Voices from a disused quarry: an oral history of the Centre for Alternative Technology

Voices from a disused quarry - Book cover

Voices from a disused quarry
is an oral history archive containing 90 interviews ranging from 20 minutes to four hours. The archive is still growing but was primarily collected by Allan Shepherd and 18 volunteers between August 2012 and the time of the archive launch in July 2014. Interviewees were picked from a wide range of time periods, occupations and relationships with CAT. There are summary sheets for most of the interviews and a small handful of transcripts, primarily for interviews recorded in Welsh and then transcribed in Welsh and translated in to English. We have provided a small selection of samples and clips below to give you an idea.

Voices from a disused quarry was created to build a historical archive but over its two year duration it became a living community project involving over 200 people and touching the lives of many more. 

A new book and ebook by Allan Shepherd, Voices from a disused quarry: an oral history of the Centre for Alternative Technology has been published. It tells the story of CAT and the oral history project through quotes taken from over 60 interviews with CAT staff, members, trustees, friends and neighbours.


 Voices Rod James Jill Whitehead Don Bennett Medium


Links to audio clips

Listen to Artist in Residence Glenn Davidson's sonic poems, featuring clips from interviews and sounds recorded at CAT. 

Clips from the oral history project were used in Radio 4's The Reunion about the start of CAT.

The People's Collection have made several slide shows using material from the oral history collection and photographs from the image archive. An example can be found in The People's Collection website.


Sample audio clips

Local councilor Huw Jones talks about the start of CAT - Download 

George Morgan Grenville talks about evenings at the Quarry as the 11 year old son of founder Gerard Morgan Grenville- Download

Jane Bryant talks about an early fish farm experiment - Download 

CAT's builder Cindy Harris talks about the Ogre system of collective responsibility at CAT - Download 

Architect Pat Borer talks about experimental solar technologies - Download 

Volunteers Hele Oakley and Thea Platt talk about her experience of being a young woman at CAT - Download 

CAT's second director talks about early pioneer Diana Brass - Download 

Volunteers Mark Bloomfield and Jenny Gallatly talk about their time at CAT - Download  

Holdfast features women's voices used in a one off performance on International Women's Day in 2014. Holdfast was created by Ariana Jordão and Rosie Leach, and funded by the Women's Equality Network. Download