Hamsterley Forest in the 1930s – Can you help

TreesRosie Bristowe of Testimony Films writes:
“I hope you don’t mind me contacting you out of the blue. I am a researcher for an award winning documentary film company, Testimony Films.  I understand that during the 1930s, Hamsterley Forest was planted and tracks were built by unemployed men supplied through the Ministry of Labour. I am trying to find people involved in that scheme and hear their memories, I appreciate they will be very old by now.

(We are currently developing an idea for Channel 4 about the unemployment schemes that started in the 1930s. The documentary would focus on the imaginative and ambitious schemes that created a new life for jobless, impoverished families. We would look at schemes such as The Land Settlement Scheme, Assisted Passages to Commonwealth Countries and Youth Forestry Commission.)

If you can forward this message on to any one you think might be able to help, or make any other suggestions on how I might be able to conduct this search I would be ever so grateful. Best wishes and I very much look forward to hearing from you.”

Rosie Rosie Bristowe, Testimony Films | 12 Great George St | Bristol | BS1 5RH T: +44 (0) 117 925 8589 F: +44 (0) 117 925 7668 E: rosie.bristowe@testimonyfilms.com W: www.testimonyfilms.com.

TESTIMONY FILMS Testimony Films is one of Britain’s leading documentary film companies specialising in social history and run by noted historian Dr Steve Humphries. All of our films are based on oral history – interviews with men and women talking about their personal experiences of historic events. In our fifteen year history, we have made over one hundred critically acclaimed documentaries for national and international broadcasters including the multi award-winning “Sex in a Cold Climate” (Channel 4) – which was made into the feature film “The Magdalene Sisters” and was voted one of the top ten documentaries to change the world due to its exposure of the abuse suffered by young women in Irish institutions, Veterans: Survivors of the Great War (BBC1) – which recorded the memories of the last surviving veterans of WWI, and “7/7: Angels of Edgware Road” (Channel 4) – which recorded the memories of survivors of the 2005 London terrorist attacks and won the Royal Television Society Best Education Award. Since 2001, we have made number of award winning films about 9/11 based on survivor testimony for The History Channel (US), National Geographic International and Channel 4 (UK) including three which were broadcast to mark the tenth commemoration; 9/11 And The American Dream, 9/11: The Firemen’s Story and 9/11: Emergency Room. Each film was been made with the backing of the New York Authorities, Emergency Services and survivors groups and victims families involved. We were voted one of the top ten most respected and admired independent television companies by industry magazine Televisual – for our sensitive and traditional approach to filmmaking. We are currently working on a documentary about September 11th survivors and a BBC documentary charting the history of marriage in Great Britain. For more information about us and our films, please visit our website www.testimonyfilms.com.

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One Response to Hamsterley Forest in the 1930s – Can you help

  1. Marj Read (nee Smith) says:

    My dad, George Smith, worked on Hamsterly Forest during the late thirties and the war years untill 1955. There was a prisoner of war camp in the forest and my mum told us how they would visit the cottages selling baskets, etc., which they made. We lived in the cottages in the forest, which were small holdings. In fact, the one I was born in is now a bed and breakfast and I stayed there for my birthday, which was like going home. I think my brother worked there when he left school. I will ask him, as he lives on a farm near the village. The Germans bombed the area on many occasions looking for ammunition dumps. It was a wonderful place to live.

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