Lost Trades of Islington

  • 20
  • Jan

An exciting project to record the memories of people who worked in trades and industries that no longer exist in Islington has now opened at Islington Local Heritage Centre.

‘Lost Trades of Islington’ is a Heritage Lottery Funded project by Age UK Islington, London Metropolitan University and Islington Heritage Service.

It looks back at Islington during the 20th century when there were lots of factories and workshops producing a variety of goods were located throughout the borough. These workplaces provided a livelihood for many Islington residents, and the work itself was often highly skilled and labour intensive.

In 2018, it is hard to find much evidence of many of these workplaces in the borough. So, to create a record of them, Age UK Islington volunteers worked with London Metropolitan University students to record the stories of 10 people who used to work in some of these ‘lost trades.’

The people who were interviewed worked in a variety of industries and trades, such as coach building, factories producing surgical equipment or chocolates, as well as Beale’s Restaurant and an industrial laundry.

Others worked as a barometer restorer, telephonist, crane driver, leatherworker and graphic tracer. They talked about their lives, sharing stories about the industries they worked in, their working life and living and growing up in Islington.

The oral histories were then used in an outreach programme at Age UK Islington’s Drovers Activity Centre to inspire poetry and photography with their service users.

To celebrate the end of the project Islington Local History Centre is hosting an exhibition about the contributors, their stories and the work they used to do. Examples of the poetry and photographs produced from the outreach programme will be shown alongside some tools of the various trades. The oral histories, transcripts and photographs will be deposited at the Islington Local History Centre for their long term preservation and to allow the public to access them.

The exhibition will run from Friday 23 November 2018 until Saturday 9 February 2019 at the Islington Local History Centre, 245 St John Street, London, EC1V 4NB.

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