Archives of the Birmingham Black Oral History Project

Scope and Content

Listening cassettes and transcripts of interviews, of elderly black immigrants to Birmingham; with video and photographs of interviewees.

Administrative / Biographical History

The project aimed at "putting the record straight". It was founded in 1990 by a charitable donation "to collect, preserve and disseminate the spoken history of Birmingham's black population". It has collected (on tape) a modest amount of material comprising life stories and reminiscences of elderly black immigrants to Birmingham. They include grassroots experiences on arrival in Britain, first impressions, experiences of racism, reactions to cultural and social differences, and religious experiences, especially the unwelcome reception of Afro-Caribbeans in mainstream churches in this country. Between 1990-92, 25 people were interviewed by the Project staff, the interviews were structured, following a set questionnaire, and were recorded on tape.

Reference: Archives of the Birmingham Black Oral History Project

Material collected by the project (including audio and video) is now accessible on the Web at

Access Information

Open. Access to all bona fide researchers. All papers held at the Orchard Learning Resources Centre will be viewed at the Birmingham University Information Services, Special Collections Department. Please contact the University Archivist for further information.

Acquisition Information

The archive of the Birmingham Black Oral History Project was deposited in the Orchard Learning Resources Centre in September 1999

Other Finding Aids

Please see the full catalogue for further details

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Custodial History

Following the merger of the Selly Oak Colleges and the University of Birmingham in 1999 the custodial ownership of collections belonging to the Selly Oak Colleges and held at the Orchard Learning and Resource Centre (OLRC) was transferred to the University. These collections now form part of the University's Special Collections Department and are available for consultation at the Main Library on the University's Edgbaston Campus.

Location of Originals

The originals of the tape recordings are deposited in Birmingham City Sound Archive, housed in the City Museum and Art Gallery.


In 1992 an illustrated booklet and two tapes entitled The Land of Money was produced which can be purchased from the OLRC and Soho House . A 4-panel display-board of photographs is housed in Soho House in semi-permanent exhibition.