Wolverhampton City Archives has been working with residents and partners across the city to document our history.

Funded by the national Archives Testbed Fund, Wolverhampton City Archives has been able to make the city’s oral history collection available online. 

The website, Wolverhampton Voices, built by OrangeLeaf, currently hosts four key collections: the Black and Ethnic Minority Experience project (BEME), the Wolverhampton LGBT History Project, the Way We Are: Women of Wolverhampton (WOW) project, and the “Finding our Funny Roots” collection. 

The aim of the BEME project was to document the experiences of black and ethnic minority communities within Wolverhampton. Over 100 individuals were interviewed and recorded on either video or audio technology.

The LGBT History Project was a film project to record, preserve and share the stories of a wide range of LGBT people in Wolverhampton and the surrounding area, from teenagers to people in their 60s and 70s (who remember a period pre-legalisation), funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The WOW project recorded the changes in women’s lives in Wolverhampton from the 1930s to the 1980s.

Finding Our Funny Roots was led by Creative Black Country and looked at capturing the stories of the Black Country comedians of the past, such as Tommy Mundon and Dolly Allen, and try to determine what makes people in the Black Country laugh.

City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for Visitor City, Councillor Bhupinder Gakhal, said: “The City of Wolverhampton has a diverse community that has been an influential part of the city’s identity over many years.

“Wolverhampton Voices oral history projects have made it possible to capture these voices and memories to see how the city has changed.
“It is allowing us to document history for future generations, who in time will be able to draw on experiences from the people within their family and community.”

The oral history collections are now available on the Wolverhampton Voices oral histories portal, and the longer-term aim is for all the oral history interviews from the collections of Wolverhampton City Archives to be made available for a wider audience.

Some of the transcripts and keywording of the interviews was completed by Archives West Midlands “No Barriers” work placement trainee, Jessica Whitfield.

More information about the exhibition and the events and activities can be seen at Wolverhampton Voices.