Within the first few weeks of starting the Brierley Hillness project, we met most of the people who wanted to share their memories and knowledge of the area. These people were mainly involved with local history groups.
After a Remembering Round Oak evening event some former workers at the steel works also brought in photos and stories. A tip off from a grandson led us to invite a partcipant to Artspace to talk about Brierley Hill’s historic fire brickwork industry.
People contributed newspaper cuttings, internet research, lists of former industrial businesses, old family and work photos, and images of types of industrial machinery.
Here are some transcripts from audio recordings we collected:
“The enjoyable part of working at Round Oak was that people were a part of a family. We all knew each other. We were all aware of people even if we didn’t know the workman’s name they knew us. They always spoke to us. I never knew anybody who was unhappy there looking back.”
June Bowen, former worker at Round Oak Steel Works. (Reminiscence session)
“Rumble of furnaces, hissing of the trains, bells of the trains, the crackings and banging of the scrap being loaded. Smell mainly of burning that was one of the things you could always smell.”
Michael Minton, former worker at Round Oak Steel Works. (Reminiscence session)
For more on memories…
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