The Knowledge of the Cock Tavern

The Knowledge of the Cock Tavern is an oral history project intiated by Phoenix Cultural and Community Organisation (PCCO).

The aim of the project is to record and reflect the history of the locality, in the context of a flourishing social, cultural and community venue. The project is an oral history project carried out according to the best-practice guidelines of the Oral History Society. The audio documents and transcripts produced by the project will be archived in a national institution such as (our local) The British Library and made available to the public and future researchers. PCCO aims to commission creative and historical presentations and interpretations of the material.

Specific aspects of the project include: the geographies of migration to and from Somers Town; the role of the pub in working class society and culture; history of the labour movement in Somers Town (in particular the railway unions); history of other political causes and struggles (including Irish Republicanism, Reclaim the Streets and other activist and community groups).

In accordance with the aims of our organisation, a research project focused on recording and preserving the knowledge of a community and its history goes hand in hand with supporting the development of cultural and community activities in the locality. The research project is needed to value and preserve knowledge that would otherwise vanish without trace. Winning recognition for such knowledge is a vital component of preserving and enhancing a local cultural and community space for the future.

The project involves:

• devising and implementing research methodologies capable of engaging informants in a social setting. These methodologies have something in common with anthropology, sociology, oral history and artistic practices

• organising archives of newly-recorded material and historic material

• designing ways of reflecting, representing and publishing the results of the research in the forms, for example of exhibitions, printed or electronic publications in the community setting itself and beyond. Such representations are conceived as contribution to a lively and diverse culture in our community

The Knowledge of the Cock Tavern is supported by The Crick Institute Community Chest by a start-up grant.

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