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The People’s History of Thetford Forest

Updated 21st June 2019

Oral History Project

Thetford Forest’s first trees were planted in the 1920’s to increase and sustain the nation’s dwindling supply of timber resource after the First World War. Today it is the largest lowland man made forest and largest land use change in England. The initial early planting and timber management was undertaken by hundreds of hard working individuals by hand. This project recorded the first hand experiences and accounts of the ageing forest workers who were part of this feat. Volunteers were trained in oral history recording and archiving by the Norfolk Records Office and staff at Forestry England. The interviews they carried out with the forest workers, their wives and members of the community can be listened to on Sound Cloud or by clicking on the names below.

Planting trailer in Thetford Forest

The project was a part of Breaking New Ground, a Heritage Lottery funded Landscape Partnership initiative.  We would like to thank all the volunteers and interviewees who took part in the project for the fantastic legacy they have created.

Michael Adams

Phylis Adams

Robert Alderidge

David Bacon

Trevor Banham

William Barbor

Betty Belton

Betty and Graham Belton

Jack Calver 1

Jack Calver 2

Thetford historic, man pushing logs

David Collinson

Martin Fletcher

Barry and Joan Griggs 1

Barry and Joan Griggs 2

Muriel Hill

Janet and John Bowes

Bunny Huns

Andrew Kedar

Mike Kew

Peter Ladell

Norman McCreath

Thetford history, tractor pulling log

Allan MacKenzie

Simon Mallone

Val Marsh

George Marshall

Brian Roebuck

Ronald Rule

Roy Taylor

Jack Traube

Ray Whitta

William Turner 1

William Turner 2