A group of young people in Birmingham is looking for local people with memories of New Street Station, to be interviewed for an ‘Oral History’ project.
The current redevelopment of the station is transforming the city centre. Midland Actors Theatre has received a grant of £21,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a ‘Young Roots’ project on the history of the station. Some 120 young people from different parts of the city will take part; and the whole project will culminate in the autumn, in a major exhibition, to be held on the concourse of the station itself.
New Street Station was first opened in 1854. At the time, it had the largest iron and glass roof in the world. Timika Reid, a pupil at North Birmingham Academy, who is taking part in the project, observes: ‘We first became interested in the history of New Street, when we learned that a prison and a synagogue were demolished to make way for the station. We started to think about the impact that the station has had over the years – and the way it has changed people’s lives.
‘We really want to hear from people who have got memories to share with us about the station! Perhaps you remember what it was like in the days before it was rebuilt in the 1960s? Or you remember the station in the Blitz…? Or going on holiday by train to Blackpool in the 1950s…? If you have a story to tell, please get in touch! All the interviews we do will be recorded and preserved for posterity in Local Studies archive in the Library of Birmingham.’
Reyahn King, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands, said: ‘This project, funded through our Young Roots programme, is an excellent way of preserving Birmingham’s memories and stories about the station, while engaging young people in local history and helping them to develop new skills.’
Steve Lewis, Birmingham New Street Station Manager for Network Rail said: ‘New Street Station has a fascinating history for the young people to explore and once the project is completed the station will have an even more exciting future. The new station we are building now will have an even greater impact while opening up the city and acting as a catalyst for regeneration.’
Do you have memories to share about New Street Station? Please contact MAT on 0121 608 7144, or at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Historic photographs of New Street Station can be found here: