Memories will come alive in new book
A group of Pulham Market volunteers is launching a book of living history featuring community memories that have been collated over 30 years.
The book, called Memories Of Pulham Market, features reminiscences reaching back over the last century, which have been collected on tape since the early 1980s by local farmer Peter Blackburn.
Brian Carr, chairman of the Pulham Market Society, which has edited and printed the book, said it had taken about 2,000 hours of work, two thirds of which were carried out by volunteers, to transcribe and condense 104 audio tapes containing 70 hours of memories into the 200-page book.
The book project was initiated in 2002 by society member Jocelyn Rawlence, who knew the tapes had been made and felt they should be preserved for posterity as part of the village record.
The Pulham Market Society applied for and received a National Lottery Local Heritage Initiative Grant to get the project off the ground and now, after months of work by its members to get the tapes copied and professionally transcribed and to write the book, it has been printed and is ready for distribution.
More than 70 interviews were featured in the tapes and chapters cover subjects such as Early Days, School Days, Work, Farming and Social Life.
Mr Carr said there were one or two amusing hiccups during the transcription process when the two transcribers, who were based in Essex, couldn't understand the Norfolk dialect of some of the speakers.
Mr Blackburn, who made the original recordings, said he first started taping members of his family for his own interest and then began talking to other older residents because he felt life was changing so quickly and history was fast disappearing.
Mr Blackburn said a lot of the people he interviewed are now dead.
"I do feel it is important to encourage people to put their life history down as these memories are so valuable for families," he said.
"I never envisaged a book when I started the recordings, but I think it is wonderful. My only regret is that we had to leave so much out. I would love everybody to see everything that was transcribed."
Mr Blackburn said he thought there was still a lot of material that could be collected, especially people's war memories and the experiences of local servicemen who served overseas.
Pulham Market Society is holding a book launch on Wednesday for those who worked on it and who featured on the tapes and in its pages.
It will then be available to villagers, who can collect a free copy from the Memorial Hall on Thursday and next Friday and Saturday.
Mr Carr said: "Every household in the village who would like a copy can have one and we will also be giving copies to local libraries and schools.
"Pulham Market Society has copies of the tapes on CD which can be accessed and copies are also being kept in the county's Sound Archive at the Norwich Record Office."
The book will also be available for sale from the society at 8.50 per copy. For more information call Brian carr on 01379 676292.
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