The oral history team have recorded stories in factories, people’s homes, gyms and many other locations.
The photos told some wonderful stories and gave me a glimpse of the working and personal lives of ordinary Black Country people. My job was to record some of the voices behind the photos. This has meant travelling around to many homes and work places and recording oral history interviews with some of the people Martin photographed. It has been a privilege. Julia Letts
Each of the sound files has an accompanying image by Martin Parr so you can play the audio and see a glimpse of where it has come from.
A nation of animal lovers
It is said that Britain is a nation of animal lovers. Listen to people from around the Black Country talking about animals and what their pets mean to them.
Jim Beaufoy talks passionately about the history of the breed and his love of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Michelle Owen explains how the image of ferrets has dramatically changed over the past 20 years.
Jim Brookes talks about why ferrets are special.
People talking about their bodies, fashion, how they view themselves and how other people see them.
Mark Smith talks about how long it takes to do his make up and to dress horribly.
Kevin Brown (part 1)
He’s also a world champion discus thrower and has represented Great Britain and Jamaica. Here he explains how it all started.
Kevin Brown (part 2)
Kevin Brown of Isis Gym (Walsall) talks about the inspiration behind Isis gym and where the name came from.
The Black Country is well known for its industrial heritage. Here we listen to the stories of some of the local people still working in these factories.
Tom Sharland’s family has been involved in the leather trade in Walsall for more than 200 years. In its heyday, the family firm was a major employer in the town.
Richard Farrow, Managing Director of Sedgwick’s, explains what happens to a hide when it arrives at the factory to be ‘dressed’.
Wendy Smith is a leather preparer at Launer London in Walsall. She loves the fact that each handbag is personally handmade for each client.