Methodist Oral Archives

We have two collections at the British Library.

1. C10 Methodist Sound Archive

This collection was born out of concern by the Methodist Church to preserve recorded reminiscences of individual Methodist ministers, lay office holders and ordinary members of extraordinary events within the life of the Methodist Church. It consists mainly of interviews and recordings of church events. The material provides an insight into the history, work and change throughout the church life. The tapes reveal details of missionary work; church conferences; the World Methodist Historical  Society 1983, the Methodist Church Music Society 1981, the Wesley Music Society 1986; the founding of new churches – Camden Town and re-opening of Wesley’s Chapel; services commemorating special events like Thanksgiving, Easter, Cornish Christmas, bazaars, Chalkwell Park Church Jubilee. It includes a large number of tapes entitled “Church Service Series.”

In addition, the collection covers radio broadcasts; church music in communion settings and choir performances e.g. Charles Wesley hymns at the Royal Albert Hall; hymn singing; church sermons by Dr. Soper;the role of the Salvation Army as told by General Booth; speeches of Lord Soper at Hyde Park Corner and Tower Hill and the film soundtrack of “Mr Speaker.” 

There are 1463 items in this collection, we currently do not have an index.

2. C640 Methodist Church Oral Archive

This is a series of oral history interviews with former and current missionaries of the Methodist Church’s Overseas Division (formerly know as the Methodist Missionary Society). A sequence of 145 interviews (with some gaps) were deposited by 1998, covering missionary activity in many parts of the world including India, Ceylon, Africa, China and the West Indies. Full typescript content summaries have also been deposited. Copies are also held at the School of Oriental and African Studies.

The British Library Sound & Moving Image Catalogue can be searched here

Go to the advanced search and select title, then type in Methodist Sound Archive, you will see all 1463 entries in C10. Alternatively, also add a name in the “name” box, e.g. Soper and you will get all recordings for Lord Soper.

For C640, in title type Methodist Church Oral Archive and a name from this list:-


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