Working Lives


Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards

Søren Kierkegaard

WISEArchive believes that people both retired and still at work have made an important contribution to society in the course of their working lives and are a valuable source of knowledge and experience which should be recorded and preserved for future generations.

The second half of the twentieth century was a period of increasingly rapid change in the workplace. Employees and management had to adapt as new skills and ideas, new technologies, new health and safety legislation and much more were implemented. Unions became stronger and some established working practices and jobs became obsolete. The workplace continues to see much change as we progress through the twenty-first century.

This archive aims to preserve stories of working lives, mainly in Norfolk, using transcribed recordings. Most of the stories have been edited, but the words are those of the contributors, as are the opinions. The archive is constantly expanding with all work carried out by volunteers. 

If you have worked in Norfolk and would like to record your recollections for future generations we would be delighted to hear from you. We record both individual stories and stories for specific projects.

Browse our extensive archive to learn more about this rich history or search for specific occupations as you choose. For our latest activities look at our News page.

Our project at the RAF Air Defence Radar Museum at Neatishead is almost complete. The museum has the country’s only original cold war operations room. We have recorded the stories of people who worked there during the cold war and after, many of whom currently volunteer at the museum. See the News page.

WISEArchive is collaborating with the Norwich museums on their ‘Norwich Works Collecting Day’, invited people to share their experiences of Norwich industry with curators and librarians. The information we collected will enrich our understanding of this important part of Norwich’s history and will be shared with audiences to bring this history alive. The event took place on Friday 22nd March at the Norwich Millennium Library, The Forum.  Members of WISEArchive were there to record memories of work at Edwards & Holmes; Boulton & Paul and Mackintosh-Caley. For more information, please visit our News  page.
Want to volunteer with us? Meet us at an event in Norwich on June 7th 2024. Find out more in News.
WISEArchive published a booklet about Mutton’s Mill and Halvergate Marshes in April 2024, as part of the Water, Mills and Marshes project.
Visit our  Projects and  News pages for more information, including how to buy a copy. 


WISEArchive’s book based on the Water, Mills & Marshes stories is available now.   See  Projects and News.


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See WISEArchive on Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyspG242ufw