Why Oral History

Uncovering & preserving valuable accounts

Over 50 dedicated volunteers helped create this exhibition, capturing stories of the Irish community in Britain through oral history. This ‘history from below’ involves recording personal narratives in individuals’ own words, providing a vital perspective often overlooked in traditional histories.

Oral history helps uncover and preserve valuable accounts from marginalised groups that may otherwise vanish due to the lack of written records.

Many Irish immigrants who settled in Britain since 1973 are now elderly, risking the loss of their migration memories. We share their voices to ensure their legacies endure.

Students enrolling on the Irish Studies short course, Polytechnic of North London, 1987.
© Archive of the Irish in Britain, London Metropolitan University

Sensitive Topics

As with all human stories, these memories contain sadness as well as joy. Some difficult memories have been locked away as the interviewee wanted them recorded for history but not shared right now.

Other memories you might hear during the exhibition may contain sensitive topics such as discussions related to abortion, adoption, loss of a loved one, displacement and other personal experiences.

If you or someone you know may be affected by these topics, please consider your emotional wellbeing before proceeding. icap operate a free confidential helpline, open to all the Irish community in Britain on: 020 7272 7906 or clinicaladmin@icap.org.uk