As London prepared to host the 2012 Olympics in East London, the legacy of the Eton Manor Boys' Club to the area's sporting and social heritage was recognised by the Heritage Lottery Fund. In 2007 they awarded us a grant of £50,000 to create a permanent oral history. This is what happened ...
It was a moment of huge celebration. The announcement that London had beaten off Paris in its bid to host the 2012 Olympics. East London was chosen as the location, an area ripe for regeneration and redevelopment.
This was also where the Eton Manor Boys' Club was founded and thrived, bringing sport and leisure opportunities to disadvantaged children living there. Villiers Park Educational Trust was therefore delighted to be awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £50,000 to create a permanent and public record about this important aspect of East London's social history.
The inter-generational oral history project brought together ‘old’ and ‘new’ East London. It kicked off with a launch event for 140 guests at the Bishopsgate Institute's Great Hall, which included a Q&A with a group of Eton Manorites.
A mixed-ability group of Year 10 boys from George Mitchell School in Leyton were active participants in ‘Up the Manor!’. They filmed and recorded some of the interviews, took part in many special project activities, and hosted a visit by Old Boys to their school.
A highlight of the year-long project was an exhibition at Vestry House Museum in Walthamstow. It was viewed by over a thousand visitors from all over the world, including club members.
“A fantastic exhibition, it brought back many happy memories.”
“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.”
In total 41 oral history interviews were recorded, transcribed in full and deposited in the Eton Manor archive at the Bishopsgate Institute in London. 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. There is also a teachers' resource pack offering practical guidance to others intending to use oral history in the classroom.
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