Radio Horton teams up with Banbury Canal oral history project

The Oxford Canal at Tooley's Boatyard near Banbury

North Oxfordshire’s Radio Horton has joined forces with Banbury Canal CIC to assist in seeking oral histories of the Oxford Canal in Banbury.

Banbury Canal CIC was established by three local women boaters, and the project, which received funding from the National Lottery, aims to celebrate the heritage of the canal. The group is in the process of collecting oral histories and is asking members of the community to record their recollections and memories or experiences of the canal.

Once forming a gateway to trade and industry between London and the Midlands in the eighteenth century and during the industrial revolution, today, the canal is enjoyed by both narrowboat owners and holidaymakers, whilst its towpaths and surrounding picturesque villages and towns are popular amongst locals and tourists alike.  

Radio Horton is currently working alongside several local care homes and is calling on families of residents and the local community, who may be interested in recording conversations with their relatives about their memories and stories of the canal, with a view to contributing these to the project. 

Kate Saffin speaks to Radio Horton’s Sam Smette about the project:

Trustee and Care Home Coordinator, Margaret Godel comments: “We approached the Banbury Canal CIC group after hearing about their exciting project, to capture the history of the canal.”

“There is a mutual benefit to both Radio Horton and the Banbury Canal CIC in that Radio Horton hopes to use some of the oral histories in its programming. Radio Horton’s unique focus on health and well-being programming caters for a variety of audiences.”

“By collecting and broadcasting people’s memories of the Banbury Canal, we hope to encourage a personal response from our listeners, in particular, patients in the Horton General Hospital, and residents in the local care homes.”

“We look forward to working with Banbury Canal CIC on this exciting oral history project to record and preserve memories of a Banbury that is changing for ever as new developments spring up around the canal and the town.”

A group of Radio Horton volunteers will work alongside the Banbury Canal CIC in collating and recording the oral histories. They have already received training from BBC Journalist and oral history specialist, Julia Letts.

Kate Saffin, Director of the Banbury Canal CIC, said: “We have been wanting to capture some of these stories for ages, so to get National Lottery funding, and then to be working with Radio Horton is such a help.”

“We know there are amazing stories out there, so we’re looking for local residents who would like to add their memories of the canal in Banbury to the project. We’d like to hear about playing around the canal or the town centre as a child. Your memories of walking or fishing on the towpath, or seeing the working boats pass through the town. Maybe you took a few risks on the ice!  Maybe you could talk to your mum, dad, grandparent, neighbour about their memories of the Canal and the town.”

If you, or anyone you know, including relatives or friends residing in a local care home, has a story, experience, or memory from the Canal to share, and would like to participate, please contact Kate or Sarah via email, or join the Facebook Group.

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