Sound archive project to tell the story of black history in Three Rivers

29th September 2021


The first comprehensive oral history of the experiences of black people visiting, living and working in Three Rivers is being launched as part of events to mark Black History Month 2021.

Three Rivers Museum, in Rickmansworth, is working in collaboration with Three Rivers District Council on the long term oral history project to document the local history of black people.

From 1 October the museum is inviting people to tell and record their experiences with the aim of creating a comprehensive sound archive of individual stories.

Those who volunteer to be part of the project will be asked to give accounts of their experiences living and working in the district. The project will continue over the coming year to culminate in Black History Month 2022, when it is hoped the sound archive can be publicly shared.

Fabian Hiscock, chair of Three Rivers Museum, said: “We have a well-recorded view of the history of our district, but we also know that there are other views affecting people of many different backgrounds. The experiences of black people - our neighbours and friends, so often hidden - are very important. We’re delighted to be able to take part in this important project.”

Black History Month takes place in October every year and is an annual commemoration of the history, achievements and contributions of black people in the UK. People from many different backgrounds come together during this month to share, celebrate and understand the impact of black heritage and culture.

Cllr Sarah Nelmes, the Leader of Three Rivers Council, said: “The theme of Black History Month 2021 is Proud to Be, with the aim of encouraging black people of all ages to tell their stories. Across Three Rivers we want those stories to be told, and the museum’s oral history project is a very positive step towards helping ensure individual histories and experiences are both documented and made more widely known.”

bv7i6449.jpgOther events in Three Rivers to celebrate Black History Month include two free film screenings at Watersmeet Theatre, in Rickmansworth. The 2016 biographical drama film Hidden Figures, directed by Theodore Melfi, will be screened on 8 October. The film tells the story of a team of female African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S space story.

On 15 October superhero film Black Panther, from 2018, tells the story of T'Challa, the heir of Wakanda, who must take up the mantle of the Black Panther left behind by his father.

Meanwhile, from 1 October Rickmansworth Library will feature a display of fiction and non-fiction books with stories focusing on black figures, as well as a display of children’s books embracing diversity.

Photo, from left to right: Les Mead, Vice-Chairman, Three Rivers Museum; Cllr Sarah Nelmes, Leader, Three Rivers District Council; Fabian Hiscock, Chairman, Three Rivers Museum.