Oral History Archive
This archive is a unique collection of recordings which document the lives of individuals who have lived in or been responsible for the upkeep of the Abbey Lawn Cottages over the past few decades.
Recording began in 2010, as part of a project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to interpret the history of Number 45, better known as The Merchant’s House.
The Abbey Lawn Cottages are a unique row of 15th century timber framed buildings which have provided living accommodation and business premises for Tewkesbury residents since they were first built in c. 1480.
With wonderful tales to tell, some hilarious, some poignant but all captivating, this archive has captured living voices from the present for future generations.
To make it easier for you to access our recordings, we have grouped them into two categories which look at life in the row before and after the restoration in the late 1960s.
Life before the restoration
In the 1940s, the Abbey Lawn Cottages boasted an enviable sense of community spirit. Listening to the stories of former residents from this era allows you a rare glimpse into the lives of ordinary people growing up in an extraordinary row of buildings. You can listen to these recordings by clicking the orange arrows below.
1. Barbara & Peter Wagstaff - 46 Church Street
2. David Wathen - 47 Church Street
3. Roger & Peter Packwood - 41 Church Street
4. Elizabeth (Betty) Harvey - 50 Church Street
(NB – ‘Brown’s House’ which Betty refers to early in the interview, originally stood in the Crescent, at the end of the row of medieval cottages. It was demolished around the time that the cottages were restored)
The 1970s onwards
How were the cottages saved from demolition? What is it like to live in such a historic row of buildings today? Listen to skilled restorers and members of the Abbey Lawn Trust talk about their roles in the management and upkeep of the cottages. Find out from our current residents what it is like to live here today. COMING SOON View photographs of the restoration in our online gallery Soundbytes from this archive are also available on our audio guides when you visit the Merchant’s House.