. Julie Smith and Lisa Kerley recorded Beryl’s memories and Beryl’s son, Martin, can also be heard on one of the recorded excerpts.
Born in 1930 in Back Lane (now called West Street) and moved to Rose Cottage, Charlie went to Brading National School and luckily, he survived having diphtheria when he was about 5 or 6 years old
Mrs Eileen Morris:
Born in Brading High Street in 1937, Eileen moved to Cross Street as a toddler before moving to one of the new houses in Station Gardens when they were built. Eileen started work at 15 years old at Timothy Whites in Shanklin.
Born in 1929 in the ale house at the Mew Langton Brewery opposite the entrance to Station Road, before moving to Cross Street. Fred went to the Council School until he was 14 years old and, after some years working for the Sandown Chronicle, he went into the building trade.
Drs Jane and Peter Brand:
Worked as the local GPs in Brading from 1978 to 2006, first in the portacabins (now the Brading Centre) in West Street and from 1981 at the Beechgrove surgery on the Mall. The interviewers are Julie Smith and Lisa Kerley.
‘Every day had its job, Monday wash and so on…..it was bubble and squeak and beef on Mondays cos it was washday, leftovers from Sunday and that’s how the pattern of food went for the rest of the week you, it was all routine really’.
One interviewee told us ‘We called all our neighbours Aunty and Uncle’
Listen to the MP3 file “Charlie Wright: Rose Cottage” here:
Listen to the MP3 file “Eileen Morris: Village Life” here:
Listen to the MP3 file “Beryl Wallis: Mr Simmonds the milkman” here:
Listen to the MP3 file “Eileen Morris: Family life in Brading” here:
Shops and shopping
‘Brading had everything you needed to be self-sufficient – post office, paper shop, sweet shop, cobbler, four grocery shops, draper shop, butchers’ shop, chemist, blacksmith, undertakers, builders, coal merchant, milk lady, tea rooms not forgetting the pubs – three pubs’.
We even interviewed one of the longstanding shopkeepers – Beryl Wallis of Brading Drapery Stores whose parent’s ran the shop before she and her husband moved in and took it over. Beryl described the shop as quite an Aladdin’s cave when she took over in 1968 – you could buy anything from tea towels to fishing tackle.
Listen to the MP3 file “Eileen Morris: Brading Shops and Businesses” here:
Listen to the MP3 file “Fred Henry: Brading Shops” here:
Listen to the MP3 file “Charlie Wright and Fred Henry: Shops” here:
Travel and transport
‘We used to call the train “Crabbie” – I don’t know why?’
Everyone had a story to tell about the train or the station, and the buses and the bus stop and when roads were quieter and children played in the streets, when hardly anyone in the town had a car and the main modes of transport were your legs or a bicycle! Listen to some of their mode of transport memories here……
Listen to the MP3 file “Beryl Wallis: The Coal train” here:
Listen to the MP3 file “Fred Henry: Petrol pump” here:
Pastimes, hobbies and clubs
Brading has been home to many clubs and associations over the years. From the Mother’s Union to the Youth Club, from the Football Club to the Women’s Institute.
One interviewee recalled happy times at the youth club which met under the Congregational Church on Bulley’s Hill where Miss Harris taught dance and drama and put on plays and pageants.
Listen to the MP3 file “Charlie Wright: Playing out” here:
Listen to the MP3 file “Eileen Morris: Outings, Sunday School” here:
‘There was the Church School and the Council School and we thought in the Church School that the Council looked down on the Church….if you went to the Council School you were hmmm…..!.’
School milk, school dinners, punishments, uniforms (or not), lessons, teachers, playtime and exams – just a few of the memories recorded from Brading’s past:
Listen to the MP3 file “Charlie Wright and Fred Henry: Church school and air-raid shelter” here:
Listen to the MP3 file “Charlie Wright and Fred Henry: School punishments” here:
Listen to the MP3 file “Eileen Morris: School days” here:
From running the post office, to being the local GP, hear about our Communities’ memories of working in Brading:
‘I can remember being rung up one morning at breakfast “Doctor, I’m sorry to bother you so early, but my husband’s had this awful pain all night” and you’d go up and they were obviously having a heart attack, “why didn’t you ring me before”, you know and call the ambulance, “oh didn’t like to bother you Doctor, oh no, not during the night” and some of the old ones were so stoical and people who’d had, you know, the most terrible tummy ache or something all night or were obviously in extremis and they wouldn’t ring up till after six in the morning because they didn’t want to worry us in the night’ …….
Listen to the MP3 file “Charlie Wight: accident on milk round” here:
Listen to the MP3 file “Drs Brand: Family Doctors” here:
Several of our interviewees had memories of the Second World War. When some homes had Anderson Shelters in the gardens or families sheltered under the stairs, when Rationing affected everyone at home and many were away fighting. One resident who was at the Church School (now the Youth Club) remembers that all the children had an afternoon sleep at school on stretcher beds so that they could catch up on missed sleep due to the nights spent in the shelter.
Listen to the MP3 file “Charlie Wright and Fred Henry: Wartime in Brading” here:
Listen to the MP3 file “Eileen Morris: Wartime memories” here:
The 58 Oral Histories that we have collected/transcribed as part of the Unlocking Our Vaults project were provided by the following Brading residents:
Rev. Guy ARMSTRONG, Brian ARNOLD, Mrs Margaret ATTRILL, Mrs Lynne ATTWOOD, Gregory BAILEY, Lindsay BAILEY, Mrs Mary BISHOP, Jessie BRIARS, Dr Jane BRAND; Dr Peter BRAND, Mr BUCKETT, Mrs BURBERRY, Mr CHARLESWORTH, Mrs Doris CONNOR, Mrs Jean COOKE, Mrs Phyllis COOPER, Mrs Barbara CREED, Mrs Pat DEACON, Jack HARBOUR, Mrs Beryl HARBOUR, John HARWOOD, Mrs Peggy HILL, Jim HINKS, Mrs Betty HOWELL, Mrs Thelma IRESON, Mrs KINGSWELL, Mrs Joan LEGG, Rev. David LOWE, Mrs Eileen MORRIS, John MUNNS, Mrs MUNNS, Mrs Peggie OGLANDER, George POCOCK, Miss Joan PURSEY, Mrs RAPKINS, Jack ROCK, Mrs Isabel SABAN, Mr W SCOTT, John SHIRLEY, Julie SMITH, Mrs Jessie SQUIB, Angela THOMAS, Nigel THOMAS, Mrs Eve TOOGOOD, Mrs Doreen TOWNSEND, Mrs Netta TROTT, Mrs Doris TUCKER, Mrs Beryl WALLACE (1997), Mrs Beryl WALLACE (2019), Herbie WETHERICK, Dan WHEELER, Keith WHITE, Charlie WRIGHT, Pete WRIGHT, Dave WRIGHT, Angie WRIGHT, Mr YOUNG, Mrs YOUNG.
We hope to put more soundbites of the Oral History interviews on this website in the future.
If you would like to have your (or your older relatives/friends) memories of living in Brading recorded for future generations, please contact us using the email address on the homepage: email@example.com