Ampersand Projects working in Old Warley, Oldbury

19th century map of Old Warley


Ampersand Projects and Stephen Burke are working with Living Memory to deliver a micro project about local people’s life stories and memories connected to their photography collections in the Old Warley area of Oldbury/Smethwick.

Stephen has been busy conducting a series of oral histories recordings with a number of residents and scanning photographs from their personal archives. Stephen is also exploring the creating some new photographic work of the residents and landscape of the area.

The working title for the project 'The Glory Hills' which is a reference to a conversation with a resident who said the area was once known as The Glory Hills. More research needs to be done to confirm this but it paints a romantic idyllic vision of the areas past, which could be an interesting area to explore.

Stephen is working with Ampersand Projects to create a new exhibition and sharing event at Bleakhouse Library in April/May 2019. More details to follow.

Hill Top Road School c.1918, Photo used courtesy of Terry Beck


If you have any stories and photos you want to share from around Old Warley, or simply know more about this part of the project you can contact Stephen here or leave a message on 07850 176567.

Queens Jubilee 1977, Farm Rd, Langley. Photo courtesy Emma Moore.
Queen's Jubilee 1977, Farm Rd, Langley. Photo Courtesy Emma Moore
Queen's Jubilee 1977, Farm Rd, Langley. Photo courtesy Emma Moore

Real Life Stories at Wolverhampton Literature Festival 2019

Louise Palfreyman introduces the Real Life Stories session at Wolverhampton Literature Festival


Louise Palfreyman from Arts Foundry has been working with us over the last few months developing the Real Life Stories project. She has been working with developing and established writers across the Black Country to produce creative writings in response to their own photography collections. She has been working with established writing groups including Oldbury and Blackheath and as well as individuals who have gotten in touch through our website.

Our first public event as part of the Real Life Stories project saw the showcase of newly developed work at this year’s Wolverhampton Literature Festival on 2 February 2019.
Eight participants performed their new work alongside projected images to a full house in the Wolverhampton Museum and Art Gallery.  

You can see photographs of the day below.

We have previewed two of the stories on our website including Bilston-Sur-Mer by Ros Woolner and Dad’s Car by Kuli Kohli to give you a taste of some of the work that is being produced.

Louise is now mid-way through the Real Life Stories project and we are planning another sharing public session in Wolverhampton in May 2019. We will also be publishing all the new stories on our website and feature some of them in the up-coming Living Memory book due to be published in December 2019.

Louise said about working on Real Life Stories —  "It's been a real pleasure meeting so many Black Country writers over the past couple of months, and there are some fantastic pieces of writing emerging. We have stories from all walks of life, and some of them made me laugh while others made me cry. There are stories of belonging, and not belonging; memories of family life and the working day; stories from the post-war era right through to modern times. Our writers span different generations, ethnicities and backgrounds to weave a truly diverse tapestry of tales."

If you would like to get involved with the Real Life Stories project you can either submit your own story online here, or get in touch with Louise directly and find out when the next workshop takes place.

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