The Oral History Project
Oral history is the recording of people’s memories. It is the living history of unique life experiences and is a vital tool for understanding the past. It enables people who have been hidden from history to be heard in their own words, and for those interested in their past to gain an understanding of what life was like for them and their families.
While much written material exists for historians to analyse the work and role of the men and women of the Royal Ulster Constabulary first hand oral accounts from those who served at all levels are relatively rare. It is essential, therefore that a comprehensive oral history archive of first hand recollections of all aspects of policing Northern Ireland in recent times is compiled and made available to as wide an audience as possible. The material collected is available, subject to agreed conditions, for bona fide research, writing and analysis.
The process for collection of the oral history of the Royal Ulster Constabulary has been developed with the assistance of professional archivists and academics. All of the interviewers are former police officers and each interview is recorded, digitally stored, transcribed and catalogued. The Project was commenced in 2006 and to date some 350 interviews have been captured.
A computerised archival system has been developed which provides access to the interviews using a key word search which allows both the voice recording and the subsequent transcript to be accessed for research or other purposes.
Access to the archive can be arranged by contacting the Foundation Office.
The Foundation is a member of both the Oral History Society and the Oral History Network of Ireland.