The oral history Listening Bench situated near to the Saffron Walden Museum entrance has been operational since July 2016. In the first 9 months the two audio channel buttons were pressed over 5,700 times which works out at around 630 times per month.
The Listening Bench was installed by Essex Record Office (ERO) and the oral history recordings were edited by the Saffron Walden Initiative. John Ready from the Initiative said: “SWI and the ERO are delighted by the positive response of local residents and visitors to this innovative way of bringing the oral history of our town to life through modern technology and story-telling of real quality.”
The voices on the channel devoted to memories of Castle Street from around the middle of the last century are: Janet Bright, Maggie Gypps, Kenneth Osborne, Chris Pledger, Ron Butcher, William Clark and Albert Bacon. The voices on the channel devoted to Saffron Walden Town Centre memories from the same period are: Bruce Munro, Maggie Gypps and Janet Bright.
The ERO project is called You Are Hear and aims to encourage a diverse range of communities to actively engage with the recordings and to help people develop a 'sense of place' and to reflect upon where they live.