West Ealing Library opens its doors to 80 years of history

The team from O'Grady Court and those involved with the story telling day

O’Grady Court, a sheltered scheme in west Ealing, is home to a wide mix of cultures and experiences. Richard Neville, a story telling specialist, has spent the last year getting to know the residents, probing them with questions and capturing stories about their lives. The tales span over 80 years and cover all parts of the world including mining in Yukon, boat journeys to Fiji and memories of the 1948 Olympics in London.

As part of the National Story Telling week celebrations at West Ealing Library a selection of these stories were read out to a crowd of over 40 people. The event also included three plays by Open Ealing, one of which was written by Liam O’Grady the son of James O’Grady the namesake of O’Grady Court.  Dancer, Sivanar showed that stories can also be told through dance.

The stories of O’Grady Court have been brought together and will be available in the ‘Reminiscence Book’ later this month along with a cookery book also written by the residents. These books have been created with the help of £10,000 Lottery funding this money has supported the development of the community at the scheme.

The exhibition, highlighting excerpts from the book along with images will be on display in the West Ealing Library until Thursday 12 February.

Birgit Huhn, sheltered scheme manager at Catalyst Housing:

‘This was a wonderful and enjoyable activity, people loved  sharing their stories. The reminiscence sessions have encouraged older tenants in the community to join in and get involved in the social life inside our sheltered scheme’.’

Donalda, a resident of O’Grady Court:

‘It has been an absolute joy taking part in the Reminiscence Book, I’ve remembered things that I would have forgotten otherwise and it feels great to be able to share a part of my life with people.’

Richard Neville, storyteller:

‘The experience was one of being welcomed into an extensive family as people started divulging different parts of their life stories.  We discovered connections through these stories and the warmth of those connections and being at the centre of that was fantastic.’