Readers’ Voices – the Original Set

What Did You Read, Sheffield?

This is the first of Reading Sheffield’s projects and was initially funded by Sheffield Town Trust, the oldest of the local charities. Called ‘What Did You Read, Sheffield?’ the key aim was to explore the context of readers’ experiences during the 1940’s and 50’s.

Training the Team Over a span of two years twelve Reading Sheffield volunteers trained by Clare Jenkins and Steve Kelly interviewed and recorded sixty two readers. At the time of recording the majority of readers were over 70 years of age and had been resident in Sheffield during the 1940s and ’50s. Key areas of enquiry were how the reading habit was formed, what was read and identification of the main source of reading material.

Recruiting : How did we find our readers? We were introduced to our first group by the Sheffield Library Service to the Housebound. We gave talks to anyone who invited us, including Wadsley Slightly Sprightly Club, The Meeting Place at Greenhill, Manor Reading Group and Ranmoor Lunch Club. Wath on Deane Church Lads and Lassies Brigades agreed to process our CRB forms at a helpfully low rate.

Transcribing :  Sheffield Hallam University paid for nine students to transcribe the first set of interviews. From then onwards transcribing has been done by ourselves or by volunteers recruited at public talks across Sheffield.

Recordings : The archival quality audio recordings have been deposited with Sheffield Archives.

Recording and transcript:

Sir Norman Adsetts

Jean A

Gillian Applegate

Anne B

Alan B

Edna B

Peter B

Julia Banks

Yvonne Bland

Elsie Brownlee

Frank Burgin

Joan C

Margaret C

Florence Cowood

Pat Cymbal

John D

Madeleine Doherty

Sheila Edwards

Shirley Ellins

Chris F

David Flather


Doreen Gill

Margaret G

Judith G

Barbara Green

James Green

Eva G

Irene H

Josie Hall

Jean H

Dorothy H

Hazel H

Margaret H

Noel H

Adele J

Erica Jeremiah

Maureen Lambert

Dorothy Latham

Winnie Lincoln

Ted L

Christine M

Peter Mason

Kath and Ken M

Malcolm and Jean Mercer

Betty Newman

Dorothy Norbury

Betty R

Mary Robertson

Mary S

Joan T



Bob and Carolyn W

Jocelyn Wilson

Wynne W

Jean Wolfendale

Margaret and John