Local Memories

Several years ago, some of the older people of Thame were invited to record their memories and these were compiled into a series of fascinating recordings by Thame Museum volunteers.  You can listen to some of them on the links below. They contain significant insights into Thame’s more recent past – told by the people who experienced the times. Over 40 people were interviewed, some were in their nineties when the recordings were made.  Sadly several of these people have since died, but their memories can still be listened to and appreciated.

In the recordings you will hear about

  • the type of shops in Thame in the 1940s and 1950s
  • the stationing of American soldiers in Thame during WW2
  • the changes brought about through Local Government and Planning which changed the character of the town.
  • the thoughts and experiences of several teachers at Lord Williams’s School during the transition from a Grammar School to a Comprehensive School and the end of boarding.

The memories are local but they are set in a time of national upheaval and uncertainty. The recordings make up a valuable historical archive and give a voice to the people of Thame in the post war period.

When you next visit the Museum you will see a number of push-button Audiopoint stations in the main gallery,  allowing you to play the clips aloud.

Some of these original recordings often last over an hour in total, however we have published some short extracts from 16 of these local residents here, in order to provide a flavour of the oral history programme.

Just click on the name of the person to find out more about them and to hear their story in their own words.


Marilyn Airstone : Granny lived in the Buttermarket

Mr Barton : Soldier and Fireman

Mrs Campoli : A story of loss and survival in WWI

Mrs Clarke : No 1, Park Terrace – Easter 1936

Mr Cook : Born in Benson and moved to Thame in 1933

Mr Crowdy : Thame – a small town where you knew everyone

Mrs Gillard : From Dulwich to Thame – a girl’s journey

Mr Hussey : A wool stapler

Mr Lazenby : A woodworker from Wakefield

Dr Markus : A new Health Centre for Thame

Ray & Phil Shewry : A new house in Thame

Mr Staggs :  Railway sabotage in WWII

Mr Telford : A South Shields Grammar School boy from the mines

Sgnt Tildesley : The Town Sergeant

Mr Wiggs : Local Magistrate

Wright’s Bakery

There are now plans to extend the scope of testimonies and give a voice to Thame people in the 1970s and 1980s and beyond.

If you are interested in joining the newly formed Oral History Group please contact: collections@thamemuseum.org