Taped Voices as the Audience Enters the Garden

The memories of Bournemouth residents were recorded to form a soundscape of voices as the audience entered the garden at Russell Cotes Museum.

VOICE 1:  It was summer, walking through the gardens from Talbot Woods to the beach, hot and sunny, hearing the orchestra playing on the bandstand, people lying around on the grass …

VOICE 2:  Oh, I was impatient, waiting for the Number Three Penny Bus to arrive to take us into the Square. I’d say to my mother “Can I ride upstairs?”, then, the smell, marvelling at the smell of coffee at Lyons Café …

VOICE 1:  Feet in the stream, a happy atmosphere of picnics, music, laughing and people dancing on the grass …

VOICE 3:  It began snowing on Boxing Day in ’63 and by New Year’s Eve it was nine inches thick. I was in the choir at St Peter’s and had to catch a trolley bus near Cemetery Junction but the poles kept springing off the wires …

VOICE 4:  The wind at Hengistbury Head. That day we went there with our blue kite, such grey white clouds and deep blue sky and there were several other families flying their kites, lots of laughter as they sped over the skies and shrieks as the kites crashed …

VOICE 3:  Traffic came to a standstill until the conductor took a long pole with a hook from under the bus and caught the contact pole swinging wildly around from the bus roof …

VOICE 4:   When the wind became too strong making it hard to stand upright, we walked on round the headland, leaning into the wind and making a shelter and sat watching the racing windsurfers, leaving huge wakes behind them, like tails …

VOICE 5:   I remember coming to Bournemouth on a shopping trip to spend my maternity grant. Jo and Ellie were toddlers then. We went into Mothercare in Commercial Road – it wasn’t traffic-free in those days – to buy things for the baby I was expecting and …

VOICE 6:   I was about seven and a half and I went to the Ice Show with my aunty and cousin. I remember waiting for the bus and she sat me on the garden wall while she folded my buggy …

VOICE 5:  I remember the feeling of being a young mum, keeping an eye on two lively toddlers in the busy streets, and then we went into Debenhams for lunch. When I go there now I often think of it and see other young families. I always go to the window seat for that view over the Square – as we did then …

VOICE 7:  Oh, all those lazy afternoons on the beach with friends, out on the pedalos by the pier, laughing, eating pizza, sunbathing; then, on warm evenings we’d look up at the stars and moon until our necks ached and then walk home along the beach happy, without a care …

VOICE 8:  New Year’s Day 1997. My boyfriend and I left a night club in the early hours and it was snowing and the sky was lit up with stars. We couldn’t get a taxi and wondered if we’d encounter any trouble walking home but everyone we met was full of goodwill …

VOICE 9:  I love to walk along the sea front down by the West Cliff. One evening at sunset at the top of Overcliff Drive, I met an old tramp enjoying his beer. We stood at the edge watching a fox patrol the undergrowth, sensing colours all around, lilac, pink and blue-green all around the sky and sea. We chatted and this old man told me how every night he watched the fox and had become friends with it, feeding it pieces of sandwich when he had some. It came very close to him at times. It was a beautiful moment shared by two strangers enjoying the evening …


 

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