The Oral History Unit & Collective at Newcastle University was launched in January 2018. Working across diverse academic disciplines, from creative arts to medicine, and in partnership with local history groups and community historians, our work explores the role of oral history in communicating the past in the present.
Through our "Work and After" research theme, we uncovered a wealth of local history projects about shipbuilding, which share information online but through multiple small resources which are not always easy to locate. This website aims to bring that wealth of projects and resources together in an easily accessible, interactive site.
We Made Ships was designed in consultation with secondary teaching staff, in response to current curriculum demands and learning styles, in order to make it as useful in real terms to schools as possible. It is designed to be of use for students, teachers and local historians. As we conduct more oral history interviews with former shipyard workers and local shipbuilding communities, we will add them to the site, and we invite you to join us in building up the archive of this important history.
The name of this site is taken from a book and film by Tom Pickard, We Make Ships, which he produced after a writing residency at the Austin & Pickersgill shipyard in Sunderland in 1987/8.