‘Up the Manor!’ Project
In 2007 the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) acknowledged the importance of the Eton Manor Boys’ Club to the sporting and social heritage of an area undergoing dramatic change caused by the 2012 Olympics. HLF awarded us a grant of £50,000 to create a permanent oral history of the Club. Forty-one oral history interviews were recorded, transcribed in full and deposited in the Eton Manor archive at the Bishopsgate Institute in London.
This inter-generational oral history project brought together ‘old’ and ‘new’ East London. A mixed-ability group of Year 10 boys from George Mitchell School in Leyton were active participants in ‘Up the Manor!’ (filming and recording some of the interviews, taking part in many special project activities and hosting a visit by Old Boys to the School).
- A 52-page project booklet was produced, which tells the story of Eton Manor through extracts from the oral history interviews and photographs from the archives.
- A teachers’ resources pack offering practical guidance to others intending to use oral history in the classroom is also available.
Please use the order form if you’d like a copy of either publication.
‘Up the Manor!’ kicked off in grand style in September 2007 with a launch event at the Bishopsgate Institute. Around 140 invited guests assembled in the Institute’s Great Hall to enjoy a display of material from the Eton Manor archive, a lecture on the history of the Eton Manor Clubs and an extended question and answer session with a group of Eton Manorites. The project ended in July 2008 with a Grand Finale in the Great Hall, attended by a similar number of guests, who enjoyed watching the premiere of the project DVD.
A highlight of the project was the exhibition at Vestry House Museum in Walthamstow, which was viewed by over a thousand visitors from afar afield as Canada and South Africa. The positive comments in the visitors’ book paid moving testimony to the profound impact the Club had on the lives of its members
“A fantastic exhibition, it brought back many happy memories.”
The exhibition was not only of interest to Eton Manor Old Boys – other visitors were equally enthusiastic:
“It’s nice to know that a record of a wonderful club will be maintained forever.”
“Everywhere in the world should have clubs like this. It could save the world!”
“Simply breathtaking. Social history at its very best.“
You can follow the progress of the project by reading the articles in the project newsletters below, which include details of the many project activities involving the students and the Eton Manor Old Boys:
‘Up the Manor’ Project Newsletter:
- Read the Project Leader’s Report of the George Mitchell School’s residential training weekend at Villiers Park, and
- Terry ‘Tosher’ Bell’s report on Wiggy Wilson’s Walkaboutt around Hackney Wick
Please take a look at the Eton Manor Boys’ Club pages to learn more about the history of the Club and to hear a few sound clips about the annual Summer Camps taken from the oral history interviews.
Such was the impact of taking part in the ‘Up the Manor’ project, that some of the students from the George Mitchell School developed a project of their own: The Adventurers History Club, which continues to organise monthly visits to historic sites in and around London.