"When's we was all threshing together we was always happy."
December 17, 2010 5:33 AM   Subscribe

The George Ewart Evans collection of oral interviews on rural English life. 250 recordings of interviews and songs made by oral history pioneer George Ewart Evans between 1956 and 1977, many in Suffolk, with a smaller number in Wales, Ireland and Scotland. Reginal Hoskins the thresher, Annie Cable the kitchen maid, Baron Rhodes of Saddleworth. They're all pretty fascinating.
posted by OmieWise (6 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I can't find a way to browse by topic, which would be great.
posted by OmieWise at 5:33 AM on December 17, 2010

This is fantastic! Thanks! Another fantastic resource on rural Suffolk/English life in the mid-20th century would be Ronald Blythe's wonderful book Akenfield.
posted by honest knave at 5:36 AM on December 17, 2010

Also, the person who collected these recordings, George Ewart Evans lived for some time in Sawston, just a few miles down the road from where I live.

More information about his life work can be found at the George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling, at the University of Glamorgan.
posted by honest knave at 5:40 AM on December 17, 2010

And did those feet in ancient time.
Walk upon Englands mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!

And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In Englands green & pleasant Land

-- William Blake from the preface to Milton a Poem.
posted by exogenous at 6:28 AM on December 17, 2010

Thanks for this - Evans' books (bibliography here) are well worth checking out if you're interested in British folk culture, rural life, agricultural history, or the persistence of very, very ancient ideas in modern life. Some of them have recently come back into print as part of the Faber Finds series, including his memoir Spoken History, and the spooky, impressively researched Horse Power and Magic. His collaboration with David Thomson, The Leaping Hare is one of the most interesting books that I read last year.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:42 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

James Ravilious - son of the great war artist Eric - compiled a photographic archive of rural life in Devon during a similar period. This is my particular favourite.
posted by johnny novak at 11:59 AM on December 17, 2010

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