Volunteering as an oral historian.

Barbara Walker: born and bred in Bradford and very proud of my home city.

After leaving school I trained as a nursery nurse at Bradford College and have come full circle, now working there as a casual examination invigilator, having taken voluntary redundancy from my ‘proper job’ almost 20 years ago.

My interests are leading walks for several different groups including Bradford Council, gardening, cycling along towpaths and cycleways, theatre and going out for lunch.

My family has always had a keen interest in our forebears with many tales passed down orally through the generations. I feel oral history is extremely valuable for keeping the past alive so I jumped at the chance of taking part in this project. I have already found a teacher willing to be interviewed after seeing a post of mine on FaceBook.

 Barbara went to visit Lesley Wood a 72 year old retired teacher.

I found Lesley through something I put up on FaceBook, she must have seen it and responded, which is very puzzling as why would she see something when we’re not friends? FaceBook is a mystery to me…

And then there was quite a delay before we could meet, I had a new kitchen fitted, there was the referendum, my own work: invigilating and then she didn’t get back to me for ages…eventually I texted her and she said there had been a family emergency. We arranged a time when her husband was absent and I made sure she didn’t have a dog. I don’t do dogs.

Then I changed my mind, around the I.T mostly, not around talking to somebody, I find things like that very difficult…the IT, I’d just had to learn to use a new hob, a new phone and it all seemed like too much new I.T! But with a bit more training I decided to try it …I was still anxious about it, but went along…

During the interview, I wanted to make sure it was recording and didn’t want to record over what we’d done, so I stopped the machine to check it and then wasn’t sure it was on at all…and when I listened back to it, it sounded really slow like sssllllooowww. Then I didn’t know how to switch it off so I just let the batteries run out! However, it seems to have recorded OK and I feel better, I enjoyed the experience of doing it…

I liked the way Lesley talked about the process of bussing, she hadn’t met any parents – she’d never thought about that…I liked the way she responded to the situation. She was sympathethic. Didn’t think it was good and said it ended because of finance…

You can hear a clip from the Lesley Wood interview on SoundCloud and in the audio section of this website.